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Jul 01

Weng’An riots: The family’s petition

Written by Buxi on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 at 6:13 pm
Filed under:News | Tags:, , ,
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These petitions were scanned in by blogger-journalist Zoula (连接). Much thanks to werew for bringing it to our attention (see previous thread). The first petition is shortly after the girl’s death, and the second petition comes two days later after the family and public security clashes.

(Written on June 23rd)
To the Weng’An (Wengan) Public Security Ministry:

Applicant: Li Xiuhua, Chinese Communist Party Member, Male, 36 years of age, Han, Weng’An resident, father of victim Li Shufen.

My daughter Li Shufen, before death, was a second year (8th grade) student at the local middle school. In order to study more conveniently, she rented an apartment from Liu Jingxue. At 18:00 (6 PM) in the afternoon of June 21nd, she was called away from her apartment by classmate Wang Jiao. On the same day at 23:12 (11:12 PM), Wang Jiao used her cell phone to call the victim’s brother Li Shuyong (a graduate of a local high school) informing him that Li Shufen was playing with her, and would be staying over that night, and definitely wouldn’t be going home.

Shortly after midnight (00:29), Wang Jiao used the same telephone to call Li Shuyong and claimed: “Your sister drowned in the West Gate River, next to the bridge”. Li Shuyong quickly woke up his friend Liu Kailong sleeping next door and drove directly for the bridge. On the way out through the North Gate, they happened to run into a police patrol. Once the situation was explained the patrol went with them to the incident site.

At around 00:36, two unidentified young males were standing on the bridge. Li Shuyong and the others with them asked where Li Shufen and Wang Jiao were; these two replied that Li Shufen was in the river, and Wang Jiao was up there… Liu Kailong immediately leaped into the river, but could not find anything. Wang Jiao came to the scene, and with the two young males there all said that before diving in the river, everyone was driving rice wine at home. At the incident site, they had been drinking beer and eating BBQ. Li Shufen said that because her parents were distant from her, and she can’t get over it, and that she might as well “leave early”, and then jumped into the water. Based on the requests of rescuers Liu Kailong, Yang Jingyou, Yang Daozhi and others, the two police officers on site took away the three suspects Wang Jiao, Cheng Guangquan, Liu Yanchao.

At 3:44 AM of June 22nd, the relatives of the victim and her former neighbors found a way to bring the corpse to the shore, and also reported the crime to 110 and the local police office. After arriving at work on June 22nd,the police replied that the issue had been transferred to the criminal detective branch. At 20:00 (8 PM) on the 22nd, the public security department’s coroner arrived with a flashlight, and performed a rough examination of the victim’s upper body. He orally informed me and others that the conclusion was Li Shufen had drowned to death. Because this applicant and other relatives were sunk in tragedy, we didn’t think critically about various issues, and didn’t propose a full autopsy and an examination of the lower torso.

The applicant and other relatives of the victim are citizens who respect the law, and we can not detain those suspected of causing her death: Wang Jiao, Cheng Guangquan, and Liu Yanchao. Only the country’s public security offices, the prosecutors office have the legal authority and rights to investigate those accused of criminal law. But the public security office in charge of the case has already clearly replied that the actions of these three do not make them suspects and has ended investigation.

This applicant has three clear requests for the public security branch:

1: Separate and re-interrogate the three involved.
2: Perform a thorough examination of Li Shufen’s corpse.
3: Go into deep investigation of all involved parties, search for clues to solving the crime.

Now, the second petition (连接).

Applicant: Li Xiuhua, Male, 36 years of age, male, Weng’an (Wengan) resident.

Reason: Our daughter was murdered, and the applicant requested that the public security break the case. Criminal and police forces then cooperated to persecute the relatives of the victim.

Request: Please, let the higher levels of the party, government, and government organizations quickly solve this case, punish the criminals, eliminate the negative influence and calm public anger.

Events and reason: On June 21st at around 11 PM, the applicant’s daughter was murdered by others and dumped in the water underneath the bridge near West Gate. 20 hours after the case was reported, the public security office’s coroner examined the corpse, and the conclusion was: “Li Shufen drowned to death.” 8 hours before the examination, the suspects provided by the victims’ family were released.

