Last Monday, the Chinese government sentenced a 46-year old human rights activist to one year in labor camp for “disturbing social order” when the woman re-tweeted her fiancée’s message, according to MSNBC The Last Word Blog.
The woman’s fiancee published his original tweet using Twitter account @wxhch. His tweet, while not excessively offensive to the average reader, scoffed at young Chinese nationalists over the geo-political conflict surrounding shared islands claimed by both Japan and China.
When the woman re-tweeted the message adding, “Charge, angry youth!” the Chinese government immediately interceded. The Chinese woman was detained by police and sentenced to one year in labor camp, a “re-education through labor,” causing the runaway bride to inadvertently miss her wedding date, leaving her husband-to-be twiddling his thumbs at the altar.
According to the Chinese government, social media outlets like Twitter have the potential to disturb their society’s social order. While this may seem like an archaic way of thinking to most democratic societies, consider the disruption social media has on western society.
Disturbing social order in the Unites States
In the United States, distracted driving related to Twitter and other social media platforms via mobile access can be detrimental to an individual’s safety on the road. Distracted driving often leads to car accidents that produce catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. Tweeting on-the-go is the Western world’s “disturbance of social order” and the U.S. government has noticed.
Now, new technology may bring about a change to discourage distracted driving in the United States; Tweeting in traffic may be a thing of the past. As reported by Popular Science magazine, the Obama administration “is considering disabling cell phones in American cars, aiming to cut down on distracted drivers and cell-phone-related road deaths.”
Forcing an individual to install a cell phone jammer in their vehicle is certainly a bold measure, but at what cost are U.S. citizens trading freedom for safety?
Last year, nearly 6,000 individuals died in a car accident related to distracted driving, according to U.S. Department of Transportation. In a day where social connectivity is essential to the world at hand, it’s never been more tempting to Tweet on-the-go, but the social disruption may not even be possible if the U.S. government intervenes.
Is the United States thwarting social connectivity too strongly? Or, is this a long time coming? Surprisingly, most individuals like the sentiment of banning cell phones on-the-go. A new poll released Thursday by the AFP shows that “nearly two-thirds of Americans support a national ban on the use of cell phones while driving, even if the driver is using a hands-free device.”
The only caveat? The poll didn’t ask how people feel about government-issued cell phone jammers installed into their vehicles. The Chinese government may have their measures to foil social outlets like Twitter, and so may the United States if government-issued cell phone jammers are passed.