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China: Officer dismissed for blogging

In China, there's more precedent for blogging getting people in trouble with the police than there is for blogging in itself getting one getting fired. So what happens to cops who blog? Check out Hubei-based Soho Xiaobao blogger Wu Youming‘s most recent post, ‘Confessions of a canned cop‘, dated March 16:


A Fable


There was once a school, and everyone in it lied, this was the only way to earn rewards from the teacher.
Those kids who spoke the truth, were punished.


Notice of dismissal


Wu Youming:


In accordance with the ordinances in items 10 and 12 of article 22 of the Police Law of the People's Republic of China and items 5 and 14 of article 5 in the Methods of Dismissal for Public Security Offices and People's Police, following an investigation, starting today you are hereby dismissed. This notice may be used to claim your termination dues and to register and apply at the Labor Bureau employment department to collect your unemployment insurance.
Huangshi Public Security Bureau (official seal)
March 15, 2007



第二十二条 人民警察不得有下列行为:

Police Law of the People's Republic of China
Article 22 People's Police shall not partake in the following behaviors:
(10) engage in profitable business activities or be gainfully employed by any individual or group;
(12) other behaviour and conduct in violation of the law.

第五条 人民警察有下列情形之一,错误比较严重又不宜给予行政开除处分的,应当予以辞退:

Methods of Dismissal for Public Security Offices and People's Police
Article 5 An officer of the People's Police who commits one of the following serious errors and not warranting the administrative punishment of expulsion, shall be dismissed:
(5) engage in profitable business activities or be gainfully employed by any individual or group;
(14) other behavior and conduct in violation of the law.


At 8:20 on the morning of March 16, 2007, I was escorted into the Xisaishan District police station by two of its leaders. I waited in the station's Political Office until 10:50, when I was notified to proceed to the meeting room by Political Office Supervisor M. Upon entering, Station Comissioner D and three employees of the Huangshi Municipal Police Political Division were already inside. The Political Division comrade read to me the letter of dismissal, which I then signed. They handed me the letter of dismissal and informed me of my right to apply for an administrative reconsideration at the Huangshi Municipal Public Security Bureau within the following thirty days. They asked me what I had to say, and I said nothing. I then turned my police badge over to Director M, and with the station director cleared up some belongings. At noon I handed my police tools over to colleagues, and left with my personal belongings. My colleagues helped drive me home with my things.


That I would be dismissed by the Huangshi Municipal Public Security Bureau is a conclusion I've anticipated for some time. It's not that I planned for this to happen, but under the current system, people who dare to speak the truth must be prepared to pay the price. Since the evening of January 5, 2006 when I began to post such articles as “Why do traffic cops love handing out fines so much?”, “Handing out fines as enthusiastically as a tiger is fierce”, “The deceased don't sell their hukous, and the living can't get them”, “A word to the National People's Congress from a grassroots police officer: barring petitioners should be a prohibited government behavior”, I've known that today would come. For my dismissal today, I blame no leaders; The Huangshi Municipal Public Security Bureau has already been very lenient on me. Many net friends were worried about my safety and that of my family's, and I'd like those friends to not worry. The Huangshi Municipal Public Security Bureau is not the mob, and not a single person has been violent or threatening to me. I've been dismissed and that's all.


Further, I'd like to thank all the People's Police with whom I worked at the Huangshi Municipal Public Security Bureau over the past thirteen years. We had hard times and good times, and I will never forget the affection we brothers had for each other! I would also like to thank all the leaders at the Huangshi Municipal Public Security Bureau. I've given you a lot of trouble; thank you for your tolerance and care; as I'm unable to repay it, I can only wish you the best luck in advancing in your careers.


Wu Youming
March 16, 2007
Cell phone: 13177303030

All those posts Wu mentioned? When Soho Xiaobao started deleting them, he took screenshots and turned to his old friend, avant-garde artist and blogger Ai Weiwei who, in his March 14 post entitled ‘Deleted Posts‘, wrote:



The posts that People's Policeman Wu Youming puts on my blog keep getting deleted by the Sina webmasters, it really is quite tiring. Sina Blog, as a modern media outlet, ought to understand how to be impartial and understand the common business sense of not cheating its clients. That a magnificent nation disregards its own constitution and maintains kangaroo censorship, mocks freedom of speech, its small tolerance of obscenity makes one sneer. For a society that calls for harmony, that speaks again and again of a fair and just society, why can't there be a little more openness?