After the examination was completed, the public security ordered and intimidated us into burying the corpse on numerous occasions. The applicant refuses to accept the public security’s irresponsible behavior in not investigating a murder case, and on the 23rd filed a petition calling on the public security office to detain and investigate the suspects, and calling on an examination, and launching a full investigation.

The same day after receiving that petition, the criminal investigation team at the public security office agreed to help arbitrate private/civil negotiation, but orally told me that they can not prosecute the case criminally. In the afternoon of June 24th, the public security ministry formally issued a paper document specifying it would not be establishing a criminal case to investigate the incident, and gave a limit of 5 PM for burial of the body.

The applicant did not receive the notice. It was probably 7 PM on the same evening that they informed to go to the public security ministry, and the county party secretary, the head of the public security ministry, and the leadership of local township/village all participated. The police agreed to another investigation of the corpse, but the coroner refused.

The morning of June 25th, the applicant was forced to seek a coroner from Duxi. The detectives at the public security ministry informed all of those involved in retrieving the corpse to come back to the ministry for further questioning and investigation. The person who personally pulled Li Shufen’s corpse back on land Li Xiushi (the victim’s uncle, middle-school teacher) was invited at 9:28 AM to ride back to the ministry in a police car. While being questioned by the police, Li Xiuzhong was cruelly injured by use of baton and kicking. Later, the police car took him to the education ministry for “thought work”. Li Xiuzhong’s wife (Lan Wuping) and sister (Li Xiuju) were informed Li Xiuzhong had been assaulted and was being held by the police. They went forth to investigate, but not only did they not see their relative, but were also handcuffed and thrown in prison.

In the afternoon at 5:30, the applicant finally returned from Duxi. The head detective informed me by phone to return to the ministry to do the paperwork for a second examination of the corpse. I replied: you arrested the three people from my family who went to the police department, I’m too afraid to come. After about half an hour, the public security ministry released Li Xiuzhong and the others. But as soon as Li Xiuzhong left the education ministry, he was attacked by several unidentified young men. They chased him for 500 meters, where he lay in a pool of blood. Those involved also threatened to attack the petitioner’s son. Anonymous observers called 110 and the victim was taken to the hospital for critical treatment. Right now, he is in the 51st bed of the surgical ward, bleeding from all orifices and in a daze, in critical condition.

In summary, the applicants daughter was drowned by others. Public security refused to investigate and solve the case, and then the police/crime organized together to persecute the family and the relatives. The bloody result of their collaboration is obvious and backed by evidence. The officials are prejudice against me because we know no one in power. The average public completely sympathize with the sad state of our family, and have all lent their signatures to our petition, and are donating money for a rescue. The people are united in calling for clear justice!


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32 Responses to “Weng’An riots: The family’s petition”

  1. Buxi Says:

    I believe most officials in Weng’an and Guizhou aren’t involved in this (not to mention of the government in Beijing). But it’s a sad fact that as the government has cracked down on police abuse (including video-taped interrogations, etc), some criminals wearing police uniforms have simply found a way around this. If you insult a police officer, some of his “friends” could very well track you down.

    What’s the solution? An open transparent media combined with an effective legal system will definitely help. Crucify the police officers and petty criminals behind this and a thousand other similar cases.

    I also hope the reformers in the Party understand one thing: they can stand with the people, or they can stand with the criminals. If they’re wise, the next round of reforms will focus on allowing those outside of government effectively supervise and turn in these criminals.

    At the same time, absolutely, two wrongs don’t make a right. Those who attacked office buildings must face legal consequences for what they did.

  2. Buxi Says:

    Questions and answers from the news conference last night:

    http://www.mitbbs.com/article_t/ChinaNews/31637827.html

    Xinhua reporter first asked whether it’s true that Li Shufen was raped and killed before being thrown in the river?

    Duxi coroner (this is what the father was arranging on the 25th)) Wang Daixing replied, saying that he personally conducted the autopsy, and concluded that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to drowning. There were no physical indication of sexual relations before death, and analysis of material removed from the vagina showed no indication of sperm.

