Beijing: A Chinese activist has been detained by police after he voiced his support on Twitter for “ink girl” Dong Yaoqiong, who defaced a poster of President Xi Jinping in 2018.
Police in Zhuzhou city in Hunan province has held Ou Biaofeng in administrative detention for 15 days for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” Hong Kong Free Press reported citing Ou’s wife Wei Huanhuan’s Twitter account.
Dong Yaoqiong got her nickname after she live-streamed a video of herself splashing ink on a poster of Xi while accusing the Communist Party of “thought control“.
In the latest video released on Monday, Dong said she was on “the brink of breaking down” due to intensive surveillance after being released from a psychiatric facility.
Friends said she had been forcibly admitted to a psychiatric unit twice since the 2018 incident, Japan times reported.
In the video, Dong said her freedom of movement and freedom to contact other people, including her father, were restricted. Ou told Apple Daily on Tuesday that Dong had only finally been able to contact her father that day.
Dong’s video and tweets were deleted later that day and there have been no updates on her whereabouts.
Ou, who was detained on Thursday, voiced his support for Dong by tweeting on her behalf and retweeting the now-deleted video. He also was the one who told Dong about her father’s escape in a mining accident in Hunan.
Leo Lan, research and advocacy consultant at Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said that it seemed Dong Yaoqiong had come under pressure because her tweets were suddenly deleted.
“Ou Biaofeng first tweeted Dong’s cry for help. He’s now detained, obviously due to the authorities’ attempt to silence him and punish him for exposing Dong’s situation”Lan told HKFP.
“The Chinese government wants to control online speech as much as they can, even including information on Twitter, which is blocked on the mainland”he added.
Twitter is blocked in China — along with a number of other social media sites such as Facebook — but many people use virtual networks to get around online restrictions.
Since taking power in 2012, Xi has put himself at the center of a personality cult and authorities have fiercely stamped out opposition from activists and other critics.