On Jan 2, a teacher in the Guangdong province of China was detained by the government after he taught students how to bypass the Great FireWall of China. Mr. Pan (潘仕傑) teaches at Gongbei Middle School (拱北中學) of Zhuhai city (珠海市). According to Sound of Hope, Mr. Pan is an activist, manages several Skype groups and QQ groups (a Chinese equivalent of MSN), and has been closely watched by government agents. Prior to this incident, his language classes were canceled and he was assigned irrelevant classes. He has also been threatened by government officials. His detainment infuriates the Chinese netizens. "How are we supposed to support so fragile a government as to fear its own people for merely bypassing its censorship? (翻牆)", commented a netizen.
Hongkong netizens pointed out the irony, "Won't that make the 50 cent party (astroturfing group hired by the Chinese government), who bypass (the GWFoC) in order to comment in Hongkong, criminals as well?"
Later, Radio Free Asia managed to contact Mr. Pan (with a phone call?) He said that he was only interrogated by the police and was later released. He refused to be interviewed, apparently for fear of further harassment from the government. Mr. Liu (劉飛躍), another teacher who once managed a human right site 民生觀察, told RFA, "There is no written rule forbidding bypassing the Internet censorship. However, it is never allowed to touch sensitive political subjects. There are no laws banning this, but China does not operated according to laws. In reality, allowing people to bypass the censorship would entail news and speech freedom, which is unacceptable. Therefore such behaviors are always harassed and controlled.
Sound of Hope interviewed several activists to comment on this incident. Famous blogger Mr. Liu (劉逸明) views this as a government attempt to create chilling effects. Human right lawyer Mr. Tang (唐荊陵) reminds the audience of several similar incidents, including his own detainment by the government. Some activists were even jailed. He also believes that more and more people will stand up in response to such incidents. Another writer (荊楚) from Guangxi province said, "When facts are revealed by the teachers and among the students, the [brain washing] education system and materials will crash. ... This shows the Chinese government's hysteria and lack of confidence."