    Guizhou TV reporter asked whether it’s true the relatives of the victim were beaten or arrested, the vice-head of the county public security ministry Zhou Guoxiang replied that this was a rumor. It’s true that the uncle Li Xiuzhong was beaten, and a special group had been setup to investigate that attack.

  3. S.K. Cheung Says:

    You would think an unexplained death would automatically trigger a full police investigation, and an autopsy. Bizarre to me that the family has to petition for such.

    Buxi, you’ve commented before about the Chinese legal system ie some judges aren’t lawyers etc. So in China, can it be assumed that coroners (or at least the people doing autopsies) are doctors? Are there some standards for medical training, such that if a coroner says there’s no evidence of rape, and death was by drowning, that one can believe that?

  4. FOARP Says:

    @SK Cheung – Finding lawyers who are lawyers and doctors who are doctors in China is harder than you might think.

  5. heiheianan Says:

    They cannot prosecute the village members who were involved in the rioting, the idea that they should is absurd. The birth and creation of an atmosphere of lawlessness caused this situation, and so a belated attempt to apply the rule of law can reverse the process? Chalk it up to public anger and let it be; riots are diets for the system.

    People who read the myriad online Chinese “blogs” and “news” should be more skeptical – who posts this information, and how accurate is the translation? What are their motives? Young people are involved in studying, older people have the demands of family and work. Then there are the demands of life and seeking pleasure. Why suddenly has there been an explosion in people with time enough to (with no seeming monetary gain) act as a third and fourth filter for news?

    I have some questions about this blog in general. If you are “blogging for China”, does that mean that you have some inherent bias to show? How much are you blogging for China, maybe 70% for China, 30% against? Somedays it’s an 80/20 split if you are feeling good? Do you intend to say that everyone else is blogging against China? What do you say about the people who are neutral, are they “blogging for Switzerland”?

    If I read a blog that said “blogging for America”, I would say ” who is this presumptuous person, who is this flag waver?” How can you “blog for” a country? Was there an election and most Chinese people voted for you to represent China? Do you have 56 posters to represent the various ethnicities, or are you speaking for them too? You seem to believe in the “one China” rule, yet you talk about Tibetans as if they weren’t Chinese, so which is it? Just some thoughts for the young men who speak for the nation.

    Some may reply “oh, its just a title, don’t be such a prat!” I say that this new media and it’s practitioners are behind a curtain and have none of the transparency of the old, yes its fresh and exciting but who are Buxi, et. al?

    Me, I’m just buying soy sauce.

  6. FOARP Says:

    @Heiheianan – Here you go . . . .

    [@Admin – is it possible to post pictures or is that disabled?]

  7. Theo Says:

    Several lessons to learn from this episode (that we already knew):

    1. People don’t trust the police or court system to deal with crime and bring those responsible to justice.
    2. Without a trustworthy media, people believe and act on rumours.
    3. There is a deep feeling of injustice and rage among some people, enough to trigger violence.

    The ordinary Chinese are in the same situation as American blacks. They know the police and authorities are against them, the media won’t report their problems and there are pent up feelings of resentment that can find an outlet in violence.

  8. admin Says:

    @FOARP

    Post pictures is not allowed for now to prevent abuse and to keep a clean layout for the comment area. If you have pictures that you’d like to be hosted on this site, please send me an email.

    @Heiheianan

    Thank you for your comment. To answer your questions, I’d suggest you to start with our About page , which is still undergoing revisions. You may also want to check out “Who is Tang Buxi” thread .

    As to the financial aspect of this site, I pay for all the expenses out of my pocket, which is almost empty. However, not everything in this world follows the mighty rules of economics. As a person who participated in the 89 student movement, I still can’t fathom the economic incentives for the students to fast. Finally, sorry to disappoint you, we have no plan to sell soy sauce online, despite we are getting over 3,000 page views a day. If you are really interested to know about me, send me an email and introduce yourself, I will tell you more about myself, probably more than you want to know.

  9. JD Says:

    Heiheianan raises a very interesting point about bias. While I personally am not concerned about “blogging for China” I do wonder what the “for China” is supposed to mean. Personally, I don’t think it’s bad in so far as it suggests a mild nationalism. Moderate national pride isn’t inherently bad and can have many positive effects.

