China: Citizen reporter arrested, escorted home

Zhou “Zola” Shuguang, the IT blogger/Hunan vegetable vendor turned brave young citizen reporter with his blog coverage of the Chongqing Nailhouse earlier this year, was detained by police on Monday and sent home under constant police escort.

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At the behest of several of his readers, Zola left his home in Hunan quietly on the evening of Nov. 30, heading north to Shenyang to investigate the situation there which led to one of the largest civilian-organized protests in China in recent years.

Zola had written in late November that he would not be going, expressing desire to resume his career as a vegetable vendor, but urged readers to seize the opportunity, emphasising that it would likely bring them significant renown online. At the same time, bloggers who stayed home put in overtime to spread the news and photos from Shenyang around.

Zola managed to get out two blog posts before he was arrested.

His first notice, Twittered on the afternoon of Dec. 5, reads:

I was intercepted, and held for 24 hours. I gave four recorded statements, was stripped of the 1,200 yuan I had on me, and escorted by two people back to Meitanba by both plane and car. Peace.

Zola's next message tells just that he's now taking questions via either his Twitter or Fanfou account, to be answered as a group in a later blog post.

His last twitter before signing off:

I got home last night just after 1am, and I've only just woken up. I'm off to the bathhouse now to wash up. My neck is black with dirt. I'll write a summary when I get back. Everyone keep on sending questions.

The response on Twitter was immediate; user Shizhao writes:

If this is the case, I imagine the police where you live will definitely be watching you from now on.

The motto on Zola's blog is an English phrase: “You never know what you can do till you try.”

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