Chinese authorities have detained the anonymous author of the political blog Program-Think, who escaped government scrutiny for about 12 years, subjecting him to brutal interrogations in an attempt to obtain a “confession,” RFA has learned.
“The Program-Think family is asking for help,” a May 24 blog comment said.
“Last week, he went on a business trip to a large city in eastern China and lost contact with us the next day,” the commentary said. “There were no unusual messages before he lost contact.”
“It’s been almost a week now. At first I wasn’t sure if anything had happened, or if there had been an accident, I didn’t call the police,” the comment said.
“Yesterday evening the police gave us an official response [to our missing persons report], saying that they were treating his case, but (…) without giving any information on the progress of their investigation, “he said.
Twitter account @GFWfrog quoted a source within the state security police on June 14 as saying that Program-Think was arrested by Shanghai police in early May, and that his last post on May 9 was scheduled. .
“He is currently undergoing brutal interrogation to secure a conviction,” the account tweeted, adding that the case would be “a gift to the CCP on its centenary.”
A person familiar with the matter who only gave his last name, Xu, told RFA that the anonymous blogger is now in custody.
“Recently, through my own credible sources, I learned that they have detained Program-Think and are subjecting him to severe interrogation,” Xu said.
“I cannot accept the persecution of a person of such awareness and such exceptional ability (…) so I must make this information public despite the risks,” he said.
Exposing hidden wealth
Xu said Program-Think was probably detained for exposing the hidden wealth of high-ranking members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and its political theories and anti-brainwashing campaigns, carried out via his blog. on Blogger.com, based abroad. Platform.
Xu said that he himself had been transformed from a non-critical CCP supporter to a person with doubts, then to someone who longs for freedom and democracy, after reading Program’s blog. Think.
The blogger had pursued an in-depth analysis of the wealth of CCP leaders after the publication of the Panama Papers in 2016, Xu said.
“I think Program-Think has had a bigger impact than anyone else on the Chinese Internet,” Xu said. “In particular his messages presenting very complete evidence to refute [government] Propaganda.”
“He would convert Little Pinks [CCP supporters]. He’s a hero and totally irreplaceable, ”Xu said.
A legendary figure
Zhou Fengsuo, from the US-based NGO Humanitarian China, agreed.
“Program-Think is a legendary figure, an anonymous Chinese rebel,” Zhou told RFA. “He had advanced anti-censorship technology.”
“A lot of people have learned to bypass the great firewall [of government censorship] through his blog, ”he said. “He posed a huge threat to the totalitarian CCP regime.
“I am very worried about him because we haven’t heard from him for a very long time, and it is very likely that he has been detained,” Zhou said.
Repeated attempts to contact members of the Program-Think family have failed.
Program-Think was nominated for Best Chinese Blog at the 2013 Deutsche Welle International Best of Blogs, or BOB awards.
The author told the station at the time that he had never started writing political content, but just wanted to share his years of programming experience.
But the blog gradually became popular with people looking for ways to circumvent government censorship, and then spread to information security advice and political analysis, the station reported at the time of the report. blog appointment.
Reported by Yitong Wu and Poon Ka Ching for the Cantonese service of RFA. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.