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China: Small-town Officials And Police Traveled 500 Miles to Beijing to Arrest Reporter for Corruption Exposure

Posted by Author on January 12, 2008

By Edward Cody, from Washington Post, via the San Jose Mercury News, U.S. 01/09/2008-

BEIJING – China’s media and Internet users erupted in criticism Tuesday against some small-town officials and police officers who traveled nearly 500 miles to Beijing seeking to arrest a magazine reporter who wrote critically about their local Communist Party leader.

Editorials in the Beijing press said the officials, from Xinfeng county in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, had abused their power. Even the party’s official propaganda organ, People’s Daily, ran a signed editorial suggesting the way to deal with libel accusations is to go to court rather than use heavy-handed “administrative power.”

The attempt to arrest the reporter was an uncomfortable reminder of the degree to which local Communist Party officials and their police, in the absence of an independent judicial system, routinely exercise power without legal restraints.

Rising expectations

But the outcry from editorialists and online commentators also showed that the Chinese public’s willingness to accept such untrammeled power may be diminishing. Public expectations in this regard have been heightened recently by repeated pledges from President Hu Jintao to make the party more honest and responsive to people’s needs.

“I have always wondered what makes these cadres, even though they are educated and trained by the party for so many years, fail to perform normally, ignoring their superiors and arrogantly challenging the central media,” wrote an Internet user who said he was a professor at the University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. “Where does their confidence and strength come from? It shows a lack of democracy and rule of law at the grass-roots level.”

The controversy began when a Xinfeng gasoline station owner, Zhao Junping, accused the county government of failing to pay her adequate compensation when it expropriated and tore down one of her stations in 2006 to make way for a new trading center. Reinforcing her complaint, she sent her friends a number of cell-phone messages satirizing the local party secretary, Zhang Zhiguo, for refusing to give in to her demands for more money.

Zhao also traveled to Beijing last year to petition the national government for redress. But Xinfeng county police followed her to the capital and took her back, eventually jailing her and putting her on trial in a local court for tax-dodging and libel. She has been behind bars for about nine months, her case still unresolved.

The dispute caught the attention of Zhu Wenna, editorial director of a monthly magazine in Beijing, and she wrote a story about it in the Jan. 1 issue. Three days later, the Xinfeng country propaganda director and law committee director showed up in her Beijing office with a document accusing her of inaccuracies about party secretary Zhang.

Zhu refused to entertain their complaint. But they returned in the afternoon, this time accompanied by three Xinfeng police officers and armed with an arrest warrant from the Xinfeng Public Security Bureau accusing her of libel, which in China can be a criminal as well as a civil offense.

Zhu, meanwhile, had disappeared, and her editor, Wang Fengbin, refused to reveal where she was. The police officers waited until 6 p.m. for her return, but to no avail. From her hiding spot, she told friends she had retained an attorney and was seeking help from the party-sponsored All-China Journalists Association.

Defects of society

Party leader Zhang, contacted by the Beijing newspaper Xinjing Bao, said he had not issued orders to the Xinfeng police to arrest Zhu and had no idea how they came to travel to Beijing. But his critics seemed not to buy that defense.

“This incident shows fully the defects of our society, in which power is not effectively checked and local so-called judiciaries are actually the tools of local officials,” said one of Monday’s 30,000-plus Internet commentators. “What’s the difference with the feudal emperors?”

Zhan Jiang, a journalism professor at China Youth University for Political Sciences, wrote in Xinjing Bao that the attempt to prosecute Zhu for criminal libel was “appalling and will incur serious criticism from the public.” At the same time, he noted libel can be a criminal offense under Chinese law, so the police were legally justified in coming to Beijing to make an arrest.

But a commentator in Shanghai disagreed: “Why, I feel like I am watching a gangster movie,” he wrote.

– Report from the San Jose Mercury News: China party officials stir media, online protests

4 Responses to “China: Small-town Officials And Police Traveled 500 Miles to Beijing to Arrest Reporter for Corruption Exposure”

  1. gerry mitchell said

    I’m glad i read this review, I have been looking at a web site recently that are claiming to be an electrical wholesaler going by the name of oneashop.com, they are claiming to sell large screen plasma TVs and other electrical goods at very low prices, I have been very weary of this site from the start as there is very little contact information, all they are providing is an email address and msn address which are the same, not a single contact number anywhere.
    I have been posting blogs all week trying to find out anything at all that may put my head to rest about them but no-one has given me any real feedback as yet.
    they are operating under the ”HENAN FUTIAN INTERNATIONAL TRADE CO.LTD” and it wasn’t until I typed in this name that i finally found some real information about them.
    I shall be staying well clear of this site from now on and further more i shall be posting as many blogs as i possibly can warning other people about them.
    thank you very much for posting this and putting my mind to rest.
    greatfully yours Gerry.