    Of course, nationalism is certainly not a positive force for those in the CCP who see control at all costs as the ultimate objective. National pride may undermine such an extreme objective as it leads to uncomfortable questions such as “why doesn’t China manage its environment better”, “why is corruption endemic”, “why do those in position of power not fulfill their responsibilities”, or “why can’t Chinese citizens have a say in government affairs”. Nationalism can help stimulate positive solution for such issues which the current machinery of government has systematically failed to address.

    A radical nationalism is of course problematic. The railings against the “west”, “western media” and “anti-China” messages that have been common this year suggest a far virulent nationalism more akin to fascism. A virulent nationalism may provide a temporary benefit to the CCP, given the current climate of increasing instability, if it can polarize public opinion into “China” vs “them” to provide a facade of legitimacy. This is of course a high risk approach as there is simply to much diversity and too many challenges in China to use such a simplistic message as an effective lever of political control.

    Time will tell where it all leads, but it certainly looks like 2008 will be a watershed year for governance in China.

  10. Wahaha Says:

    To the following comment :

    “Of course, nationalism is certainly not a positive force for those in the CCP who see control at all costs as the ultimate objective. National pride may undermine such an extreme objective as it leads to uncomfortable questions such as “why doesn’t China manage its environment better”, “why is corruption endemic”, “why do those in position of power not fulfill their responsibilities”, or “why can’t Chinese citizens have a say in government affairs”. Nationalism can help stimulate positive solution for such issues which the current machinery of government has systematically failed to address”

    Answer :

    You are asking why a kid fails to get 90 in math test and ignore the fact that 2 semesters ago, he failed the test.

  11. Buxi Says:

    @heiheianan,

    On the question of the blog… I think our admin has given a great answer. As for myself, I’ll be the first to admit that my productivity at my real job has suffered greatly over the last month… sooner or later I’ll have to learn to pace myself.

    But really, how long does it really take to write a few articles? How many Americans find the time to blog just as often about the issues that concern them? Where do they find the time?

    They cannot prosecute the village members who were involved in the rioting, the idea that they should is absurd. The birth and creation of an atmosphere of lawlessness caused this situation, and so a belated attempt to apply the rule of law can reverse the process? Chalk it up to public anger and let it be; riots are diets for the system.

    That’s completely absurd. Not prosecuting the rioters would be perpetuating the “atmosphere of lawlessness”; two wrongs do not make a right, an eye for an eye makes the world go blind, etc, etc. China has a long history of conflict between legalism and Confucianism, and going extreme in either direction is not acceptable… Weng’an should not, can not be ruled by a mob’s sense of morality.

    China’s legal system will be built and redefined by tackling difficult questions like this. The girl’s death must be investigated, the uncle’s beating must be investigated, and those involved in burning police cars (do I really need to say it?) must be investigated.

  12. JD Says:

    Actually Wahaha, I’m just suggesting that there is more than one opinion on what’s the best approach and that growing national pride could prompt such questions.

    In any event, in areas such as corruption, the environment, etc, the kid did a lot better in the past so it’s actually the prevailing trend which is the big worry. It also looks like the economy, the last poster-child of success, is about to be added to the list of worries.

  13. Buxi Says:

    There’s a new article from the Guizhou Daily, in which the uncle lying in the hospital is interviewed. He actually said at one point “trust in the party, trust in the government” which led many people to roll their eyes in exasperation.

    But he did give us a few more details.

    – he described going to the police department and marching into an officer’s office,
    – the officer rudely said “what do you want?”,
    – he gave an equally rude answer along the lines of “I’m just here to play”,
    – officer pushed him out of the office, pushing/shoving/cursing follow, finally he’s taken to the education ministry.

    Apparently, the officer he had a clash with has been suspended without pay for 15 days. The injuries suffered by the uncle, according to the hospital, included a slight concussion and some bruises/scratches. It looks likely the girl’s immediate family is being treated kindly. The uncle mentions being visited by various government leaders, expressing their concern, over the last week.

