Yang Hui, a 16-year-old arrested for posting web comments critical of local police in his hometown of Zhangjiachuan, Gansu Province, was released last midnight after seven days in detention.
On Sept. 14, in one of his offending posts, Yang wrote: “Police didn’t do anything after a murder case on Sept. 12 in Zhangjiachuan. They beat the family of the victim.” He then posted again, saying that the family of the deceased were detained by police. One of the posts was retweeted over 500 times, the number sufficient for legal action. As reported by Chinese newspaper Jinghua Times, Yang was taken into criminal detention on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking disputes,” police said. Yang’s posts were soon deleted.
The Zhangjiachuan Public Security Bureau announced that Yang’s sentence would be changed from “detention” to “seven days’ detention,” according to reporter Cui Yongli. Having served the time, Yang was released a few hours afterward.
Wang Shihua, Yang’s attorney, said that even if the post was forwarded 500 times, it didn’t constitute any legal violation, since a direct connection between the post and resulting consequence or events could not be verified.
“My son didn’t commit any crime, what’s to be afraid of?” Yang’s father Yang Niuhu said. He has allowed his son’s photo to be released publicly.
“I don’t know what kind of crime my son is supposed to have committed that got him a week of administrative detention. My biggest concern at present is how this traumatic experience will affect him in the long term,” said the elder Yang.
With translation by Frank Fang.