I have translated this article from the Southern Metropolis Daily which details how the government went about prosecuting with vigilance three mid-level party cadres who accused the local secretary of “losing the will of the people” after selling land for real estate development when it was was intended to be used for building parks or other forms of “symbolic architecture.” Original in Chinese can be found here.
Three cadres from Jishan, Shanxi punished for reporting questionable activities by local county secretary
Southern Metropolis Daily
After writing an anonymous letter reporting illegal activities, two cadres from Jishan in Shanxi province (山西稷山县) put in jail for slander, another already being sued.
Three section level cadres arranged and wrote out material reporting on the activities of Jishan County Party Secretary, then sent copies to 37 local government branches. After the local Public Security Office determined the identity of the materials authors, the local procurate brought the authors to court on the basis of slander. Currently, two of the authors have already been sentenced and another has been sued. Thus forth the local people have endlessly been talking about the crimes of the three cadres.
37 Copies of Anonymous Material titled “The People Call Into Question Party Secretary Li Runshan” Sent Out
On March of 2006, Shanxi Jishan county People’s Legal Working Committee (人大法工委) Director 杨秦玉 Yang Qinyu while talking with 南回荣 Nan Huirong and 薛志敬 Xue Zhijing at the country party committee’s office brought up the incident regarding some tracts of land that had been recently sold. Originally, the government had decided to build “Symbolic buildings” (标志性建筑) such as parks and statues, but it was suddenly sold to someone to be used for real estate development. The three thought that the government had made unpredictable changes in policy. After mentioning more of the counties problems they concluded that the local party secretary
李润山 Li Runshan had lost the will of the people. The three of them then decided to put these problems down in writing.
Nan Huirong did the writing while Xue Zhijing and Yang Qinyou stood by helping to revise and add additional points. After 10 days time, the letter titled <<The People Call Into Question Li Runshan>> was finished easily. The paper brought forth 4 problems with Li Runshan: “1: First we ask why did Secretary Li Runshan make sudden policy changes? Second, why has all the investment been met with disaster? Third, with such air of importance what kind of work does the secretary do in his presidential suite? Fourth, while your financial resources have swelled why haven’t our salaries moved a bit?”
After every “Question” there were detailed explanations written proving their claims. At the end of the document it was signed by “The Tongue-tied of Jishan”
With concern for their safety, after writing the essay Nan Huirong went to a copy center in the nearby Houma City and made several copies, then he gave it to Yang Qinyu who sealed the envelopes and sent them out from Houma City. Their document was sent to the Party Secretary and Majory of Yuncheng City, the 4 biggest leadership groups in Jishan and all the leadership in every government department, in total there were 37 copies.
Public Security Bureau Chief Personally Conducted the Interrogation with the Party Secretary
Just before dawn on 4/19/2006, Nan Huirong was brought by 6 police officers to the Jishan County Public Security Department’s Criminal Unit for questioning. After daybreak, he was sent to Pinglu County police station for further questioning which was over 100km away. 2:00pm that afternoon, Nan Huirong finally admitted that he had written the letter. Two hours later he was officially detained on criminal charges and sent to the Pinglu county detention center.
It was at Pinglu that Nan Huirong realized things were really serious. “The County PSB vice-director who was in charge of criminal affairs personally led the interrogation, leadership from the city PSB also took part, I was panicked.” Three days later Nan Huirong was brought to Houma City to identify the copy center where he had made duplications and that same night was locked up in the Xinjiang (新绛县) County detection center. It wasn’t until April 27th that he was arrested.
At the same time, Yang Qinyu was also carried away by police to the Pinglu County Qiaotou police substation 平陆县桥头派出所, afterwards he was brought to a hotel on the banks of the yellow river for questioning. Yang’s interrogation was personally led by theJishan County PSB Director who demanded that he confess who else was behind this. That afternoon, Party Secretary Li Runshan came, Yang Qinyu who had shut his mouth and refused to say anything admitted that he had sent the letter in the mail saying, “I realized the problem was really serious.” Afterwards he was arrested and thrown into the Pinglu county detention center.
On June 1st of 2006, Nan Huirong and Yang Qinyu were both brought down to Jishan County’s detention center.
Xue Zhijing not in Jishan County at the time, was shortly issued a warrant for arrest over the internet. Arrested in Taiyuan 太原 on September 3rd, 2006, he currently awaits trial.
