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China: Police Pressure Whistleblower to Expose Source

The Chongqing police are pressuring Zhu Ruifeng, the whistleblower of the sex tapes scandal, to surrender the original tapes of the 7 videos which implicate eleven government officials. The police say they need the originals to pursue an independent blackmail investigation related to the tapes; but Zhu has revealed [zh] that some of the videos were handed to him by an anonymous whistleblower within the Chongqing police bureau. He believes the purpose of the current “investigation” is to dig that source out.

Zhu Ruifeng reported on the unexpected visit of the Chongqing police to his apartment in Sina Weibo on January 27, 2013. Since some of Zhu's micro-blog entires have been deleted, below is a copy of Zhu's micro-blogs on kdnet [zh]:

Zhu Ruifeng's profile picture at Sina Weibo.

Zhu Ruifeng's profile picture at Sina Weibo.

【时间线:2013.1.27 18:56】我现在准备到德胜门外派出所去,辖区孙鑫警官正在敲门要带我走。请网友关注!

[Timeline: 2013.1.27 18:56] I am going to the police station at Deshengmen. The district officer Sun Xin is knocking at my door and wants to take me with him. Please pay attention!

【时间线:19:01】我还在屋里,5位警察在门口还没走,我说,我自己去辖区派出所,你们不能在门口堵着。你们肯定是重庆警方的,我愿意做雷政富们的大牢,我早已做好了一切准备。我是北京市民,你们让德外派出所警长赵洋联系我,我会立即跟你们走。否则,敲烂门我也不会开,请网友转发!

[Timeline: 19:10] I am still in my apartment. 5 police officers are still standing outside my door. I said I would go to the police station by myself. [I told them] You can't block my door like that. You are definitely Chongqing police. I am willing to be jailed for exposing Lei Zhengfu and I am well prepared for that. I am a Beijing citizen, ask the police chief Zhao Yang from Deshengmen station to contact me and I will go with you. Or else I won't open my door no matter how hard you knock at it. Please retweet this.

【时间线:21:14】刚才在我与警方对峙很长时间,我告诉他们,夜黑,明天白天处理。我告诉他们,明天上午9点半我会带上我的律师去德外派出所,最后他们同意,但我家门口还是有人,他们布置了暗哨。诸位腾讯网友,感谢你们的支持,明天如果直接被重庆警方带走,希望大家继续声援,请求保护爆料人人身安全。

[Timeline: 21:14] I confronted the police after a long time. I told them: Now it is dark and let's handle this in the day time. I told them that I would bring my lawyer with me to Deshengmen tomorrow morning at 9:30. Finally they agreed but they still left someone outside my door. Thank you all my micro-blogging friends for support. If I am taken away by the Chongqing police tomorrow, I wish you will continue giving me support and please protect all whistleblowers.

On the next day, he issued a public statement [zh], appointing a number of public opinion leaders as his contacts, spokespersons and legal representatives. At the end of his statement, he stresses:

如果我被重庆市警察抓捕失去人身自由,我将行使缄默权零口供来抗议重庆市警方的非法行为,如果有询问笔录和签名,那一定是在重庆市警察刑讯逼供情况下做的。我失去人身自由后,任何单位和个人及我的家属所作出更换律师或官方指定律师的决定无效,我本人就是写血书要求换律师也是无效的,也更不可能拒绝请律师的情况出现。

Once I am arrested by the Chongqing police and lose my personal freedom, I will keep silent to protest against the illegal behavior of the Chongqing police. Any signature made in the police station would have been signed unwillingly because of police torture. Once I lose my freedom, any decision made by my family, or even by myself written in blood to change my legal representative will be invalid. I will never refuse legal representation.

Running a website called “People Supervision Online” [zh], Zhu is among the few daring journalists who takes on corruption reporting head-on. The sex video tape scandal that he released in November 2012 has already brought down 10 corrupt officials in Chongqing. However, Zhu claimed that there were more high-ranking government officials exposed in the tapes that he possessed.

10 Chongqing government officials have been sacked for involving in sex scandals. Photo from jdway.com. Non-commercial use.

10 Chongqing government officials have been sacked for involving in sex scandals. Photo from jdway.com. Non-commercial use.

He was interviewed online by the Sohu micro-bloggers on 29 January, in which he exposed some details of his 3-hour-long police interview:

當時到我家的他們是沒有任何合法手續,我一點也不懼怕他們。在此之前,我監督38位廳級以上的幹部,對於他們的威嚇,我已經習以為常了。他們進入我的家門口(軍事管理區),重慶警方沒有通過中國人民解放軍某部,已經遭到了軍方師級首長的憤怒。首長說,我們人民解放軍是保衞國家的,我們連我們的幹部都保護不了,還算什麼軍隊。

When they were standing outside my apartment, I was not afraid. In the past, I had the experience of monitoring 38 high ranking government officials and got used to their intimidation. This time they came to my apartment (which is located in a military controlled area), the Chongqing police did not get permission from the related department in the liberation army (PLA).  A chief of the PLA clan got angry and said: the PLA is to protect the country, if we cannot protect our own officials, can we still be called the army?

我不同意他們的有些說法。他們的真正目的,是要挖出我的新聞錢人,提取相關證據是想利用既是手段來獲取我新聞線人的真實信息。重慶警方想讓我舉證趙紅霞們涉嫌敲詐勒索,我認為他們算不上。我向重慶倆警察舉證,雷政富等11名高官涉嫌接受性賄賂。重慶警官說:這不歸我們管,我們只辦理肖燁等人的團伙敲詐勒索。

I don't agree with their [Chongqing police] claim. Their aim is to dig out my source. They want to track the real identity [through digital footprint] of my sources by obtaining the evidence. They said that the evidence is to help the blackmailing investigation by Zhao Hongxia [the woman in the tape] among others. I don't think it is the blackmail [investigation]. I have already provided evidence regarding 11 high ranking government official including Lei Zhengfu [former Chongqin CCP secretary of the Beipei District] accepting sex bribes. The Chongqing police officers answered: That's not our responsibility. We are here to deal with organized blackmailing by Xiao Ye [the property developer who arranged sexual service for government officials] and his gang.

Meanwhile, Xiao Ye and his business partner Xu Sheqing are under arrest [zh]. Back in 2009, Xiao submitted the tapes to the Chongqing police accusing the officials for taking bribery, but the case was closed without any investigation.

In order to protect the whistleblower, Zhu refused [zh] to hand the tapes and will release the five sex videos once he confirms their authenticity. China’s mouthpiece newspaper, People’s Daily [zh] also weighed in on the matter, quoting a legal expert saying that the police didn’t have the right to demand “evidence” from Zhu.

[Owen, also contributed to this article]

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