Date
20 November 2017
Chinese authorities have seen red over a comic strip that depicts a fictitious encounter between President Xi Jinping and disgraced former military general Xu Caihou. Photos: Bloomberg, Mingpao
Chinese authorities have seen red over a comic strip that depicts a fictitious encounter between President Xi Jinping and disgraced former military general Xu Caihou. Photos: Bloomberg, Mingpao

Guangxi man grilled over online comic strip related to Xi-Xu

Authorities in China’s Guangxi Autonomous Region are said to have called in a man for questioning after he shared with his friends an online comic strip that alluded to President Xi Jinping.

The man, identified as Luo Ming, was summoned to a police station and grilled Monday for allegedly circulating an online comic titled “The last night at 301″, according to a Ming Pao Daily report.

The comic strip is said to be about a conversation between a man and a sick patient lying in bed.

According to the illustrations and captions, the patient says that he may not be able to live much longer, while the man at the bedside insists that patient must hang on until at least the annual “two sessions” are out of the way, the report said.

Though the characters were not named directly, it was implied that the patient was Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, while the man at the bedside was Xi.

In real life, Xu died on March 15, the same day when China brought its National People’s Congress (NPC) session to a close.

The NPC gathering and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) meeting that preceded it are together commonly referred to as the “two sessions”.

Xu, who died of bladder cancer, had been facing prosecution for corruption after being expelled from the Communist Party last year.  

After his death, military prosecutors decided to drop the charges against the general, but said they will continue to scrutinize his alleged illicit financial gains.

Questioned by the police for circulating content of political nature, Luo is said to have told his interrogators that he merely shared some posts with a few friends on the WeChat messaging app.

The police, however, didn’t take the matter lightly. They accused him of spreading rumors with the aim of creating trouble and disturbing the social order.

Luo’s lawyer said the online comic content was not intended to be seen by the wider public, and that the accusations by the police were unfair.

His client’s act in sharing the content with a few friends should not be deemed as spreading rumors, let alone slander or causing disturbance to the society, the lawyer was quoted as saying.

Luo was freed on Tuesday, but the police said that it won’t be the end of the matter.

The remarks suggested that Luo could face some kind of penalty.

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TL/AC/RC

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