Chinese authorities are targeting an increasing number of people for posting criticism of the government on Twitter, according to reports.
Twitter users in China are facing detention, threats and lengthy interrogations amid an escalating crackdown on online content, even though the social media platform is blocked in the country.
One man said he was questioned by Chinese police for eight hours while being chained to a chair, according to a report by The New York Times. Another said he spent 15 days in a detention centre. One family claimed they were threatened by police.
The aggressive tactics by state censors and cyber-watchers are the latest front in President Xi Jinping’s campaign to suppress internet activity, according to the report.
Nine Twitter users questioned by police told The New York Times that officers would print out tweets critical of the government and ask them to delete them or their accounts.
One human-rights activist, Wang Aizhong, refused to take down his tweets when asked by police. Shortly after, 3,000 of his tweets have disappeared from his profile, according to the report.
Huang Chengcheng, the activist who was interrogated for eight hours, told The New York Times that his hands and feet were manacled to a chair while he was questioned by police in Chongqing. After the ordeal, he had to sign a promise to stay off Twitter.