The recent detention of a California physicist by Chinese security agents has shown how far the government will go in exercising its social media regulation. Ge Xun was abducted in Beijing this month and was roughly questioned by public security officers at a secret location. Mr. Ge said “The agents peppered him with questions about his blogging activity, his membership in an organization that promotes dialogue between Tibetans and Chinese, and his role in maintaining a Web site that supports a blind lawyer living under house arrest in China.” It appears that Mr. Ge’s greatest fault is his zealous embrace of Twitter, a social media outlet blocked in China along with other web sites deemed a threat to the government’s hold on power. This recent event suggests how far the government will go in exercising its social media regulation and censorship.
Mr. Ge described that when he refused to provide his Twitter password, two of the security agents unleashed a torrent of kicks and punches that lasted 30 minutes. In the end, Mr. Ge and his captors came up with a compromise: he did not reveal his password but logged on to Twitter and allowed them to peek inside his account.