Saturday, 26 October 2013

Who is Telling the Truth?

A screen shot of Chen Yongzhou making his "confession" on CCTV
Three days after The New Express made front-page appeals for the police to release one of its reporters, there's now a bizarre twist to the story.

Reporter Chen Yongzhou has now "confessed" to having been bribed to write negative stories about construction machinery manufacturer Zoomlion.

Chen made this "admission" on China Central Television where he explained the 10 articles he supposedly wrote about Zoomlion were not actually investigated, researched or even written by him, and yet he was paid thousands of yuan -- as long as his byline was used.

At one point, he made trips to Hong Kong and Beijing in June to meet up with regulatory authorities and report on Zoomlion's alleged fraudulent practices, according to the CCTV report. He apparently made 530,000 yuan for the two trips.

The identity of the third party that supplied him with the information and stories was not revealed in the TV program.

"I am willing to confess and repent my crimes, and I'd like to apologize to Zoomlion, its shareholders, the media groups whose credibility suffered [because of me] and my family," he said on the show.

After watching Chen's "confession", many are skeptical about the way it was done.

Zhu Xuedong, a prominent Beijing-based magazine editor wrote on his microblog that this incident should have been resolved through the courts, and added Chen's appearance on TV had the hallmarks of the "criticism and attack" sessions during the Cultural Revolution.

Another active microblogger Zuo Zhijian criticized the authorities' practice of "obtaining evidence through illegal means". "The job of law enforcement is to uphold social order, not to make us live in fear," he wrote on Sina Weibo.

One microblogger asked, "How could CCTV decide he is guilty even before he gets his trial? And how come CCTV was the only media outlet who was permitted to talk to him?"

Indeed.

Chen's "confession" has roused more questions than answers.

What is really going on? Who is telling the truth?

Where is the 530,000 yuan Chen supposedly received, and the thousands more in bribes? Did he buy a flat with the money? A new car?

More importantly -- is Chen still alive?

2 comments:

  1. This is disturbing on several levels. Regardless of the truth, I hope Chen is still alive.

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    Replies
    1. HI Diana -- Unfortunately it looks like how Chen is being dealt is the latest in how the government is clamping down on people it does not approve of.

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