NPC deputy takes up cause of persecuted Shanxi whistleblowers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2007, 12:00am

A National People's Congress deputy from Shandong has taken up the fight against the persecution of three government officials in Jishan county, Shanxi, who exposed the county party secretary's alleged corruption.

Wang Quanjie said he had written to NPC Standing Committee calling for an inquiry into the suspended jail terms meted out to three low-level county officials after exposing government irregularities last year.

Yang Qinyu said yesterday he and two colleagues, Nan Huirong and Xue Zhijing, who worked for the Jishan county government had become concerned about administrative irregularities under party secretary Li Runshan .

Mr Yang said the trio, all in their early 50s, compiled a report in March last year accusing Mr Li of wrongdoings such as land-use abuses and posted 37 copies to various government departments, including the office of Yuncheng's mayor.

They were detained for up to 100 days before two were found guilty of defamation in August and a third was found guilty last month. They were sentenced to a year's jail, suspended for three years.

Whistleblowers have often met with retribution. Mr Wang said yesterday the criminal proceedings against the three civil servants were 'a typical case of a reprisal orchestrated by local leadership that gives little regard to democracy'.

Mr Yang, the director of Jishan's legislative affairs committee and a member of the county people's congress, said he was arrested without the approval of the county congress.

He said he had held on to a job but had been demoted and his salary cut by a fifth. The men have lodged appeals with the Yuncheng Intermediate People's Court. 'We've done nothing wrong,' Mr Yang said.

Mr Wang said people should not face charges for faulty tip-offs unless the leak was intended to be malicious

'Even if their accusations were defamatory, they should be tried - but not in the same jurisdiction so as to avoid conflicts of interest,' he said.

Mr Wang said the NPC Standing Committee had confirmed that it had passed his proposals on to the Shanxi government and the authorities would have to come up with some form of redress within three months.