New Delhi: A well-known poet in China has been barred from social media after publishing a poem that many people took to be a comment on the upcoming 20th National Congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), at which Chinese President and CCP leader Xi Jinping will run for an unprecedented third term in office.
The Weibo account of Sichuan-based poet Hu Minzhi flashed a brief message reading- “this account does not exist,” before disappearing on Thursday 29 September, reported Radio Free Asia.
Poet Hu has reportedly been banned from both social media platforms- Weibo and Douyin -after she claimed that, in early September, she had been “asked to drink tea,” which is code for being brought in to speak to state security officers.
“She hasn’t been heard from [on social media] for several days now,” said Ye Bing, Voice of America journalist, via Twitter. “The outlook for her situation, for her liberty, seems bleak.”
Hu was barred after publishing a poem titled “Waiting for the Wind,” which seemed to mock the lack of civic engagement surrounding the party congress, one of the most important political gatherings to take place in China since Xi assumed office.
The poem says “more than a billion people are waiting for the wind…It will come from the direction it comes from.”
It further says “officials are waiting; entrepreneurs; ordinary people too,” “we have no idea if it’ll be an east wind or a west wind, this autumn … a wind that blows forwards, or one that blows backwards.”
The poem was published at a time when many political commentators were raising concerns that Xi was positioned to reverse the economic reforms and political opening that had been started by the late supreme leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979 and return China to a centrally planned economy and political culture, similar to conditions in Mao era.
The poem states “we are just waiting here like puppets … to hear our fate; ours personally, as well as that of the country.”
According to Radio Free Asia, the “apparent silencing comes as Chinese police detained more than a million people in a nationwide security operation ahead of the party congress.”
According to a Shanghai resident, large numbers of petitioners, meaning the ordinary Chinese pursuing complaints against the government, have been sent out of town to stay at resorts, farmhouses or cheap hotels under police escort, reported Radio Free Asia.
With inputs from Radio Free Asia