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Chinese Netizens Happy, Suspicious of Zhou Investigation

FILE - China's former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang

FILE - China's former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang

Beijing's anti-corruption policies have become the subject of a debate amongst many Chinese netizens (Internet users) following China's announcement that it will investigate its former security chief.

Legions of supporters are celebrating the investigation of security tsar, Zhou Yongkang, praising the government for its efforts.

A number of netizens have posted in favor of Zhou on Sina Weibo, China’s leading social media website. His name is the most searched for term on the site.

One user, who identifies himself as Howling-in-the-Dragon-Year, said, “Thumbs up to President Xi. I used to only love China itself, now I love the government too.”

Another user, known as You’re-My-Girl, said, “When I read this report, I almost cried for joy. Every Chinese citizen should praise our president. Only President Xi could have the strength to insist on anti-corruption. He will bring fortune to China and its people.”

Others view Zhou as a corrupt former official who is just another victim of a power struggle within the Communist Party.

A user who identifies himself as Luo Xian Sen, said, ”For this case, corruption is only the surface of the problem. [Zhou] is just another victim of the struggle for political power.” That post has now been deleted.

The purpose of the investigation is not the only issue that is raising questions. Activists and analysts, both online and off, cite Zhou as an example of deeper issues plaguing China’s anti-corruption drive.

A Weibo user who identifies himself as Lawyer Zhu Zhengliang, wrote, “Zhou Yongkang’s case reflects apparent flaws in the system. We should think of those flaws, and reform and fix them in the system."

Ping Hu, a Chinese activist living in exile in New York, noted problems with the government’s methods against corruption.

“Zhou has so much information, and if he chooses to put up a show, make a scene, and talk about something else, authorities will have a hard time dealing with him," he said.

The investigation has unraveled weak points in the Chinese government’s methods according to New York University professor Jerome Alan Cohen.

"Now China’s leadership realizes that they’re becoming victims of their own [economic] success. It’s created so many new social groups, so much demand for social justice that they’re having trouble figuring out how to run the legal system that won’t challenge the leadership but will get the job done," he said.

On July 29th, the Chinese government formally announced it is investigating Zhou Yongkang for corruption. Zhou, a retired senior leader of the Communist Party, is the highest ranking former or current official caught up publicly in President Xi's anti-corruption campaign.

Xu Pei also contributed to this report, which was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

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