China: Netizen jailed for 8 days for mocking local government

A 24 year-old netizen Wang Shuai was jailed for 8 days for posting pictures that mocked at illegal land requisition in Henan Ningbao county in 6 March.

Latest update on 17 of April from jinhua.cn via sz7 in the comment: Henan province police chief apologized to Wang and he was given state compensation. And a case has been set up and the land requisition is currently under investigation.

The post is title as “Great tactics for fighting drought in Ningbao village!”. In the post, the netizen pasted a mainstream report that Ningbao government has collected RMB 5.4 million to fight drought. Then the pictures showed local government's ridiculous tactics in fighting drought, including giving bonus to shepherds who brought their herds to eat sprouts, cutting down all the fruit trees, turning off the water pumps and etc. According to land requisition law, the compensation for land with crops and trees is much higher than abandoned land.

The post implies that the local government has not been fighting drought, instead, they tried to ruin the land in order to pay less compensation to the peasant in land requisition. The netizen was then arrested, forced to sign a repentance letter in the police station that he defamed the local government on purpose because he was not satisfied with the land requisition compensation. He was in jail for 8 days and later bail out, awaiting for defamation charge.

According to Beijing Youth Daily's report on 12 April, the local government insisted that Wang's post has affect Ningbao's image, especially government departments which were fighting against drought.

But Wang disclosed that back in May 2008, the local government has illegally “rent out” the 2.8 hectare land for an industrial zone, affecting more than 30 thousand peasants. According to the government's notice, the peasants would be paid RMB 1000 (equivalent to USD 130) annually per mu (660 squaremeter) for renting their land for 30 years. In order to speed up the process, the government would give 3% bonus to the peasants who clear the land for the development. However, some peasants found out that the “long term renting” arrangement is illegal and they started to pay visit petition to higher level government. Ningbao government then raised the annual rent to RMB 1200 / per mu.

A major source of income among peasants in Ningbao is apple. For 20 year old apple trees, the harvest can be up to 7-8000 per mu annually. If peasants are growing vegetable, the annually income can be up to 15 to 20 thousands per mu annually. Hence, Wang Shuai continued to file complaint to Henan provincial level government departments via e-mails but recieved no responses. Then he decided to expose the issue online.

Wang was arrested in Shanghai on 6 March and detained in Shanghai police station for three days, then he was transferred with handcuffs to Ningbao on 10 March and detained for 5 more days. In order bail out Wang, his family was forced to cut all their friut trees in their land.

The issue has been exposed by local media and there is a strong public opining siding with Wang. However, Wang's family has already lost their land, and he will probably lose his job in face of the defamation charge by Ningbao government.

Below are some of the so-called defamation pictures posted by Wang:

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