The “law” may have finally caught up with Zhu Ruifeng, the whistleblower who released sex tapes that busted 11 officials, including district Party boss Lei Zhengfu of Chongqing. Last night, scary cops visited his home in Beijing, saying they were from the local police station. “Zhu suspected that they had actually come from Chongqing and that their true intent was to take him away and recover the five additional sex tapes he had threatened to release,” according to the Washington Post.
Zhu alerted journalists to his situation, and after about two hours, the cops left after Zhu promised to visit the local station later today. It’s believed that he has five more sex tapes depicting officials having sex with young women, possibly all of them from an extortion outfit that lured officials into intimate encounters while secretly filming. That outfit, as it was reported earlier last week, has been punished as well. Via Reuters:
Chinese police in the inland port city of Chongqing have busted a ring that extorted local officials with secretly-filmed video of their encounters with young women, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
It’s also believed that Zhu has the only copy of the Lei Zhengfu sex tape in existence, which has yet to be made public. Washington Post again:
Zhu said he transferred the unreleased videos to friends in the United States, which he called “the safest place in the world.” The videos, he noted, included officials who have not yet been punished or fired.
“If something bad happens to me, I hope my friends will release those videos immediately,” he said.
Meanwhile, observers wonder what to make of the central government’s anti-corruption campaign if local authorities are still allowed to make late-night visits and intimidate whistleblowers:
So far, most reports of corruption have originated from online whistleblowers like Zhu, who post their findings on China’s Twitter-like microblogs, Weibo. Some bloggers had hoped the new anti-corruption drive would help them avoid the harsh government reprisals they have experienced in the past.
But many are increasingly quoting an ancient saying once used to describe the execution of criminals and now used to warn of the party’s long, unforgiving memory: “Wait to settle your score after the autumn harvest.”
If local authorities are allowed to punish whistleblowers, experts warn, the anti-corruption campaign will lose what little momentum it has gained in the past two months.
Police visit Chinese blogger who exposed sex scandal (The Washington Post)
UPDATE, 6:32 pm:
Journo Zhu Ruifeng now out of the police station… re Wang Keqin’s weibo.
— Louisa Limさん (@limlouisa) 2013年1月28日
When Zhu says he transferred the “unreleased” videos to friends in the US, does that include the “yet to be made public” Lei video? If so, he doesn’t have the only copy in existence.
The WaPo story seems to be unclear on whether or not Zhu’s data transfer evaded the Chongqing authorities’ attempts to destroy the other videos. It says he “then transferred” files that Zhu’s source said had been destroyed.