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Dong Yaoqiong disappeared the day she inked Xi Jinping.
A woman who live-streamed herself throwing ink on to a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping has been detained, according to activists who accuse authorities of suppressing speech to protect a cult of personality around the country’s leader.
The US-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders network said authorities had also taken the woman’s father and a Chinese artist into custody after they sought to publicise her plight on social media.
The woman, who has been identified as 28-year-old Dong Yaoqiong, went live on Twitter on July 4 in a video in which she accused the ruling Chinese Communist Party of employing “oppressive brain control”.
In the video, retweeted tens of thousands of times, Ms Dong splashes ink on a poster bearing Mr Xi’s image in Shanghai’s financial district, saying defiantly: “Xi Jinping, I’m right here waiting for you to arrest me”. CHRD said Ms Dong is believed to have been arrested later that day and that her Twitter account was deleted hours after the incident.
Her final tweet included a photograph of several uniformed men outside her flat. CHRD said authorities were “suppressing freedom of speech to protect Xi Jinping’s cult of personality”.
Twitter is blocked by China, along with other foreign social media sites such as Facebook, but can be accessed via easily available censor-evading software.
Chinese authorities swiftly punish those who deface leaders’ images and other Communist symbols. Ms Dong’s act comes at a particularly sensitive time as the regime aggressively nurtures a cult of personality around Mr Xi, especially since he strengthened his hold on power during a CCP congress late last year.
A statement attributed to her father Dong Jianbiao that circulated on Twitter called his daughter’s detention an “act of kidnapping like bandits, an act of the law enforcement breaking the law”. He and artist Hua Yong both had since disappeared in the past few days after calling on social media for the woman’s release, activists said.
Ms Hua was detained last year after documenting the mass eviction of migrants in Beijing.
Shanghai police denied knowledge of the case.
The girl who were pouring the black ink onto the face of Xi Jinping’s poster went missing
The father was detained by the police when he was trying to find his daughter. Please help!@USA_China_Talk @hrw @UNHumanRights @marcorubio @StateDept @SecPompeo @WhiteHouse @RepChrisSmith pic.twitter.com/h84ymoQkES
— 北美吹哥 (@brother_chui) July 13, 2018