    I’m optimistic that those involved in attacking the uncle will be found. This is a small place, I’m sure many people know exactly who was involved. If it was anyone linked to public security, they should make that clear. But I think it’s just as likely it was family members/friends of the boys accused of rape…

  14. Buxi Says:

    @S.K.Cheung,

    You would think an unexplained death would automatically trigger a full police investigation, and an autopsy. Bizarre to me that the family has to petition for such.

    It’s not as if the police simply ignored what happened.

    Keep in mind the police had 3 eyewitnesses, friends of the victim, who all claimed she had been drinking and depressed, and then jumped off the bridge. All 3 were detained for about 12 hours, from the middle of the night until the middle of the next day. The coroner roughly examined the body and saw no signs of physical trauma/struggle, and numerous signs that she drowned. There is a dispute whether the family refused an autopsy, or whether they didn’t explicitly request one… but basically, one was available if the family wanted it.

    The skill level of the coroner in the Weng’an county town is probably very poor. The family was able to get a coroner from a nearby city to conduct an examination, who confirmed the results. Now, a team of coroners from the province will be involved.

    On the basis of these facts, the family wanted the police department to hold and the 3 suspects indefinitely, and launch a criminal investigation along with full interrogation. From my knowledge of how these things would run in the West… I don’t think the police would agree to doing that either, without further evidence of a crime.

  15. Buxi Says:

    @JD,

    I find the dissection of Chinese nationalism a tad patronizing, as others might if we were to dive into a similar analysis of “extreme” versus “mild” Western liberalism.

    I think we should just all agree that extremist anything, in which facts and logic are ignored in favor of rhetoric, is an undesirable thing.

  16. JD Says:

    Sorry Buxi but are you suggesting that there have been no tendencies towards extremism? Of course it’s not desirable but to suggest it’s non-existent is an interesting perspective. Go ahead with your analysis of extreme and mild western liberalism if that so interests you, I don’t see the problem.

  17. Buxi Says:

    The third examination (by provincial authorities) is now complete. The same conclusion as before. The family + a villager representative watched the examination, and signed off on the autopsy report. The body is being buried.

    Still most online are hugely suspicious, and in my opinion, unreasonably so. But this is unfortunately the state of modern China after two decades of government control over discussion and media. That really needs to change; it’s time for Beijing to realize that its greatest enemy today isn’t “foreign media”, but suspicion domestically. This story should be fully investigated by any newspaper that wants to send a journalist.

  18. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – You might find the idea of foreigners examining Chinese nationalism (whatever that is) somewhat patronising, but it is 100% important to understand it if one is to understand modern China (something I cannot claim with any great confidence to do).

    As for the facts of the case, this is for the authorities to decide. I doubt that even a relatively poor coroner could miss the signs of a violent rape and death, so I am inclined to believe the initial verdict – although releasing three verdicts in as many days does smack of panic.

  19. Buxi Says:

    @FOARP,

    On the three verdicts… the first one was done within 24 hours of the death; the second was done shortly after the 25th on the father’s request; the third was just conducted after the riots. I don’t think it’s panic, but it’s a clear sign of the total lack of credibility the “system” has in the eyes of many.

    Many are still insisting that even the provincial investigation team isn’t credible, and are insisting on a national investigation. (And even after that, I suspect some will insist the United Nations should get involved.)

  20. MutantJedi Says:

    Buxi,
    That was my gut feeling as the story broke – “a clear sign of the total lack of credibility the ‘system’ has in the eyes of many.” I don’t want to diminish the loss of a young life but this is a story about trust. Thus the question isn’t so much as to what it will take to get to the truth but what it will take to rebuild trust. If that takes a national investigation then that’s what the government needs to do. And when doing so, both the government and the people need to recognize that its just another leg in the journey.

    … Did I miss something or did the Western media largely ignored this story? Yes, it was picked up by a few media outlets that are interested in China but if I wasn’t reading Xinhua or this blog, I would have completely missed it. As a side note, searching news.google.com shows excellent positioning for Fool’s Mountain. 🙂
    http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=&q=Weng%27An&btnG=Search+News

  21. Buxi Says:

    @MutantJedi,

    No, you didn’t miss anything… the Western media seems to be mostly bypassing this story. They’re more focused on stories on Hu Jia, athletes forced to compete in the Olympics, and the Dalai Lama.

