China is stepping up its crackdown on Twitter by detaining users or subjecting them to threats, The New York Times is reporting.
Just for posting on Twitter, one man was put in a detention center for 15 days, another saw his family threatened and another was chained to a chair and underwent eight hours of questioning, the newspaper noted.
This comes as Twitter is blocked in China preventing a majority of the people from even seeing it.
“If we give up Twitter, we are losing one of our last places to speak,” said Wang Aizhong, a human rights activist.
A small number of people are using special software to get around the government’s efforts to block the social media platform. One survey showed only 0.4 percent of China’s internet users, or about 3.2 million people, are able to use Twitter.
Pan Xidian had tweeted a comic by a dissident cartoonist. For doing so, he underwent 20 hours of questioning and was locked in a cell for two weeks with 10 other people, according to the Times.
“In this era, we certainly know fear, but I can’t control myself,” he said. “We’ve been living a very suppressed life. We’re like lambs. They’re taking us one after another. We have no ability to fight back.
The latest censorship battle appears to be well coordinated between local and national law enforcement authorities, said Xiao Qiani, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
And the Daily Mail reported that over the past year, China has ramped up its crackdown on online content as the government has blocked many foreign websites.