A young dog breeder in eastern China was recently arrested and sentenced to ten days in a detention center after giving two of his canines controversial names that refer to Chinese government and civil service workers.
The 30-year-old man, surnamed Ban, was summoned by police on Monday, after posting on Chinese social network WeChat that he had named two of his dogs Chengguan and Xieguan. The first refers to officials tasked with tackling low-level crime, while the second is a name used to describe informal community workers, such as traffic assistants. Ban said that he didn’t know using the two words as names for his dogs was illegal, and that he had done it as a joke, but police failed to see the humor and launched an investigation after the man’s post went viral online.
A police officer told Beijing News that the dog breeder had been increasingly provocative on social media, and that his latest stunt had “caused great harm to the nation and the city’s urban management, in terms of their feelings”.
“I didn’t know the law, I didn’t know this was illegal,” Ban explained, but it was all in vain. He was sentenced to 10 days in an administrative detention center in the city of Xiangyang for having spread “insulting information… against law enforcement personnel”.
News of the man’s arrest sent shocks across the internet, and while some argued that he had been “asking for it” with his provocative comments, most social media users expressed their outrage over the cause of the conviction.
“Can you tell me which law stipulates that dogs can’t be called Chengguan?” one Weibo user commented.
“What other words could you be imprisoned for?” someone else asked.