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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!


[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.


[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:


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 Non-commercial use.

10 Chongqing government officials have been sacked for involving in sex scandals. Photo from 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:


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?


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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