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Dissident blogger burns Chinese passport, calls on Taiwanese to vote

Dissident blogger sets fire to Chinese passport, calls on Taiwanese to cherish their democratic freedom

Zhou Shuguang burns Chinese passport. 

Zhou Shuguang burns Chinese passport.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A former Chinese citizen and dissident blogger burned his Chinese passport in Hualien on Wednesday (Jan. 8) and appealed to Taiwanese to cherish their hard-won democracy and vote on Jan. 11.

Zhou Shuguang (周曙光), 40, a native of Ningxiang County in Hunan Province, has lived in Hualien's Rueisui Township (瑞穗) with his Taiwanese wife for nine years, becoming a naturalized Taiwan citizen in 2018. Zhou was originally an information technology professor but later became known for his citizen journalism, being a blogger, and covering China's censorship of the press.

Zhou, who goes by the handle Zuola (佐拉), used his blog to publish stories about government land seizures, oppression of ethnic minorities, and repression of freedom of speech. Starting in 2007, he started gaining attention for his "citizen reports," and he soon became known as the "father of citizen journalism in China."

Dissident blogger burns Chinese passport, calls on Taiwanese to vote
Zhou holding his Chinese passport (left) and Taiwan passport. (CNA photo)

Because Zhou had to relinquish his Chinese citizenship to become a Taiwanese citizen, his Chinese passport has been rendered useless. Rather than simply discarding it, however, Zhou decided to burn it as a form of performance art to make a point about Taiwan's democracy.

He said this was his way of expressing his opposition to the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) infiltration into Taiwan. During his performance, he appealed to Taiwanese people to cherish democracy and self-reliance.

Zhou also warned Taiwanese they should "not believe in the Chinese Communist Party and don't yearn for a totalitarian country," reported Liberty Times. Zhou, who will be voting in a Taiwan election for the first time, encouraged Taiwanese to vote for democracy on Jan. 11.

Dissident blogger burns Chinese passport, calls on Taiwanese to vote
Zhou sets fire to his Chinese passport. (CNA photo)

The dissident blogger said that during the era of former Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), he had published many politically sensitive blogs in China believing that the rise of the internet would gradually enlighten the Chinese people and provide democratic freedoms. However, he said that once Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平) came to power, everything became worse.

He said that since Xi took power, many intellectuals, lawyers and scholars have either disappeared or fled China. "The most important thing is to stop the expansion of communism around the world, especially to prevent the penetration of communism into the country where I live now. This passport is worthless to me, so burning it today put it to good use," CNA reported Zhou as saying.

Dissident blogger burns Chinese passport, calls on Taiwanese to vote
Charred Chinese passport. (Facebook user Zola Zhou photo)