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China: Citizen reporter arrested, escorted home

Categories: Advocacy, China

Zhou “Zola” Shuguang [1], the IT blogger/Hunan vegetable vendor turned brave young citizen reporter [2] with his blog coverage [3] of the Chongqing Nailhouse [4] earlier this year, was detained by police on Monday and sent home under constant police escort.

zolasy.JPG [5]

At the behest of several [6] of his readers, Zola left his home in Hunan quietly on the evening of Nov. 30, heading north to Shenyang [7] to investigate the situation there [8] which led to one of the largest [9] civilian-organized protests in China in recent years.

Zola had written in late November that he would not be going [10], 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 [11] to spread the news and photos from Shenyang around.

Zola managed to get out two [5] blog posts before [12] he was arrested.

His first notice [13], 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 [14] I had on me, and escorted by two people back to Meitanba [15] by both plane and car. Peace.

Zola's next message [16] tells just that he's now taking questions via either his Twitter [17] or Fanfou [18] account, to be answered as a group in a later blog post.

His last twitter [19] 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 [20]:

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 [21] is an English phrase: “You never know what you can do till you try.”