A number of Chinese celebrities and prominent people who came out in support of an ongoing censorship protest have reportedly been invited to "drink tea" with local authorities, according to media reports and social media.
According to the AFP, "drink tea" is a well-known euphemism for a caution from the government.
Taiwanese singer Annie Yi has confirmed that she has been invited to "drink tea", while the former head of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee, and property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang also say they received the notice.
Yi has become something of a figurehead for posting a coded message in support of censorship protests. Attaching a picture of a notorious pro-censorship article, she wrote (via Tea Leaf Nation):
Good boy, watch that door. As long as we are here, this place belongs to us. So if anyone says to you that this place is his, bite him. Good boy, watch that door. We have knives and guns, no one dares to come, so you don’t even need to bite, just barking is enough. Do you hear that, you dogs who threaten others on the strength of your master’s power? If you threaten me, even if you’re not really a dog, you’re just like one. Good boy, I butchered another dog for you, here are their bones for you to chew on. I’m encouraging you because I’m proud of you.
The post was soon deleted, but Yi posted more messages of support.
Celebrity support for the protests — which began after the Guangzhou newspaper Southern Weekly was forced to run a censored editorial — has been a huge factor in turning the protests into a mainstream issue. Weibo's most popular user, actress Yao Chen, has even been quoting Soviet-era Russian dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in relation to the protests.
Yao, who has 31 million followers on Weibo, has not revealed whether she received the same "drink tea" invitations.
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