Global Voices Online noticed yesterday when guerrilla blogger Zola (Zhou Shuguang) began tweeting his own detention. His BlackBerry let the world know that local officials had intercepted him in the town of Fengmuqiao in Hunan province, and he posted updates as they forced him into a car to drive him home. If he leaves his hometown of Meitanba again, they told him, there will be trouble.
Zola is a citizen reporter who takes it upon himself to travel to places where news is happening and blog about it, relying on the kindness of strangers as he goes. (He gets around the ethical quandary this presents by refusing to call himself a journalist.)
In March 2007, for instance, he took a bus to the Chongqing “nail house,” where an obstinate homeowner had refused to vacate her house in the middle of a vast, demolished re-development zone. Zola uploaded photos and interviews, often from his cell phone. Last summer, he posted photos and live updates from to the scene of a mass protest against the building of a chemical plant in the southern city of Xiamen. And late last year, according to his own account, he was detained and roughed up by police in the northeastern city of Shenyang. He then posted a video online in which he demanded that the police repay the $160 they took from him.
This time, authorities warned him not to go to Beijing during the Olympics. Last night, he tweeted in English:
“I have a idea, I want go to Beijing and make report,but the police will stop me, I want a journalist meet me at my Hometown,then take me … “