A Chinese activist has been detained by police after voicing his support on Twitter for “ink girl” Dong Yaoqiong, who defaced a poster of leader Xi Jinping in 2018.

Police in Zhuzhou city in Hunan province are holding Ou Biaofeng in administrative detention for 15 days for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to his wife Wei Huanhuan’s Twitter account.

Ou Biaofeng and Wei Huanhuan
Ou Biaofeng and Wei Huanhuan. Phtoto: freewechat.com

Dong Yaoqiong got her nickname by live-streaming a video of herself splashing ink on a poster of Xi while accusing the Communist Party of “thought control.” In a video released on Monday she said she was on “the brink of breaking down” due to intensive surveillance after being released from a psychiatric facility.

YouTube video

In the video, Dong said her freedom of movement and freedom to contact other people, including her father, were restricted. Ou told Apple Daily on Tuesday that Dong had only finally been able to contact her father that day.

Wei Huanhuan’s tweet saying that police called her about Ou Biaofeng’s administrative detention.

Dong’s video and tweets were deleted later that day and there have been no updates on her whereabouts.

Ou, who was detained on Thursday, voiced his support for Dong by tweeting on her behalf and retweeting the now-deleted video. He also was the one who told Dong about her father’s escape in a mining accident in Hunan.

"Ink girl" Dong Yaoqiong releases a new video on twitter
“Ink girl” Dong Yaoqiong releases a new video on twitter. Photo: Dong Yaoqiong, via Twitter.

Leo Lan, research and advocacy consultant at Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said that it seemed Dong Yaoqiong had come under pressure because her tweets were suddenly deleted.

“Ou Biaofeng first tweeted Dong’s cry for help. He’s now detained, obviously due to the authorities’ attempt to silence him and punish him for exposing Dong’s situation,” Lan told HKFP.

“The Chinese government wants to control online speech as much as they can, even including information on Twitter, which is blocked on the mainland.” Users can sometimes employ a VPN to get round the block.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.