April 29, 2016
On Dec. 31, 2011, Zhong Jinhua, a former Chinese judge and successful attorney, suddenly became an enemy of the state.
“If the ban on political parties and limits on the press are not removed within five years … the people and intellectuals won’t stand for it,” he wrote on his Sina Weibo microblog. “I’ll be the first to announce my resignation from the Chinese Communist Party, and organize democratic political parties to overthrow the dictatorship!”
Zhong’s sizable Weibo fanbase shared the comment thousands of times within hours, and he received a flood of praise before the post was purged.
The Party’s mechanisms of control and suppression kicked in immediately: Security agents began calling his cellphone, he was ordered back to Shanghai, and the head of his law firm began thinking up ways to fire him. In the end he managed to keep his job, but the damage had been done: Zhong was now an “anti-Party element.”