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Student accused of threatening activist on Instagram

An overseas music student from China has been charged with using WeChat, Instagram, and email to threaten a pro-democracy activist, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced.

Xiaolei Wu, 25, originally from the People’s Republic but studying at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts, was indicted by a court in Boston on one charge of cyberstalking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Wu is alleged to have used social media and email to send a series of threatening messages last October to an activist for putting up posters on the Barklee campus calling for democracy in China. One of the messages allegedly said: “Post more, and I will chop your bastard hands off.”

The DoJ did not specify where the activist was from but claimed that Wu also sent them a message saying he had contacted government security services in China so they could “greet” the alleged victim’s family.

As well as the cyberstalking charge, Wu also faces one count of using interstate transmissions for threatening communication, which also carries a maximum five-year sentence. In addition to that, both charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000.

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