Social Media Archivists of Protests in China Detained
On 16 June, Lu Yuyu and his partner Li Tingyu, chroniclers of protests in China on their website Wickedonna, were detained in the southwestern city of Dali, Yunnan province, where they lived. They are accused of ‘picking quarrels and provoking troubles’, a charge that is often used to silence activists in China. Since 2012, the couple has been gathering and posting text and images from Chinese social media, such as Weibo and Baidu Tieba, to document protests in China—providing what is arguably the most comprehensive daily updates of social upheavals across the country, including many labour protests. After dropping out of university, Lu became a migrant worker and in 2012, while in Shanghai, he had his first taste of political activism, publicly showing his support for five young people who were arrested in Guangzhou for holding up placards that called for president Hu Jintao to disclose his assets. At the time, Lu held up a similar poster in one of Shanghai’s busiest shopping districts, until the police intervened and expelled him from the city. Over the years, he continued to be harassed by state security for his activism and documentation work. His accounts on Chinese social media have been deleted more than one hundred times. In a profile published by The Week, Lu was quoted as saying: ‘As long as I am not in jail, I will continue to do it.’ Amnesty International has called for the couple’s immediate release.