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Twitter CEO tweets reaction to Chinese woman being punished for retweet

November 19, 2010 |  6:41 pm


Twitter's chief executive, Dick Costolo, posted a tweet Friday addressing the sentencing of a Chinese woman to one year in a labor camp for her retweeting of a message written by her fiance.

"Dear Chinese Government, year-long detentions for sending a sarcastic tweet are neither the way forward nor the future of your great people," Costolo posted on Twitter.

Costolo's tweet has been retweeted -- reposted by other Twitter users for their "followers" on the website to see -- more than 100 times.

Cheng Jianping, 46, is believed to be the first Chinese citizen sentenced to a labor camp for a post on Twitter, according to Amnesty International, a human rights group.

Cheng was sentenced to “reeducation through labor” for accusations that her retweet of a message on the popular social media website led to her “disturbing social order.”

On Wednesday, Cheng used her @wangyi09 twitter account to reposted a tweet from her fiance, Hua Chunhui, who tweets as @wxhch.

The original message sarcastically told young Chinese nationalists who have held several recent anti-Japanese rallies to attack the Japanese pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo.

“Anti-Japanese demonstrations, smashing Japanese products, that was all done years ago by Guo Quan [an activist and expert on the Nanjing Massacre],” the original tweet read. “It’s no new trick. If you really wanted to kick it up a notch, you’d immediately fly to Shanghai to smash the Japanese expo pavilion.”

Cheng reposted the message, adding “Charge, angry youth.”

Amnesty International said Cheng and Hua were arrested in October on what was to be their wedding day. Hua was released less than a week later.

The Chinese government has officially blocked Twitter, but many are able to find ways to access the site.

Cheng had also posted tweets supporting Liu Xiaobo, a jailed activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Liu Xianbin, a jailed activist who has called for democracy in China.


Chinese woman sent to labor camp after retweeting a message

Chinese interference with Web traffic examined in U.S. government report

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Image: A screen capture of a tweet posted by Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo on Friday.