Yesterday, September 26, the Chinese Government released its white paper on human rights. The Xinhua news report highlighted the positive aspect of the role of Internet freedom for the government to gauge public opinion and improve its governance.
Petition visit rate as human rights indicator
Given the fact that the term, “Human Rights” is politically sensitive term filtered out by domestic Chinese search engines, the white paper is a euphemism that leaves no room for debate. On the other hand, concerned citizens have shifted the focus of the discussion to the relation between the “great success” in China's human rights condition and the role of stability contractors. The government white paper states that one of the greatest achievements in China's human rights has been the decreasing rate of petition calls and visits in the past 5 years. In 2009, the petition visits rate had dropped by 2.7% from 2008.
In a discussion thread of the human rights white paper on the sina t.blog, many micro-bloggers “praised” a stability maintenance contractor, An Yuan Ding, for contributing to the decrease in the petition visits rate:
海阔天空229: 上访的人都被关进黑监狱了，信访量当然下降咯！(9月26日 12:59)
按剑清八极: 越想越觉得白皮书和安元鼎的事情好玩：安元鼎被曝光了，大家还正在找幕后主使的人呢。结果白皮书出来了，还说信访数量连续五年下降。你丫不是不打自招么？ 再怎么，你也应该拖上个一两个月再发报告呀。你是不是秀逗了。或者，你丫就在向全国人民示威，我就是幕后主使，你怎么着吧？(9月26日 12:47)
WhoYo88: 当然了，有了安元鼎，信访总量都转化成自杀率了，谁不知道中国现在自杀率全球第一。…(9月26日 12:27)
按剑清八极 The white paper and An Yuan Ding affair is so interesting. Now that An Yuan Ding has been exposed and everyone is trying to find out who is behind the company. Then the white paper was released and stressed that the petition visit rate has been decreasing for the past 5 years. This is an invitation for criticism. Why don't you defer the release of the white paper for a month or two. Or are you trying to tell the whole nation who is behind the scene? (Sep 26 12:47)
WhoYo88 Of course, An Yuan Ding has transferred the petition rate into suicide rate. Everyone know that our suicide rate has topped the world…. (Sep 26 12: 27)
Stability maintenance contractor: An Yuan Ding
So what exactly does An Yuan Ding（安元鼎）do for its business? The company is one of the most famous stability contractors responsible for intercepting petition visits in Beijing. According to Southern Metropolis Weekly's latest investigative report on September 24 , the contractor's business is to put the petitioners in jail or escort them back to their home county. The staffs of An Yuan Ding are called a “special security force” and they could act like police officers in arresting the petitioners. In fact, An Yuan Ding runs a large number of “black jails” in Beijing and invoices the local government for petitioners’ daily expenses and escort fees during detention. In 2007 the business’ annual turnover was RMB 8.6 million (about USD 1.2 million). The company was listed in the top ten security service brands by the Beijing city government and, in 2008, the business turnover reached RMB 21 million (USD 3 million).
The series of reports about An Yuan Ding has received a lot of echoes online. It quickly became the hottest topic in micro-blogs such as Sina on September 25. Under public pressure, the Beijing police decided to take action against the “illegal detention” and “black jail” business. However, at the same time, the police also raided the Financial Magazine and interrogated the editor about the report. In addition, the propaganda department decided to harmonize all the news related with An Yuan Ding on September 26. The political implications of the case can be aggregated through a Twitter search:
jguanghong 这位朋友说得不够准确，不是我们离法西斯有多远，而是我们就是法西斯 政权。——笑蜀:居然有安元鼎那样邪恶的地下雇佣军存在，居然可以动用那样邪恶的地下雇佣军任意对付自己的公民，可见，如果没有媒体监督，如果没 有法治，如果没有政改，我们离法西斯到底能有多远？想想都让人不寒而栗。
ft9527: 安元鼎风生水起这么些年，背后是政府的睁只眼闭只眼。你当北京不知道这个保安公司在搞什么吗？只是还没人捅出来就放任自流而已 。甚至我怀疑不仅是放任，保安公司都有官方背景，安元鼎如此风生水起，只怕是北京在推波助澜。
cctv8964 从表面看，中国民众上访数量可能 减少了，但过去五年中国的维稳费用 连续上升，今年更是创下了划时代的 记录：维稳费用超过了国防开支。这 些维稳定费用都到了哪里？安元鼎可 能给民众暴露了这个利益链条里的冰 山一角。
89Lin 张千帆：安元鼎“这个口子一开，各地都纷纷效仿的话，后果很难想象。 最主要后果就是对公民基本权利的践踏，它得不到法律上的保障；同时它一定会出现越维越不稳的现象；还有就是黑白勾结越来越分不清，公权力可把权力委托给私 人行使，会造成中国公权力机构的黑社会化，黑社会变成合法正当化。”