Renowned Chinese anti-corruption sleuth Zhu Ruifeng has withdrawn from the online world and his website and four personal microblogs blocked in mainland China on the heels of his exposing the alleged corrupt dealings of Chinese Communist Party (CPC) chief secretary in southeastern Fujian province.
Only a day after Zhu's website Remin Jianduwang reported on how Fan Yue, the former inspector of the general office of the party's Central Committee, allegedly used his influence to elevate Chen Rongfa, the party's chief secretary of Jinjiang city in Fujian province, Zhu suddenly disappeared from social media. Some online sources said he was arrested and netizens started to look for him by calling out his name in their microblogs.
In the late afternoon of July 17, 2013 Zhu delivered a message through another microblogger that he is safe but that all his microblogs have to take a summer vacation [zh].
According to Hong Kong newspaper Takungpao's report on the same day, access to Zhu's anti-corruption website Renmin Jianduwang (人民監督網) was blocked. The site is founded by Zhu and registered in Hong Kong. In addition, more than 107 websites of similar nature run-by other individuals and groups have been either blocked or shut down.
Authorities claimed that the sites they had cracked down on were involved in blackmailing activities.
Zhu became an anti-corruption hero adored by Chinese netizens after he exposed the sex tapes of a district chief secretary of Chinese Communist Party Secretary in Chongqin. Despite heavy political pressure coming from various authorities, Zhu continues to dig into corruption cases, exposing them via his microblog and Renmin Jianduwang.
The latest corruption case exposed by Zhu concerns Fan Yue, who was sacked after his affair with a TV host was exposed in June 2013. But Zhu dug into his corruption network and on July 15 Remin Jianduwang came up with a story [zh]:
[Fan Yue's mistress] Ji Yingnan told a reporter from Remin Jianduwang: In December 2010, Chen Rongfa was then the mayor of Nanan city in Fujiang. He visited Fan Yue, who was then the Inspector and the Deputy Head of the Office of Legislative Affairs of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee. Fan Yue brought mayor Chen Rongfa and Fujian businessman Chen Guiyang to a Beijing night club at Haihan building. Lu Shuangshuang, the head of the night club ladies, who received Fan Yue's official-only safe vegetables and fruit regularly as gifts, arranged model-grade girl to serve Chen Rongfa and Chen Guiyang. Chen Guiyang paid the bill.
According to the Remin Jianduwang reporter's investigation, Fan Yue, then the Inspector of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee had helped Chen Rongfa to become the chief secretary of CPC of Nanan city. Nine months later, Chen was alleviated again to become the chief secretary of CPC of the Jinjiang city, one of the most prosperous city in Fujian.
In recent year, Chen Rongfa visited Fan Yue from time to time and went to different night clubs such as Linjing, Huaqiao, Huadu. Sometimes, they would spend a night with the night club girls.
Between 1999 and 2002, the current General Secretary of CCP and Chinese President Xi Jinping was the governor of Fujian and had spoken highly of the “Jinjiang economic model” before he left Fujian. Soon after Chen Rongfa's scandal was exposed, netizens have started making fun of the Jinjiang spirit [zh].
Most of the posts concerning Chen Rongfa's corruption have been deleted in social media and “Chen Rongfa” has become a sensitive term and unsearchable. Despite heavy censorship, a number of posts condemning the news remained attached in the comment threads of unrelated posts on Sina Weibo. For example, Poetic Cowboy (@诗情格牛仔) commented on a report from state-run CCTV:
CCTV, is our society still ruled by law? Zhu Ruifeng reported on corruption, he did nothing to subvert our government. How can [the authorities] just delete his microblog account and block the Remin Jianduwang? Can we still believe in law? We are not stupid. Tell the corrupted officials that papers can't wrap the fire!
Satellite DFH (@衛星DFH) said the Chinese judiciary should protect Zhu:
Zhu Ruifeng's reports on corruption have been proven accurate. How come the state judiciary do not offer protection? How come they don't stop those who order the site blocked?
Ji Yingnan, the former mistress of Fan Yue who provided Zhu with more corruption evidence, wrote in her microblog:
Zhu Ruifeng's microblogs have been blocked. You all know the reason. The central government keeps saying that they would crush both big and small corruption cases, Zhu just follows the principle and he was crushed. The state keeps saying that rule of law is upheld in our society, how can we not feel chilled by such kind of action? Can we still feel attached to the leader when we see leaders visiting people in CCTV news?
OK, let's oppose the public disclosure of property of our officials. Let's support the migration of the offspring of officials to the U.S. Let's ban people from checking the price of luxurious watches officials are wearing. Let's crackdown on all attempts to dig out the number of properties an official owns. Let's work together to censor the web. Let's crack down on those who demand constitutional rights. Let's continue censoring our media. Let's follow the only truth and look down on Internet censorship circumvention. Let's insist to watch CCTV's news at 7 p.m. everyday. We shall then be happier than our fellows in North Korea…