On February 10, 2023, a court in Shanghai sentenced Ruan Xiaohuan who is believed to be the legendary blogger who ran an anonymous blog under the name Program-Think, to seven years in prison for “incitement to subvert state power” according to Committee to Protect Journalists, CNN and Radio Free Asia.
The 46-year-old blogger and information security specialist was detained by the authorities in May 2021 where for several years he wrote about China’s internet restrictions, posted translations of foreign news articles and published several articles on evading the Communist Party’s internet censorship and tracking protocols. His political commentary criticized the Chinese Communist Party. blog included pieces about evading government detection over the years, such as “Why the Authorities Can’t Catch Me–A Summary of My Security Experience After Ten Years of Anti-Party Activities,” while others discussed the history of the 1989 protests, and current affairs. The blog started in 2009 had a large number of followers on Twitter.
Ruan’s identity as the author of Program-Think and his plight became international after his wife, Bei Zhenying, began publicly sharing information on her husband’s situation. She has spoken to CNN, Committee to Protect Journalists, Radio Free Asia and others.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN America and PEN International and others have called for the immediate release of Ruan Xiaohuan.
“The severe sentence against Ruan Xiaohuan is yet another example of the authorities’ willingness to use every means available to silence dissenting voices. It is notable that PRC government representatives continue to freely post on social media platforms banned in China while persecuting others who seek the same freedoms,” said Ross Holder, Head of Asia/ Pacific Region at PEN International.