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China Detains Prominent Online Critic on Prostitution Solicitation Charge

Well-known Chinese-American angel investor and prominent online celebrity Charles Xue has been detained by Beijing police for suspected solicitation of prostitution.

Speculation is rampant in China's social Web, however, that the prostitution bust was just a scheme set up by the authorities to control influential liberals online as part of recent crackdown on “online rumors.”

The outspoken Xue, better known by his nickname Xue Manzi, is one of the most prominent figures in the Chinese Internet industry and is also a famous political critic on Chinese social media with over 12 million followers on popular microblogging site Sina Weibo.

Xue's detention on on August 25, 2013 soon grabbed netizens’ attention, and his name became the top most searched key word on Weibo.

Last week, Chinese police detained two Internet users for allegedly starting online rumors defamed government groups and a cultural icon. Earlier in August 2013, the head of the State Internet Information Office urged a group of “Big V” users, as online celebrities are known, to be more constructive in their social media postings.

Government mouthpiece Guangming Daily ran a piece on Xue, saying[zh] his detention exposes Internet hypocrite. It also warns netizens “not to follow suit.”

One web user “Feixiangba feixiangba” suspected[zh]:

Xue Manzi's Weibo page with over 12 million followers

Xue Manzi's Weibo page with over 12 million followers

只见央视和警方一面之词,为何不见薛蛮子本人或律师声明?

How come we hear only the one-sided story from the police and CCTV, but not Xu Manzi or his lawyer’s statement?

CEO of China eCaptial Wang Ran expressed symphony [zh]:

即使@薛蛮子真的一时糊涂,这仍然不会改变他做过慈善、帮过创业者、说过逆耳忠言、推动过社会进步的基本事实。犯错就是犯错,犯法就是犯法,每个成年人都要为自己的行为负责。但一码归一码,此刻更重要的仍然是他微博上的那些言论,哪些我们同意,哪些不同意,而不是其他。

Even if Xue Manzi had a moment of weakness, it doesn't change the fact that he has done charity, helped entrepreneurs, spoken the truth, and promoted social progress. Mistakes are mistakes, but breaking the law is breaking the law, every adult should be responsible for their own actions. The most important thing at the moment is his comments on Weibo, which ones we agree with, and which ones we do not agree with.

Hu Xijin, chief editor of the government mouthpiece Global Times, weighed in[zh]:

不能完全排除官方是在通过抓嫖娼“整”薛蛮子。通过性丑闻、偷漏税等“整”政治对手,这是全世界政府通行的“潜规则”。所以善意提醒热衷政治对抗的人士,走这条路,自己的屁股一定要干净。你如果真有短,又逢官必反,早晚会搞砸。也诚劝政府,你们抓的短一定要准确无误,程序无可挑剔,否则适得其反。

It cannot be ruled out that the authorities were using the prostitution charge to frame Xue Manzi. It is a universal rule that governments around the world use sex scandals to frame political rivals. So I warn political dissidents in China to keep your bottom clean or you could mess up sooner or later. I would also urge the government to make sure the evidence they gather must be accurate, and the procedure flawless, or you would get the exact opposite result.

In response to Hu’s comment, online personality “Pretending to be in NY” disagreed[zh]:

世界上没有人是通体透明,完美无瑕的。如果要求批评政府的人必须是毫无瑕疵的完人,那世界上就没有人能有资格批评政府了。胡锡进的话看似公允,其实却是赤裸裸的黑社会式的威胁,完全撕破了伪装的不要脸。读完胡言,只感到森森寒气袭来,不寒而栗,然后看到有这么多人为之叫好,更是觉得悲哀莫明。

Nobody in this world is flawless. If you require critics of the government to be flawless and perfect, then nobody in the world is qualified enough to criticize the government. Hu Xijin's words seem fair, but it is a naked threat. After reading his nonsense, I felt densely chilled and shuddered, and then when I saw that there were so many people applauding, I felt sad somehow.

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