Self-Criticism in front of the Cadre Plenary
Set free of their cuffs, the two carried out self-criticism on the stage, afterwards they were handcuffed again and detained
While in custody, someone from the Party Discipline-Inspection Commission came down to the detention center to speak with them. “You guys have made a serious mistake, write a letter of deep self-criticism, this is your last chance.” The two thought that after writing a self-criticism they would just receive a deduction of merit. After three days of writing and editing, starting from July 19th of 2006, their examination was deemed “suitable” to barely pass.
After “passing” the self-examination, County Vice-Secretary Dong Xuguang (董旭光) who simultaneously held the position of Discipline-Inspection Commission secretary personally spoke with the two, telling them that the county had decided to hold a County Wide Cadre Warning Educational Meeting (全县干部警示教育大会) and demanded that the two do a self-criticism on the spot. With emphasis, he said: “I’m giving you an opportunity, you better take it.”
On August 2nd of 2006, Nan Huirong and Yang Qiyu were both handcuffed and driven in a police car to the Party Committee’s headquarters. It was 9am and at Jishan Party Committee building number 6′s convention hall almost 500 people were seated including every cadre at the section level and above and some retired officials. After a impassioned speach by the County Party Secretary, the meeting begun.
Set free of their handcuffs, Nan Hui Rong was put on the stage and he started to read alound his self examination. Afterwards he was again handcuffed and detained at the side, Yang Qinyun followed in similar fashion. At the meeting it was announced that the both of them were to be stripped of their party membership and be dismissed from office.
Crime committed was slander
“Magnanimous” County Secretary asks the court for a favor and reduce their sentence
On August 21st of 2006 Jishan County People’s Court made a judgement and announced that Yang Qinyu and Nan Huirong would serve a one year sentenced reduced for three for the crime of slander.
The court stated: Defendants Yang Qinyu and Nan Huirong along with partner-in-crime Xue Zhijing intentionally fabricated and disseminated false information, this action formed the crime of slander. With poor nature, bad influence, and with concealed means all of the material was circulated widely. Non-citizens and individuals investigated thoroughly and in order to uphold and safeguard the general stability ofJishan County, the case was quickly cracked. This case was carried out using the applicable prosecutorial procedures and was in accordance with the laws and regulations. The court does not accept the claims by the defendants counsel that this cases method of prosecution was clearly in violation of the law.
Secretary Li Runshan expressed that the courts “light” sentence was due to his own magnanimosity. The Secretary explained, whether it was personal or work related, he never had any problems with the three who wrote the letters and in fact he thought things between them were not bad, and doesn’t understand why they would engage in libel. After everything happened, someone suggested to him that he should use this chance to “Severely punish them and rectify the atmosphere around here.” But he he took into consideration the fact that neither of them were young and had been working for a number of years. He sympathized with them as the defendants had older and younger family to take care of so he called upon the courts to do a favor for him and reduce their sentence. If everything was carried out strictly according to the law, at the least they would be imprisoned for 10 or more years. But now not only have they had their sentences reduced by three years, the defendants will still retain a salary from the government.
On April 2nd this year, Xue Zhijing while residing outside of Jishan County, also received an indictment from the local People’s Procurate. No one reported the case so it’s being tried in civil court
On April fourth of this year, With Jishan Political and Legal Committee Secretary taking taking the lead, the PSB, Procurate and the Courts recounted the foundation of the case and how it was handled with a reporter from the Democracy and Legal Times 《民主与法制时报》
PSB Cheif Jia Chongwen (贾崇文) emphasized that when the anonymous letters came out it was at the time of the County “Two Meetings” (县两会) and thus led to the high level attention of the local public security organs. At the beginning it was a secretinvestigation, the authors identify of the letter was determined by their handwriting. Because of seriousness of this case the consequences were severe, moreover no one reported this to the authorities so we were only able to use civil legal steps to prosecute them. Soon afterwards, Vice ProsecutorZhang Xiaoping (检察院张小平副检察长) and Vice-Chief of the courts Gao Yumin 高裕民副院长 both believed that with regards to using the crime of slander to initiate a private suit and carry out the public prosecution there, exists problems with the nature and understanding of the case.
For more reading on citizens reporting ilegal actions by the government see the ESNW post on “Collusion Between Government and Pharmaceutical Company”