Tue, Apr 02, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Dead pigs in Shanghai river highlight issue of safe water supply

By Nicola Davison  /  The Guardian, JIAXING, China

Pan Ting, an outspoken Shanghainese poet, was detained for questioning by police after she posted a call for a mass walk along the Huangpu River on her Sina Weibo account. The post, which went out to her 50,000 followers on March 14, called for a “pure stroll” without banners or slogans. Soon afterward, she was asked to “drink tea” with the police — an idiom used to describe interrogations.

On her other Chinese microblogging account she later posted: “I feel very disappointed. You even shut out a voice concerned about local pollution and your own lives. I will see how long you will shut me out. At least uncle tea said to me: I understand where you are coming from.”

As news about Pan’s detention spread through Sina Weibo, prominent users voiced support.

“Just because a young woman said a few honest words about the dead pig issue, she was detained, banned and forced to hand in all of her communication devices,” said Li Minsheng, a well-known writer. “She was even ‘missing’ for three hours. Her only request was: ‘Please do not come ring my doorbell early in the morning or in the middle of the night to scare my mum.’ As a big city that has hosted the World Expo, why can’t Shanghai tolerate a poet? What law has Pan Ting violated? Please respond to the whole nation, Shanghai.”

Additional reporting by Xia Keyu.

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