    This is a point I used to talk about too (perhaps before this blog was created)… the gap in perception between West/China is truly dramatic. When the West criticizes China, it’s on the topics the Chinese either don’t care about or disagree strongly on.

    And yet when many Chinese believe China *deserves* criticism (like issues involving corruption), the West tends to slip on past without much interest.

  22. JD Says:

    Buxi, corruption is a difficult issue. If more people understood that it’s not about bad people doing bad things but a systemic flaw in China’s governance system then there would be more interest.

    Unfortunately, it is very complex and anti-corruption efforts are tainted by political agendas which makes them difficult to assess and champion. Liberalizing the Chinese media (and disbanding Xinhua) would go a long way towards providing an immediate boost in transparency and help place constraints on corrupt activities. It would help China assess and combat corruption on its own terms.

    By the way, “the West” is a very imprecise term. I suggest you more clearly state what you are referring to instead of using such a generic label. It would help to add precision to your points and stimulate thoughtful discussion.

  23. Wahaha Says:

    To JD,

    About your comment,

    “If more people understood that it’s not about bad people doing bad things but a systemic flaw in China’s governance system then there would be more interest.”

    My question,

    Then why is corruption so widespread in India ? why was corruption so widespread in Russia during Yeltsin’s time ? Why is corruption widespread in Phillipines ?

  24. BMY Says:

    @heiheianan, the soy sauce boy

    the contributors Buxi and Admin have said enough but I still want to say something about your questions

    As a long time reader of the blog, I found your questions are bit odd.

    “Do you intend to say that everyone else is blogging against China? ”

    If someone says he is fighting for America, do you think he intends to say everyone else is against America?

    “Was there an election and most Chinese people voted for you to represent China? ”

    I don’t see the name with “for China” same as “represent for China, or the whole Chinese people” . I am still learning my English as you can see my broken words. Maybe I am wrong.

    “Why suddenly has there been an explosion in people with time enough to (with no seeming monetary gain) act as a third and fourth filter for news?”

    the sudden explosion from my personal experience it was related to recent events this year. I never read any blogs English or Chinese before this April. Then I felt I need make some comments of what i think after sudden explosions happened. Regarding “people with time enough to” , you know there are millions of bloggers in the world who have other full time professions. You got to make a time. As a regular reader, I read the blog on my lunch time and after I put kids in bed. I do also sacrifice my productivities by reading hope my boss won’t find out.I know there are many people much more productive and more intelligent than me who find time to blogging. millions are there.

    ” act as third and fourth filter for news”
    I only can see the guys grab some news and talk/debate here. Aren’t millions of other bloggers doing the same thing? Most of people(Chinese or not) on this blog read both English and Chinese and all can cross check the news here. Don’t we do that to any news?

    “Just some thoughts for the young men …”
    quite few on this blog are around 40 or more. Admin was in Tiananmen in 1989 and I was there too as a uni student. people are always young men if we compare the 80 years old men.

    “I say that this new media and it’s practitioners are behind a curtain ..”
    Aren’t we all behind a curtain and faceless here including yourself?

    I was wandering if Buxi and Admin the same person and were CCP agent. And FOARP might be a MI5 agent or you might be a CIA agent. But most likely you all are not. But I don’t care who who you are as long as people are polite and making intelligent debates here I like to read then I’ll continuing my reading on this blog.

    I am living in a different continent with where Buxi is or where China is if you beleive me.

  25. BMY Says:

    sorry, I mean

    ” I am living in a different continent than where Buxi is or where China is if you beleive me. ”
    you see my broken english .

    我脸皮厚。I’ll still write in broken English to debate with the MI5 agent -FOARP. 🙂

    My daughters would teach me English when they grow up and I’ll teach them Chinese as a exchange offer.

  26. JD Says:

    Wahaha, I’m not at all suggesting corruption is limited to China. My argument is that it is not individuals who are bad or untrustworthy, but that certain conditions facilitate systemic corruption. Lack of transparency (through, say, media control and misinformation) and conflicting interests (such as holding an influential government post and an influential commercial position) are two examples which may facilitate corruption.

