Anonymous Blogging: The Case of Program Think: Unveiling a Chinese Activist’s Identity and Fight for Justice

Anonymous Blogging: The Case of Program Think

In this article, we delve into the captivating story of an anonymous blogger known as Program Think who emerged as a prominent critic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). With his powerful insights, Program Think challenged the oppressive regime and exposed its shortcomings. Despite operating within China, he managed to keep his identity hidden and evade the watchful eyes of the internet police. However, in May 2021, Program Think suddenly disappeared from the online world, leaving his followers concerned for his safety.

The Mysterious Vigilante

Program Think’s online presence began over a decade ago when he started a blog dedicated to programming and software development. But as censorship in China escalated, he decided to expand his scope beyond technology and delve into other pressing issues affecting the country. With each post, he aimed to fuel a political revolution and bring about change. Unlike other critics who voiced their dissent from abroad, Program Think courageously operated within China itself, making him an enigmatic figure facing off against the CCP’s powerful security forces.

Unveiling Program Think’s Identity

The mystery surrounding Program Think’s true identity deepened when a Chinese blogger was unexpectedly sentenced to seven years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” This blogger turned out to be Ruan Xiaohuan, a 45-year-old cybersecurity expert. Ruan was arrested just one day after Program Think’s final post. His arrest remained shrouded in secrecy, and even his family was kept in the dark about the details of his case. It was only through extensive online research that Ruan’s wife, Bei, discovered her husband’s secret online persona as Program Think.

Ruan’s Background and Career

Ruan’s journey to becoming Program Think was marked by his passion for computer science and IT. After dropping out of college, he forged a successful career in cybersecurity, holding executive positions in top firms in the field. He even played a crucial role in overseeing the information security system for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. However, Ruan grew disillusioned with the limitations imposed by profit-driven companies and decided to dedicate his time to developing open-source software and educating himself on various subjects.

Program Think’s Impact

Over the years, Program Think’s blog became a treasure trove of valuable resources on a wide range of topics. He fearlessly wrote about sensitive issues, including politically taboo subjects like the Tiananmen Square massacre. His work inspired many Chinese netizens, who credit him with opening their eyes to the nation’s political landscape. Program Think believed that improving people’s political and psychological awareness could create the foundation for a nonviolent revolution that could topple the oppressive regime.

The Disappearance of Program Think

In May 2021, Program Think abruptly stopped updating his blog, social media accounts, and Github. Concerned for his safety, his followers launched a frantic search for answers. Although the authorities never disclosed how they tracked down Ruan, an anonymous social media user linked Program Think’s public Gmail account to a previous corporate email used by Ruan. This discovery raised questions about how the police managed to locate him. Despite the dangers, Program Think chose to remain in China, becoming an iconic symbol of resistance.

The Arrest and Sentencing of Ruan Xiaohuan

Ruan’s arrest shocked his wife, Bei, who didn’t see him again until his court hearing almost two years later. Throughout this period, Bei hired multiple batches of lawyers to represent her husband, but they remained tight-lipped about the case due to non-disclosure agreements. Bei attended the sentencing alone, witnessing her husband’s deterioration and desperation. Ruan was sentenced to seven years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” The heavy sentence left Bei in shock and prompted her to search for news about missing bloggers, eventually leading her to connect the dots between Program Think and her husband.

The Fight for Justice

Determined to secure justice for her husband, Bei sought human rights lawyers to represent Ruan in the appeal trial. However, her efforts were met with resistance from the authorities. Police officers confronted Bei and tried to intimidate her into dropping the case. In an attempt to control the narrative, the authorities replaced the defense lawyers with their own appointed representatives. Despite these challenges, Bei is determined to ensure a fair trial for her husband and believes that public opinion plays a crucial role in holding the Chinese government accountable.

Support from the International Community

Within China, all mentions of Ruan and Program Think have been meticulously scrubbed from social media platforms due to heavy censorship. However, outside of China, there has been an outpouring of concern and support for Ruan. Users have flocked to Program Think’s blog to leave comments and have found ways to archive his content. Keeping the spotlight on Ruan’s case is vital for his safety, as increased awareness can provide some level of protection. The international community must continue to stand up for Ruan, recognizing his courage, intellect, and profound impact on Chinese society.

In conclusion, the anonymous blogger known as Program Think emerged as a formidable opponent of the Chinese Communist Party, challenging its authority and exposing its flaws. Despite his best efforts to remain hidden, Program Think’s identity was eventually unveiled. Now, his wife, Bei, fights to ensure a fair trial for her husband, in the face of tremendous resistance from the Chinese government. The international community must stand in solidarity with Ruan Xiaohuan and demand justice for his courageous activism.

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