THE NORMAL ROUND of stories about people running afoul of local authorities when photographing public demonstrations is starting to spin up as the world counts down the days until the opening of the Olympic ceremonies in China. When people take to the streets to join the cause or to document a movement, they can easily run afoul of the authorities. When I ran point duties while coursing a route, I had a handheld multi-band radio, similar to the MrH Kit. I have also joined Flash mobs by using simple group text messages. Things have evolved, now that anyone can connect up to a group (or a mob if you're on the other side) through Twitter or Jaiku or Pownce. The cross-talk now revolves around how Chinese authorities will clamp down on dissent that leaks out onto the internet--and the Chinese are renowned for tracking down messages of dissent. The Chinese have continued cracking down. A related story came out of Egypt where James Buck got bailed from jail after his use of Twitter called in legal aid. From what the Contra Costa Times reports, it sounds like he tweeted the word "ARRESTED" as a text message and a chain of events unfurled in his favour. Buck, 29, a former Oakland Tribune multimedia intern, sent Twitter friends terse messages. He was released around 12 hours later, crediting "a combination of things, my Egyptian
friends told me to play the 'American bitch' and try to force my way
out." They also told him that it was no big deal and to just stay calm. Fair play to the battery power of Buck's phone. It also helped that Buck's detention wasn't accompanied by a formal set of charges being preferred because in my experience, that normally means the prison authorities take phones, money, keys and sharp objects away while you're behind bars.
According to Radio Free Europe, Jamyang Kyi (left, above), Tibetan writer, performer and blogger, has been arrested by the Chinese.
Plainclothes state security officers escorted Jamyang Kyi, who has travelled widely and performed and lectured in the United States, from her office at state-owned Qinghai TV on April 1, an authoritative source told Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan service. “She never returned,” a source in Siling [in Chinese, Xining] said. “People were speculating that she was detained in a guesthouse for interrogation.”
Another authoritative source in Beijing said she had been formally arrested by the Xining Public Security Bureau, although the charges against her were unknown. In China, a formal arrest almost always precedes a conviction. “Security people went to Jamyang Kyi’s house to search her computer, her mailing list, and contact numbers and took all these away,” another source in Xining said.
Photostream for the Committee to Protect Bloggers.
Bill Brand -- "U.C. Berkeley U.C. Berkeley student's Twitter messages alerted world to his arrest in Egypt" in the San Jose Mercury News, 15 April 2008.
James Buck's Photostream.
Associated Press -- "China detains Tibetan singer in wake of anti-government protests" in the International Herald Tribune, 16 April 2008.
Jamyang Kyi in video on YouTube.
Shel Israel -- "James Karl Buck Twitters His Way Out of an Egyptian Jailhouse"
Mark Hopkins -- "Twitter: Get Out Of Jail Free (If You’re American)"