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China man jailed for nine days for posting a meme

Widespread shock and anger over ‘unjustified detention’

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 2, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago
Posted: Nov 2, 2021 | Last Updated: 3 months ago

Photo: AFP

A man in China was jailed for nine days after sending a meme to a group chat that local police deemed offensive in an incident that has gone viral on Chinese social media, CNN reported.

The man, identified only by his surname Li, allegedly sent the meme on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, in a group exchange complaining about local Covid-19 prevention and control measures late last month, the report said citing authorities and state media.

Police in Qingtongxia city in the Ningxia region posted a screenshot of Li’s text exchange on Chinese social media but later removed the post.

State-run outlet The Paper published more details of the incident that has shocked people in China, with a related hashtag garnering 170 million views.

Many protested against Li’s punishment, arguing that an internet joke hardly justified detention by police, the CNN report said.

According to The Paper, Li sent a meme showing a dog in a police hat, holding a police badge and pointing at the camera. It’s a common image that has been used widely online before, with different variations sometimes, including a cat or cartoon character in police hat.

The local police said that it was tipped off about the post on October 30, accusing Li of having sent an image “insulting the image of police”, according to The Paper.

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