December 15th has been declared “Free to Tweet” day on social media site Twitter. It’s an initiative supporting freedom of speech (specifically celebrating the American First Amendment because no one else on Twitter is from any other country in the world). The initiative may have found a poster child in Mr. Chen.
The computer worker from Zhejiang province, China was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a 500 Yuan fine for spreading rumours online… rumors that he thought to be true because he had read them online.
After reading about radioactive contamination in the waters off the coast of Shandong Province following the meltdown at the Tepco Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, Chen followed suit. He posted a warning to others about the dangers he urged fellow Chinese to “stockpile salt, spread the word and refrain from consuming sea products for at least up to a year.”
Chinese officials, who had been closely monitoring all imports from Japan as well as the waters along their shores for radiation, say the posts are untrue and that was how Mr. Chen found his way into the slammer.