Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cartoonist Taken Away by Police

Girlfriend warmheard1984 of famous cartoonist Spicy Pepper aka Wang Liming posted on Weibo that the visual artist had been taken away from home by police 11 o'clock pm. The charge on the warrant was 'inciting public disturbance'.

The cartoon on the left was created by BWRLG32.

Although Spicy Pepper's drawings are often inspired by social events, he is considered a moderate, restraint, reluctant and hesitate criticizer of government and policies. Readers often find more helplessness than criticism and more cynicism than anger in his otherwise humorous cartoons. Those who enjoy his drawings are mostly wealthy middle class who prefer a smooth and progressive evolution rather than any violent revolution which may trigger social instabilities. It would be real troublesome for the society if government push people who had sitting in the middle to the other side.

Spicy Pepper is arguably one of best known cartoonists in China today. Many western media's outlets in China have been closely observing the developing of this saga. Yuan Li, chief editor of Wall Street Journal's Chinese edition, also retweeted, and asked for legal input from her readers.

Having witnessed the unprecedented nationwide mass crackdown of online speech in the past few weeks, Spicy Pepper published this drawing on Oct 13. Two days later, he became the newest victim himself.

A few hour later, a Chinese e-business pioneer Laorong went missing after a last post of hearing someone knocking his door at 1:57am. Laorong, aka Wang Juntao, is a busy businessman, but sometimes makes comments on quasi-sensitive issues online.

Rumors had it that both arrests were linked to public mocking of the propaganda article 'Lee's Ten Crimes'.

Update: Laorong resurfaced, but would not elaborate his whereabout in the hours when he was missing.

Update: the next morning, Wuyuesanren aka Yao Bo, Spicy Pepper's friend, went to the police station to turn himself in because he believed he must have committed the same crime. Wuyuesanren was briefly detained then released. People who care about their reputation are feeling ashamed when they were not arrested by police for something, especially after their close friends had been rounded in. Wuyuesanren forecasted and broadcasted his self-submission in high profile style on social networking sites.

Professor He Weifang, researcher Yu Jianrong, writer Li Chengpeng, commentator Zhao Chu, real estate mogul Pan Shiyi all called for release of Spicy Pepper.

Searching of 'Spicy Pepper' is blocked by Sina, "because of law and policies".

Update: evening the same day, about 21 hours after Spicy Pepper was taken away, he was released.

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