• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 12:11pm

Charles Xue

Charles Xue Biqun, also known by his alias Xue Manzi, is a billionaire venture capitalist and one of the most active investors in the Chinese internet industry, having invested in hundreds of internet startup firms. Born in 1953, Xue is the son of a former deputy mayor of Beijing. He studied foreign relations at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a naturalised US citizen. Xue is a leading liberal commenator on the Chinese social media scene, and has participated in or funded many public-interest projects in China in recent years. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011. He was put under administrative detention by Beijing police in late August 2013 for allegedly hiring a prostitute. 

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Chinese police detain internet celebrity, journalist in new crackdown

Analyst says it appears that a fresh campaign is under way against liberal online opinion

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 August, 2013, 10:24am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 August, 2013, 12:56pm

Beijing police detained an outspoken internet celebrity as well as a journalist who has accused a senior government official of dereliction of duty, raising concerns that an increasingly tough crackdown against liberal opinion is taking place.

Charles Xue Biqun, a venture capitalist better known by his alias Xu Manzi, was held on Friday along with a young woman for suspected involvement in prostitution, Beijing police said via their official weibo social media account yesterday.

It also announced yesterday that Liu Hu, an investigative reporter with the Guangzhou-based newspaper New Express, was placed under police custody on Saturday for fabricating and spreading rumours, a catch-all charge used to cover acts disrupting social order.

Xue, 60, was caught patronising an alleged prostitute in a residential compound in Beijing after police received a tip from residents, another weibo post said.

With a following of more than 12 million "fans" on the most influential microblogging service, Xue was named in official newspapers as having links with an "online rumour-monger" arrested for "stirring trouble" and operating an illegal business two days before his detention.

The Beijing Times reported that Xue had invested in a company where one of the suspected "rumour-mongers", Qin Zhihui, briefly worked. Xue has since denied having any links with Qin.

Journalist Liu's wife told the Southern Metropolis Daily that he was taken away from their home in Chongqing on Saturday along with two computers and several bank cards whose accounts have been closed.

On July 29, Liu alleged on weibo that Ma Zhengqi, deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, was negligent in his public duties while working in Chongqing. The administration said it was aware of the accusation but had made no comment.

Liu also shared information that raised questions over possible corruption by other senior government officials. His microblogs were later deleted.

Zhou Ze, one of Liu's lawyers, said that what Liu had done did not fit in with any of the four forms of "causing trouble" as prescribed by the Criminal Law.

Professor Wang Sixin from the politics and law school of Communication University in Beijing said a fresh campaign against online content had begun, but the government should take measures that can stand up to legal examination.

"It's unrealistic for everything that people say online to have authoritative sources. Speech itself cannot be measured by quantitative standards," he said.

State Internet Information Office director Lu Wei said recently that internet celebrities had a civic responsibility to "deliver more positive and constructive messages" and "promote virtue and trust", comments that appeared to signal tighter internet restrictions.

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This article is now closed to comments

newgalileo
Things are getting darker and darker in China. Puzzling, worrying. After decades in this country I feel uneasy, the least to say. One has a hard time to understand what is really going on.
sipsip1238
I'm sure Charles would not have been arrested if he didn't annoy someone higher up in the Chinese Government. They love you when you give them capital and do what they do, they ruin you when you don't do what they say.
Fangkai.sg
My deepest condolence, he just a man want to have some free speech.
hkbulib2
Have you ever been to Beijing? Prostitution is rampant and open. A middle-aged man cannot walk down the street without being propositioned and calling cards accumulate under the hotel doors at night. The authorities selectively choose to prosecute only those cases of people they wish to persecute for political reasons. It is nonsense to ask whether the charges of prostitution are "relevant."
hkbulib2
How many thousands of prostitutes are hired in Beijing every night? How many men get picked up for hiring prostitutes? You are extremely naiive.
VicSexton
Not really seeing the bigger picture are you Bobby?
HiggsSinglet
Please excuse him, even most white americans whom has been dealing with china knows what this is all about
xiaoblueleaf
What is the big deal having to report via CCTV? What one does in private is his/her own private biz. Clearly CCP is now trying to muzzle dissenters and the Weibo using despicable tactics in total disregard of rights of the individual. What a shame!
lucifer
It is at this point one usualy finds out they are not actually American, but Chinese.
TNC2013
Well, so much for free speech, I guess.

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