A student from the University of Minnesota was arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States which mocked Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
According to Chinese court documents, Chinese police detained Luo Daiqing, 20, after he returned to his hometown of Wuhan at the end of the spring semester. Officials said that Luo "used his Twitter account to post more than 40 comments denigrating a national leader's image," creating a "negative social impact."
Axios found that a Twitter account known to belong to Luo was opened in September 2018; the last tweet is from June 2019, one month before Luo was detained.
One tweet superimposed Chinese government slogans over images of Lawrence Limburger, a cartoon villain who bears a resemblance to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The account also retweeted several images of Winnie the Pooh, a character currently censored in China after Chinese netizens made an unflattering comparison to Xi.
Luo was sentenced to six months in prison for "provocation."
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) called for Luo's release. Sasse is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"The Chinese Communist Party ought to release Luo Daiqing immediately, and the University of Minnesota ought to give him a full-ride scholarship. Don't forget that the Chinese Communist Party has banned Twitter, so the only people who even saw these tweets were the goons charged with monitoring Chinese citizens while they're enjoying freedom here in the United States. This is what ruthless and paranoid totalitarianism looks like."