Cheng Jianping, a 46-year-old human rights activist in China, was sentenced to a year in a labor camp last Monday for “disturbing social order.” What exactly was her crime? RT. For social-mediaites, a RT is a pretty familiar term: a re-tweet.
Cheng used her @wangyi09 twitter account to re-post a tweet from her fiancé, Hua Chunhui who published his original tweet on @wxhch. Hua’s original message mocked young Chinese nationalists who protested a geo-political conflict over islands claimed by both Japan and China this past September. "Anti-Japanese demonstrations, smashing Japanese products, that was all done years ago by [activist] Guo Quan. It's no new trick. If you really wanted to kick it up a notch, you'd immediately fly to Shanghai to smash the Japanese Expo pavilion."
Cheng added to the RT: “Charge, angry youth!” Ten days later, the couple’s wedding date, Cheng disappeared and just last week, information was released that she had been detained by local police and that she would be sentenced to a year of “Re-education through Labor.”
In an age where the Internet consistently blurs the line between the public and the personal, social media platforms have made it incredibly easy for everyone to publicize their personal opinions and affiliations. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo commented on the Chinese government’s decision to condemn words over actions.