Latest: @Horror_Zoo probably never thought a call from her father would change her life forever. After being threatened by police in #China, she didn't give up but instead, decided to fight against #Beijing's surveillance from Australia.…
She was surprised to find her father at a police station in her hometown in Anhui Province, and she could hear a policeman asking her father to pressure her to hand over the login credentials of that Twitter account.
“Give me the login credentials of the Twitter account, and we will delete it,” her father said. He is a professor teaching Communist Party ideologies and "Xi Jinping Thought" at a university in her hometown.
However, the police emphasized that they traced the IP address logging into the account to Australia, then Zoo began to insist that someone in Australia must have hacked into the account.
"Please don’t be manipulated by other people, and please don’t sacrifice yourself for other people. Xi Jinping is such a great leader," her father pleaded.
“Whether the posts were posted by your friend or yourself, you need to remember that you are a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. In fact, even though you are in Australia, you are still under the jurisdiction of the P.R.C. Do you understand that?" the police told her.
The police then asked Zoo when would her Australian visa expire, and asked her to report to him once she was back in China. The police handed the phone back to Zoo’s father, while she continued to promise her father that the Twitter account didn’t belong to her.
"If you have nothing else to say, I’m going to hang up. You’ve been giving me… I’m going to hang up," her father stared into the phone blankly and said.
Zoo's journey of becoming an activist began when she befriended some feminists and LGBTQ activists in #China during her student years. After these groups' social media accounts were suspended, she moved to Australia in 2019.
“I started joining protests supporting #HK on the third day of my arrival in Australia. I learned more about the anti-extradition bill movement through these events.
At the same time, some of my friends and classmates in China were sharing images supporting the Hong Kong police. This made me feel really conflicted," she told me.
When the COVID19 pandemic broke out in 2020, Zoo began to organize some protests criticizing the Chinese government’s handling of the crisis, including a vigil commemorating the whistleblower, Dr. Li Wenliang.
"In China, it was only superficially legal to organize protests, because people usually get arrested for organizing public gatherings or posting relevant flyers on bulletin boards," she said.
"However, freedom of expression is guaranteed in Australia, and I can express my views for the group that I hope to represent.”
After being invited by @ZhouFengSuo to attend the online commemoration for #JuneFourth, Zoo decided to share her experience during the event. However, local police in Anhui province screenshot her speech and sent it to her father hours after the event.
“They told me dad that the whole incident had been escalated to a serious level, and my dad began to cooperate with them, pressuring me to return to China,” she said.
“At that moment, I felt like my relationship with my family has been destroyed by the government’s jurisdiction, and I was really angry about that. I decided to tell the world how it began with the police summoning my father to the police station.”
She knows the risks of revealing details of the threats from police in #China, but she also knows that it is one of the ways to reclaim her freedom of speech.
"I knew the police have been monitoring all my Twitter accounts, and that’s also the reason why I need to publicly tell them that I’m not afraid of them. I need to reclaim the freedom to speak up for myself.”
However, she also admitted that she never planned to publicize her identity and her appearance before she received threats from the Chinese police. She felt like she was “pushed by fate” to go down this path, which makes her rather helpless.
"I wasn’t mentally prepared to do this, and it has affected my relationship with people back in China, including my friends and family. I was already admitted into a program in Australia, but I also have to put that plan on hold because of this.”
She has also become hopeless about her relationship with her parents after her father decided to cooperate with the police. “Since a very young age, I’ve been suspecting whether my parents love me or not, but now I no longer have to guess," she told me.
"It’s become obvious that they don’t really love me, so in a way, this is a relief for me.”
Even though she isn’t sure when she will be able to return to China, Zoo still hopes to go home and use her abilities to help the groups that need support.
"I want to return to China and use filmmaking or writing to help the people in need. I still think it’s better if I don’t have to be physically separated from China, because that’s the only way I can offer real help to the people in that country," @Horror_Zoo told me.
Mandarin version of the story:…

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