University of Minnesota student Luo Daiqing is serving six months in a Chinese prison for posting tweets that were critical of China President Xi Jinping.
Axios obtained Chinese court documents that say the 20-year-old was arrested in July 2019 while in his hometown of Wuhan, having returned after the spring semester at the U of M. Details from Axios:
The court document says that "in September and October 2018, while he was studying at the University of Minnesota," Luo "used his Twitter account to post more than 40 comments denigrating a national leader's image and indecent pictures," which "created a negative social impact."
The report says Daiqing, whose tweets were posted while he was in America, remained detained until being sentenced in November to six months in prison, with time served counting towards the penalty.
Furthermore, Axios says Daiqing's tweets included cartoon characters who could be perceived to look similar to President Jinping. Several images from Daiquing's Twitter account featured Winnie the Pooh, who is banned in China due to the president being likened to the character.
Reports of Daiqing's prison sentence prompted Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse to call for his release. In a statement issued Wednesday night, Sasse wrote:
"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."