November 20, 2009

Wuxi Policeman Fired for Being a "Snitch"

I was reminded of this piece of news after reading on CBS:
"I strongly disagree with what Obama said about the Internet firewall," said Tao Weishuo, a 24-year old postgraduate student from Fudan University. "I think all Chinese people have Internet freedom -- we can speak out freely on the Internet about current social affairs." He said the question to him came from a Web site outside China.

Dated: November 4, 2009

网友曝派出所吃空饷被拘 一民警被认消息源遭辞


Policemen Yu shows to the reporter the Termination of Employment letter

How it began

On July 6th, a thread in ER Quan forum (二泉论坛) exposed possible corruption at Wuxi City's Dongbeitang police station (无锡市东北塘派出所). Specifically, the thread incriminated both the Director and counselor who allegedly populated payroll with fake names and illegally obtained a large number of paychecks.

ER Quan, a site serving Wuxi(无锡市), Jiangsu , calls itself the most influential forum in the city. Some say this forum is also heavily monitored by local law enforcement agencies.

People who had read the thread told the media that it did not attract much viewership before a hasty deletion by moderators. When the reporter tried to search it on November 3rd, he could only find a brief record on Google; there were no accompanying Cache snapshots.

Despite of its early demise, the thread attracted enough attention from the police. The Wuxi Xishan District received orders from its superiors to investigate this incident.

By using clues such as IP location, police quickly found and arrested the person responsible. The man's name is Yang Zhao (赵阳), and he works in Jinteng Transportation Company (无锡市万达停车场金腾运输公司). Because Zhao could not produce evidence to prove conclusively that "financial problems existed at Dongbeitang police station,” he was charged with "malicious defamation" and was detained in prison for 5 days.

During the process of questioning, police discovered that Zhao had communicated with an officer regarding the thread. This policeman was determined to be Gang Yu (郁刚), a member of the 8th branch of the Xishan District police department (无锡市公安局锡山分局八士派出所).

Auxiliary policeman confirms the story

Dongbeitang Township is located in the northeast region of Wuxi. Its residents are mostly people from places outside of the city. To effectively maintain social order, Dongbeitang police station has created many auxiliary openings in addition to its traditional positions. Some of these auxiliary openings include "Office of Public Order Defense Team" (联防办) and "Office for Management of Non-local residents" (外管办). Their work pay is drawn from the local treasury, which allocates money for salary once the police station submits an application. According to insiders, the police station routinely inflates the employee numbers to obtain more than the entitled payment.

An auxiliary policeman who wished to remain anonymous confirmed accusations of shady doings. He informed the reporter: "Even though there are only 14 people in our office, the number on the roster exceeds 70." Because those salary applications require signatures, "Our superiors frequently demand that we forge the signatures, each of us responsible for many forgeries. We rarely recognize the names we have to sign."

The policeman claimed that false reporting has been going on for many years. "This year's are fake too. In March, there were 76 names applying for work compensation. In April, May, and June there were 45." But the total number of people who actually worked was always 14.

A separate corroboration came from an official member of the police force. "The boss would ask them [auxiliary workforce] to sign the forms; I personally witnessed this several times. I guess this is what you would call an 'open secret.' Everybody knows about it too."

The Dongbeitang residents complained about the falsified roster in May and June. As a result, the police station had to return hundreds of thousands of Chinese yuan to the local treasury.

The open secret

The police asserted that during questioning, Yang Zhao admitted to being under policeman Gang Yu's instructions.

"Why would I do that?" Gang Yu denied with some heat. But he did talk with Zhao before the thread was published on web.

Zhao was in fact under orders from his boss Gucai Lu (吕古财), manager of Jinteng Transportation Company. Lu had previous grudges against the Dongbeitang police and after catching wind of the incriminating rumors, asked Gang Yu to confirm them. Policeman Yu formerly worked in Dongbeitang.

Gang Yu said that he stopped paying attentions to affairs of the town after his 2008 transfer to 8th Branch of Xishan District. "But I know what the bosses are doing. A lot of people there know."

When Zhao revealed his plans for exposing the corruption, Yu did not seek to stop him. "I acquiesced, and besides, I couldn't prevent him from going public with it. But I never ordered him to do such a thing," Yu was emphatic, "I am a policeman myself. If I wanted to become directly involved, I wouldn't have chosen a method this stupid."

After Zhao's arrest, his boss Lu unsuccessfully attempted go in hiding. Lu was captured and thrown into jail for 3 days.

While in prison, Lu wrote a "letter of repentance". He later admitted to framing policeman Yu under orders from unspecified sources. Once he did as asked, the police station released him.

On July 17th, Yu was put on a two-month leave for supposedly masterminding the false allegations. Yu refused to apologize, insisting that he never told anybody to write any article online. The most he did was to read the thread and "slightly revise it." Besides, falsifying payroll has long been an open secret.

On August 26, Wuxi police terminated Yu's employment for "improper and illicit behavior".
Director of Dongbeitang division: the accusations are unfounded

On October 8th, Wuxi police reiterated its decision to fire Policeman Yu, citing: As a member of police squad whose responsibility is to be eliminate illegal activities, Yu has committed an egregious error of ordering untrue and defaming content to be posted on the World Wide Web. Both the original writer and email exchanges confirmed his unacceptable behavior.

But was the information disseminated by Zhao false? Some police in Dongbeitang believe otherwise. "We don't know why our bosses want to misrepresent the payroll. We just know they do it," an unnamed police stated.

When our reporter approached the accused Director Teng (滕) with this story, Teng declared that "Somebody has been inventing unfounded rumors. I have never done anything like this."

Of the many respondents that the Nddaily journalist interviewed in the investigative process, few were able to produce any paper evidence, though most admit to having observed the falsification process. The journalist was eventually able to meet an insider who kept records of such things "just in case" and was subsequently supplied with a falsified payroll for the auxiliary police force.

The September 2008 payroll that has been verified to contain around 70 false names

As the photo shows, in the payroll dated from 2008, there are only 14 real employees. The 70 other names who received a monthly salary of 1200 yuan were invented. The total illegal pay was almost 100,000 yuan in September. The reporter visited a number of the 70 people listed on the payroll. Their replies were the same: they never worked for the police station, never were an auxiliary police; the signatures on the application form were not their own.

"The police should verify the truthfulness of that thread," Yu said, "Instead, the first thing they did was to punish the informers."

The Wuxi police department stand by its claim is that the thread was a big hoax, containing basically rootless slander.

Policeman defends his rights

After serving 25 years on the police squad, Yu finds the discharge hard to accept. Reading about the Caoxian Case [in which a Shandong man was able to expose corruption on the internet and receive reparations] led Yu to contact the lawyer who defended that Shandong man.

Some discussion with the lawyer led Yu to conclude that his punishment should have been at most a reprimand and re-education [but he was discharged instead]. Yu believed that the exposure had angered some superiors.

On September 9, Yu appealed to be reinstated, maintaining he had done nothing wrong. On October 8, Wuxin police repeated their previous decision and reminded Yu that he can take the appeal to the Department of Governmental Personnel or other appropriate authorities.

Yu submitted his appeal to the police department of Jiangsu Province and is currently awaiting the outcome.


None, except a statement from Wuxin police restating that Gang Yu has violated the law, the corruption rumors are false, and that Yu ordered Gang Zhao to write malicious information online.


Related Post(s)
Comparison Between Chinese and Western Blogs
Inside the Great Firewall: Censorship 2009

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