Chinese authorities allegedly detained a man for nine days after he shared a meme that was considered an insult to the police force.
The man, identified only by his surname Li, is a resident of Qingtongxia city, in Ningxia region. He allegedly shared the meme on social media platform WeChat in a group chat criticising China’s latest Covid-19 policies.
The meme showed a dog in a police hat, holding a police badge and pointing at the camera, reported Chinese state-run outlet The Paper.
The Ningxia police launched an investigation against 330 members of the group chat after they received a tip that a meme had been shared insulting the police.
Mr Li was summoned to the police station after he was found to be “dissatisfied” with the Covid-19 containment measures. Authorities said he “confessed to the illegal fact of insulting the police”.
Subsequently, he was handed out nine days of detention as punishment for the offence of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.
The arrest has sparked outrage on social media, with many calling out the police for detaining Mr Li.
China has been taking stringent measures to contain Covid-19 cases ahead of the Winter Olympics scheduled for February. It has ordered snap lockdowns, imposed strict travel restrictions and mass testing. It locked down a primary school overnight in Beijing with dozens of students reportedly between the ages of seven and twelve, after a teacher tested positive for Covid-19.
On Sunday, authorities locked down the Disneyland Park in Shanghai with thousands of visitors inside, in order to conduct mass testing for the coronavirus infection. At least 33,863 people had to be tested after it was discovered that a woman who visited the park from nearby Hangzhou province on Saturday had contracted the illness.
But these stringent rules, though in the interest of public health, have left many dissatisfied. The Qingtongxia police department has decided to take a “zero-tolerance” policy against those who insult officers carrying out their duty to “defend the legal dignity of the police”, state media reported.
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