  2. Suresh Pujari said

    I do not know why the Local Chinese Police have still not arrested the cheat company:

    HENAN FUTIAN INTERNATIONAL TRADE CO.,LTD
    Tel:+86-371-63752882 Fax:+86-371-63752992 New Fax: +86-371-6339 6203
    Add: No.330 Longhai Road Zhengzhou, Henan 450000, China

    All the so called directors (gang members) should be put behind bars immediately without fail.

    They have brought desrepute to their country and lowered China in the eyes of the World.

    They invites business people from abroad promising business, trap them and extract money from them. They are cheaters of high grade.

  3. Suresh Pujari said

    Request to take action against a 7 member group (Photo available), for cheating and forgery. They invites business people from abroad promising business, put them in trap and take money. They are taking the advantage of the situation when a person visits them , and cannot interact with others due to language problem. They impress the visitor and take undue advantage, extract money and send back.. They sign business contract which we feel is not having any value
    I do not know why the Local Chinese Police have still not arrested the cheat company:

    HENAN FUTIAN INTERNATIONAL TRADE CO.,LTD
    Tel:+86-371-63752882 Fax:+86-371-63752992 New Fax: +86-371-6339 6203
    Add: No.330 Longhai Road Zhengzhou, Henan 450000, China

    All the so called directors (gang members) should be put behind bars immediately without fail.

    They have brought desrepute to their country and lowered China in the eyes of the World.

    They invites business people from abroad promising business, trap them and extract money from them. They are cheaters of high grade.

  4. Thomas said

    Our china experience, Please Help me for recovering our money. Beware hnfutian

    引言:

    要求对7人诈骗伪造团伙采取行动,他们以生意为名邀请外国商人,利用外商来访时由于语言不通无法与旁人交流的情况,设下全

    套骗取钱财。他们胁迫外商采取不当手段诈取钱财。他们签下的商业和约我们觉得毫无价值。

    Request to take action against a 7 member group (Photo available), for cheating and forgery. They invites business people from abroad promising business, put them in trap and take money. They are taking the advantage of the situation when a person visits them , and cannot interact with others due to language problem. They impress the visitor and take undue advantage, extract money and send back.. They sign business contract which we feel is not having any value

    HENAN FUTIAN INTERNATIONAL TRADE CO.,LTD
    Tel:+86-371-63752882 Fax:+86-371-63752992 New Fax: +86-371-6339 6203
    Add: No.330 Longhai Road Zhengzhou, Henan 450000, China Agricultural Road and Nanyang Road intersection (from one of add)
    Web: http://www.hnfutian.com http://www.hn-jianye.com/

    Members (Photo available)

    SHU KUN ZHENG: Vice President (45yrs)
    XING YU WANG: Director (45yrs)
    SHI CHENG ZHANG: Import manager (45yrs) Mob +86 13938296752
    CHENG BIN LI: Financial Manager (45yrs)
    ANDY ZHANG: Import Assistant (25yrs) Mob +86 13608673844? andy_futian@yahoo.com.cn
    GUO ZHOU CHEN: Secretary (30yrs) Mob +86 13526825442
    Allen ren. Purchase director (20yrs) Mob +86 13526825445

    Summery

    Their first mail on 18-sep2007
    They sent us invitation on 27-sep2007
    Mathew Reached in Zhengzhou , China on 22-Oct2007
    Contract signed on 24-Oct2007.
    Their dinner party Expense US$3,500.00
    Again they wanted $3,000 on 31-Oct2007
    We sent on 14-Nov2007 by T/T
    Name: ZHOU JIAN MEI, A/C No.600966020030152.
    BANK OF CHINA ZHENGZHOU WENHUA BRANCH
    His ADDRESS: HENEN SHENG ZHU MA DIAN SHI QUE SHAN XIAN
    They got $3,000 on 16-Nov2007
    Last contact 23-Nov2007. then GUO ZHOU CHEN: said 30%advance will send before 3-Dec2007.
    After 3-Dec2007 they didn’t attending phone.
    Our total Expense $3,500+$3,000+our expense $3,500=US$10,000

    Please help me. My email email@thodukonics.com, QQ 904451263, Skype: thodukonics, MSN: thodukonics

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