CHINA: Always a Villain, Never the Hero

Chinese authorities once praised him; now he’s being condemned. Back in November, Zhu Ruifeng, a blogger from Beijing, released image stills of a tape exposing a sex scandal featuring Chongqing district party chief Lei Zhengfu.

At first, China Daily newspaper received independent bloggers who used the Internet as a “tool against abusive officials” with open arms. Zhu’s pictures of Lei having intercourse with a teenage mistress went viral on Chinese social media sites and compelled authorities to dismiss the Chongqing official within days. Zhu even said that the Beijing police had offered to guard him from any possible threats that may arrive due to his controversial exposure.

However, on January 28th, Chinese police called in and interrogated Zhu for six hours at a Beijing police station. Zhu stated that they wanted him to relinquish the videos and expose the identity of the Chongqing official who gave them to him. Refusing to uncover his source, Zhu wrote on his blog that he “would rather go to prison than commit such an act.”

Reports came in on January 31st that the authorities had recognized and dismissed ten more officials who appeared in sex tapes connected to the Lei Zhengfu affair. In fact, the firings exposed unlawful conduct by other local party leaders and managers of state-owned enterprises.

The state media has retaliated by stating that the eleven Chongqing officials were “entrapped by a construction company which hired women to seduce the men and secretly record the encounters.” Reports said the developer used the tapes for “a criminal extortion racket that pressured the officials into granting construction contracts.”

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