Twitter Activists Sign Petition to Free China’s “Twitter Prisoner”

Apparently, three words of her sarcastic tweet back in November landed a Chinese woman in a hard labor camp – and human rights activists are saying Twitter needs to say much more than just three words in response.

We reported in November that Cheng Jianping, or @wangyi09, was arrested by the Chinese government for a single retweet. She had retweeted a tweet commenting on the anti-Japanese violent protests at the time, and had added “Charge, angry youth!” to the end in an attempt at sarcasm.

This sarcasm wasn’t taken lightly by the authorities, who have since sentenced, without trial, Jianping to one year of “reeducation” in a hard labor camp.

Now, a petition on is being signed saying that Twitter itself should take a leadership role in decrying the treatment of this woman.

The petition acknowledges that Dick Costolo did initially comment on the case, but that a single comment didn’t go far enough for a company founded on the concept of open communication and the free exchange of ideas:

“Twitter CEO Dick Costolo did tweet initially tweet about the case: “Dear Chinese Government, year-long detentions for sending a sarcastic tweet are neither the way forward nor the future of your great people.”

But Twitter Inc. has done absolutely nothing since. Contrast that with what could almost be termed ‘corporate activism’ as the Iranian green movement rose following the country’s disputed 2009 presidential elections.”

They ask signees to support calling Twitter to action by using its legal and influential presence to “protest this infringement of Twitter’s lawful business activities, and to use the company’s “international influence” to call for her release.”

So far, 151 out of a target 200 people have signed this petition – which will be sent to Twitter leadership including Costolo, Ev Willams and Biz Stone – since Monday.