Youming's not your stereotypical Chinese cop, judging from his resume, which he posted on February 27, along with all the information he provided on his application—as Chinese police may exit the country only once a year—for special leave to travel to Germany to take part in his friend Ai Weiwei's art exhibit, Fairytale:


1974 Born in Huangshi City, Hubei Province
1991-1994 Worked at Huangshi Lianghu Municipality Management Office
1994-May 1996 Worked in the 1st brigade of the Huangshi Public Security Bureau police detachment
1996-Sept. 1999 Worked in the Xiaopu Village and old Xialu police stations in Xialu district, Huangshi PSB
1999-Dec. 2005 Worked in the 1st and 2nd brigade and traffic order management section of the Huangshi PSB traffic police detachment
Dec. 2005-today Worked in a Xisaishan police station in Xisaishan District, Huangshi PSB

The illegal behavior in which Wu was engaged was the self-publishing of his own literature magazine, Foam, which he had paid for himself for over six years and distributed via post all across the country. On top of losing his job, he was fined 20,000 RMB [just over USD 2,500], nearly a year's worth of his previous salary [zh].

More from Wu's resume:


2000 Created people's publication, the literature magazine Foam (with eleven previously published issues, and three special editions).
2001 Lead actor in the indy film ‘Huangshi Avenue‘ (color story film, 47 mins., directed by Wei Tie, Beijing Film Academy)
2002 Agreed to film the documentary ‘Foam People‘ (color/19 mins.), directed by Gui Guan, Central Academy of Drama, winner of best documentary at the 8th Annual University Student Film Festival, and was broadcast on Phoenix TV
2002 At the invitation of ‘I Love Rock ‘N Roll‘ magazine, penned the Foam Feature column (issues 11-28, 2002-2004)
2004 Literature planner and actor in the filming of the indy film ‘The East is Broken‘ (black and white, 22 mins.), directed by Wei Tie, Beijing Film Academy
2005 appeared in the feature film ‘There is No Life Here‘ (color/10 mins.), directed by Miao Yi and Shu Mingliu for Huangshi Television. This film was shown on the Huangshi TV program On The Spot.
2006 Chosen as Internet Personality of the Year by ‘I Love Rock ‘N Roll‘ magazine for articles published on the internet, “Why Do Traffic Cops Love Handing Out Fines So Much?”, “Handing Out Fines As Enthusiastically As The Tiger Is Fierce”, “The Deceased Don't Sell Their Hukous, and The Living Can't Get Them”.


Novels, poems and commentary published in such magazines as ‘Everybody‘, ‘Fiction World‘, ‘Edges of the Earth‘, ‘Dian Chi‘, ‘Vision21‘, ‘New Mainland‘, ‘Panorama‘, ‘Pride‘, ‘Southern Weekend‘, ‘Xiaoxiang Morning Post‘, ‘Legal Daily‘ and ‘Police Station‘. Interviews with editor Wu Wenguang for ‘Scene3‘, ‘Southern Metropolis Weekly‘, 'Dajiang Business News', ‘Xiaoxiang Morning Post‘, memorial works for editor Li Wen at ‘Concept Photography‘ and in a poetry review edited by Li Shaojun.

Looking back over some of Youming's posts, he used his blog partly as an extension of his police duties, sometimes writing letters to local and national leaders on behalf of local residents he's come know, often posting pictures of their lives and sometimes even bringing light to their plights, like that of bookshop owner Yuan Maoling, who along with all the other residents of one building on Huangshi Wuhan Rd, were evicted to make way for the development of new high-rise apartment buildings. When construction stopped for the Chinese New Year last month, Yuan and his wife started selling books among the rubble, only to have them all confiscated by the city.



Here are some before and after pictures of the building on Huangshi Wuhan Road, taken by Wu Youming and his wife, Zhou Li:





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