    China can invest in anti-corruption efforts all it wants, but as long as it targets wrongdoers instead of transparency and rules-based decisions it will miss the underlying cause and leave the door wide open for political abuse. Treating the symptoms isn’t the way to limit corruption. Same thing goes for all countries – it’s a constant battle where money and discretion is involved.

  27. MutantJedi Says:

    Pen names (or whatever “MutantJedi” is) on the net are not much of a curtain, especially if you grow used to using it. And late 30’s and 40+ is what I peg the age group is here by the general maturity of the conversation. (My teenage son tries to coach me when I write my comments – “Just write ‘Das Wrong!’ Dad :)”) Myself, I’m rapidly approaching that 50+ group.

    What is wrong, heiheianan, with taking the events in a country that we must all care about and discussing them? My understanding of China has greatly benefited from this forum.

  28. Buxi Says:

    @JD,

    My argument is that it is not individuals who are bad or untrustworthy, but that certain conditions facilitate systemic corruption.

    Indeed, I think many Chinese would agree with that. But the real meaningful question here is what these “certain conditions” are, and more importantly, what policy solutions are available to combat them.

    Many, both inside and outside of China, would turn this around and say “it’s because China is a one-party state with a closed media”. But if you take a closer look around the world, you’ll find this theory is impossible to substantiate. Just about every developing nation on this planet is inundated with corruption, democracy with open media or not.

    Why are perceived levels of corruption in India as high (and higher in previous years) as it is in China, even with its wide-open democracy and media system? India even has the benefit of a colonial European legal tradition. What about Mexico, Latin America, and various other countries throughout Africa and southeast Asia?

    The one interesting observation to be made here… shortly after the incident in Guizhou, an angry man attacked a Shanghai police department, stabbing five police officers to death. Many in China immediately drew a link between the two, suggesting that the Shanghai police were probably corrupt and deserved it… but in subsequent days, even on rightist forums like Tianya, many Shanghai-residents came forward to defend their city and their police officers as professional and courteous, and largely *not* corrupt.

    Shanghai and Guizhou are both run under the same one-party state with the same censored media. Why are the people in one area inclined to believe their police are clean and courteous, while the other believe that their police are corrupt and in league with criminals?

    If you want to make a point, then you have to find a way to integrate these other facts into the sotry.

  29. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Buxi #14:
    as has been said already, it boils down to the people’s trust, not just of government or the “authorities”, but of authority figures in general, and also of the processes and methods they use. In Canada, if a coroner after examining the body appropriately, says the rape kit is negative, and death was by drowning, end of question. So what surprises me is that what the local coroner said was perceived not to be good enough. Now they’re asking for national authorities. If someone dies in Canada, no one asks for the surgeon-general to get involved.
    I agree from what’s been said that there’s not enough to warrant a criminal investigation. However, my next question is did she jump, or was she pushed. Were there motives? Was she pregnant (gasp!)? So hopefully the investigation is ongoing.

  30. JD Says:

    Buxi, I highlighted transparency and the establishment of rules-based decisions as two approaches that help combat corruption. Democracy is of course helpful – a public “watchdog function” to assess policies and leaders seems to be obviously positive – but there are numerous factors at play.

    So yes, I agree that corruption is a very challenging and complex problem. Just because it is widespread doesn’t mean it should be accepted. Your approach of taking the worst of the world to defend a very poor (and worsening) situation in China doesn’t seems to suggest an odd satisfaction with the status quo.

  31. Buxi Says:

    So yes, I agree that corruption is a very challenging and complex problem. Just because it is widespread doesn’t mean it should be accepted. Your approach of taking the worst of the world to defend a very poor (and worsening) situation in China doesn’t seems to suggest an odd satisfaction with the status quo.

    I feel like we’re having the same discussion on three different threads.

    I will just briefly say here that I’m not taking “the worst of the world”; I’m taking an average sample of all countries similar to China’s current status. You seem to have either an over-inflated sense of China’s current status, or an inadequate understanding of other third world nations. India, Mongolia, Brazil, Mexico are not “the worst”; they’re perfectly typical for that level of economic achievement.

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