China’s crackdown on free speech spurs rise of “toilet revolution” where people scribble messages of freedom on toilet stalls

The governing Chinese Communist Party has never been much for upholding basic civil rights like those found in the U.S. Constitution’s first ten amendments, but in recent years the party has come down even harder on one of the most fundamental of all rights: Free speech.

As reported by Radio Free Asia, the government’s speech crackdown has gotten so bad that one activist, Ji Xiaolong, was reduced to writing political messages critical of the ruling party in public toilets in the city of Shanghai.

And now he’s missing.

The news site reported:

Authorities in Shanghai have detained an activist who called on people to write “Down with the [ruling Chinese] Communist Party” in public toilets in the city, in a fresh twist on the Chinese president’s call for a “toilet revolution.”

Ji previously called on civil rights activists and democracy advocates to log responses to President Xi Jinping’s call for a “toilet revolution” by writing political slogans on the walls that could then be seen by thousands of people.

In February, NPR reported that the Chinese government launched an ambitious $3 billion “toilet revolution” plan in 2015 to clean up public toilets in China’s tourist centers, which were often too disgusting to use. Some cities have gone as far as to install Wi-Fi, ATMs, newsstands, and electric-vehicle charging stations to their upgraded public facilities.

Ji, the activist, used the slogan to spread pro-democracy messages. On July 20, he took to social media to urge fellow Chinese citizens to write the “down with” message, according to a friend who spoke with RFA.

“He has been incommunicado since July 31, with his phone switched off and nobody at his apartment, Chen Jianfang told the news station. “It is very likely that this is because he posted messages online calling for a ‘toilet revolution.’ He wrote a few words in a hospital toilet.”

According to RFA, Ji wrote, “I don’t have money to cure my bowel movements, Fatty Xi is chucking money around, changing the constitution to make himself king. When will this suffering end? Down with the Communist Party!” (Related: Facebook now de-platforming conservative journalists who simply ask Muslim congressional candidates tough questions.)

‘He just can’t let things go’

As the Nikkei Asian Review reported in March, the Chinese [rubber stamp] legislature “overwhelmingly” voted to amend the country’s constitution to do away with presidential term limits and allow Xi to consolidate power “to a degree unseen since Mao Zedong.”

As for Ji, his sister said that she got a call from her brother’s girlfriend July 31 saying she was afraid that something bad had happened to him.

“He has the kind of personality that can’t just let things go, such as official corruption or whatever,” she said. “As a family, we can’t let it go either. I can’t.”

And while she added that Ji and his family weren’t all too concerned about international affairs involving China, “we definitely care about any policies affecting ordinary people.”

Ji’s girlfriend, who was in Taiwan – which China considers a breakaway province – at the time of this writing, said she’s not yet gotten any information about where he is or what actually happened to him. She also told RFA she’s continuing to hunt for information, and that she’s heard from various sources he could be in one of two or more provinces.

“I don’t know what is happening, because everyone is saying something different.”

Another acquaintance of Ji, Shanghai-based rights lawyer Dai Peiqing, said Ji has also not shown up at the Christian church they both attend, though he normally shows up daily.

If the history of Chi-Com party behavior is any indication, it’s likely that Ji is sitting in some dark, dank cell someplace, perhaps counting the hours before he’s either put into a ‘reeducation camp’ for a few years or into the ground somewhere.

Sounds a lot like what authoritarian Democrats would do to all conservative, pro-Trump Americans if they could.

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