In 2023, a programmer in Chengde, China, was confiscated with 1.03 million yuan of income for illegally working abroad

Updated on October 17, 2023 View Times: 643

Duel Peak
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In September 2022, I was approached by the local security authorities, who believed that a Twitter account with a large number of xxxx statements belonged to me. I said that I am currently working for an overseas company, and my personal Twitter only occasionally likes and forwards the company's tweets, and the tweet that posted xxxx does not belong to me, and at the same time introduces them to the work situation and shows the information of my personal Twitter account. They seized my phone, laptop, and several computer hard drives that day. The devices were returned in about a month.

In April and July this year, I made several more notes, detailing the work situation, and provided the bank card for collection, the company's registration information in the country where it was located, the consultant contract I signed with the company and other supporting documents, during which the public security department said that the matter of Twitter had been found out that it had nothing to do with me, but the matter of circumventing the wall would be punished, and my income would be recognized as illegal income.

In August this year, a punishment decision was officially issued: circumvention of the wall is illegal, and the income after circumvention of the wall is illegal gain.

On September 5 this year, I applied for an administrative reconsideration, and after communicating with the reconsideration department, they basically agreed with the opinions of the public security organs, and I needed to go to the court for administrative litigation.

During this period, I repeatedly said that github.com and the company's after-sales support website can be accessed without circumventing the wall, and writing code to complete it on the local computer does not need to circumvent the wall, but these explanations have not been adopted.

In response to the Chengde programmer incident, Hu Xijin believes that Chengde characterized a programmer's overseas work income as "illegal income" and confiscated all of them, which is the heaviest economic punishment for "circumventing the wall" that we have seen so far. If the punished person goes to the Internet only to write software and does not involve political issues, then this punishment is quite debatable, and the "precedent" it sets increases social confusion and is not conducive to China's expansion of opening up to the outside world.

The following is the full text of Hu Xijin's Weibo:

A Chinese programmer living in Chengde works for an overseas company, takes company tasks on GitHub to write code by "circumventing the wall", answers user questions on support, and uses Zoom for remote work. The Chengde Municipal Public Security Bureau fined him a small amount, but confiscated 1,058,000 yuan of his "illegal gains." This matter has a very large indirect impact in society, so it has attracted attention.

Chinese law prohibits informal channels from "circumventing the wall" to connect to the international network, and this legislation was originally intended to protect domestic political and ideological security and prevent the penetration of values abroad. Many years ago, when the Internet "Great Firewall" was first constructed, Lao Hu firmly expressed his support for its design and implementation, because it is in line with China's actual situation and is a basic element of China's national security in this era. China cannot be taken hostage by the American Internet giants and our society is hijacked by them.

At the same time, it must be noted that China is a country open to the outside world, and we have defended the independence of our own Internet, but this does not mean that we are completely isolated from the Internet. With the continuous advancement of globalization at the level of Internet applications, a large number of people in China need to use the Internet to work, so some state-owned companies and institutions provide channels for international Internet connectivity. However, due to the limited access to them, many people do not understand them, so some people still work on the Internet through their own methods. Judging from the information revealed on the Internet about Chengde's handling of this matter, it should roughly fall into this situation.

If we want to defend political and ideological security, while maintaining the basic ability of Chinese society to open up to the outside world and meet the needs in this regard, then we should treat relevant matters differently, not engage in simple "one-size-fits-all", and do not use individual cases of "endangering national security" to measure other "circumvention" behaviors due to work needs.

If their needs are cut off, then the Chinese people will be closed, and our overall ability to open up to the outside world will shrink significantly. I personally believe that it is necessary for the relevant management departments to carry out research on the relevant needs of domestic connection to the Internet, open up more relevant legal channels, and promote orderly opening up.

Chengde characterized a programmer's income from overseas work as "illegal income" and confiscated all of them, which is the heaviest financial penalty we have seen so far for "circumventing the wall". If the punished person goes to the Internet to write software and does not involve political and ideological issues, then this punishment is quite debatable, and the "precedent" it sets increases social confusion and is not conducive to China's expansion of opening up to the outside world.

As tensions between China and the United States have intensified ideological conflicts between China and the West, mutual political precautions between the United States and China, as well as between the West and China, are on the rise. At this time, our side should still maintain maximum calm, and grassroots management departments should not be nervous when encountering a situation involving foreign affairs by the people, and should not have the understanding that the stricter the management of foreign affairs, the more correct it is. The United States has taken the issue of China to extremes, and China must do a better job than the United States in maintaining self-confidence and encouraging opening up to the outside world, so that we can have more tension and make our development more comprehensive.
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