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China

How The Wrong Tweet In China Might Land You In Forced Labor Camp

The "microblog" twitter equivalents in China like weibo are more popular than ever, but they are also increasingly risky. Nervous public officials are imposing harsh sentences to those who send out bad bits of information, and requiring

Careful what you type (jon crel)
Careful what you type (jon crel)
Yang Tao

BEIJING - It's dangerous to be a Chinese microblogger these days. Every time there's a rumor about a matter of public concern, someone ends up in a prison or a reeducation camp.

Take for example the other day when the spokesman of China's Ministry of Health denied a "rumor of a SARS case in Baoding City in north China" that has been circulating in recent days. He said instead that it has been verified as a type 55 adenovirus-caused respiratory infection. Meanwhile, the Baoding City Public Security Bureau's website announced that a person named Liu who first posted the rumor has already been sent to a labor camp for reeducation.

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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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