News / Asia

Exposing Chinese Corruption Online, One Video at a Time

Exposing Chinese Corruption Online, One Video at a Timei
X
February 07, 2013 6:27 PM
Chinese citizen journalist Zhu Ruifeng drew international attention late last year when he used the Internet to publish a sex tape of a local official and his mistress. The widespread publicity forced officials to take action. Zhu’s scoop was one of at least 24 major cases of corruption last year that first went public online. VOA’s William Ide has more from Beijing on how citizen journalists are using the Internet to fight corruption.
Chinese citizen journalist Zhu Ruifeng, who has garnered international attention after a sex tape of a local official and his mistress on the Internet.
William Ide
Chinese citizen journalist Zhu Ruifeng drew international attention late last year when he used the Internet to publish a sex tape of a local official and his mistress. The widespread publicity forced officials to take action.

Zhu may only be armed with a notebook, the Internet and DVDs, but he is striking fear in the heart of some officials. He says he plans to release more humiliating tapes such as the one featuring former Chongqing official Lei Zhengfu. His sex tape scoop was one of at least 24 major cases of corruption last year that first went public online.

But his activism has drawn some unwanted attention. Late last month, an ominous group of men -a couple local police and others from Chongqing - showed up at his doorstep and demanded he come out and speak with them.  Zhu refused and instead called reporters and sent out emergency messages online. He even posted video from a closed circuit camera at his door on China’s Twitter-like Weibo microblog service.

With corruption so rampant in China, Zhu says it is only sex scandals that really get handled quickly. He says that with freedom of the press on the Internet, people all know what is happening and corrupt elements do not dare to be corrupt anymore.

Brash citizen journalists are not the only ones focusing on corruption. When Zhu released Lei’s sex tape it was featured in state-run media. Just last week, China’s Xinhua news agency interviewed him about his confrontation with officers and their demands that he turn over the remaining tapes.

Chinese president-in-waiting Xi Jinping has pledged to bring officials to justice and change the party’s image of privilege. But Zhu says any real change will not come until officials are accountable to the public.

Zhu says that for every corrupt official there is an umbrella of protection above them -- their direct superiors. In China, officials shield each other, he says, adding that the only way to solve the problem is to open up freedom of the press and expression and give people the right to vote.

When Xi Jinping became the party’s chief last November he pledged to do more to listen to the public and defend their rights. However, he made no mention of loosening the Communist Party’s tight grip on power.

He Jiahong, a legal scholar at Renmin University of China, says that when it comes to fighting corruption it is not laws that China lacks.

“We have the constitution, we have many laws, we have many regulations and rules, but they are not very effective in action," says He. "You can see that from everyday rules, traffic rules, you know, not many people abide by those and very important like administrative rules and even the constitution.  In China for the rule of law, the emphasis should be on enforcement of the law, and the leaders should take the lead.”

Until that happens, however, China may still be reliant on individuals, such as Zhu Ruifeng, the Internet and social media to push officials to take action.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid