Wu Fangyi, daughter of an allegedly corrupt official in central China's Hunan province, has created a blog on the Internet to argue that her father is innocent. The site has attracted tens of thousands of netizens, who have shown both support and skepticism.
Wu posted the first blog, titled "Hold on, Father" in late December after her father, Wu Yizhen, former secretary of the CPC county committee of Chengbu Miao autonomous county, which is under the administration of Shaoyang, Hunan province, had gone through the first court hearing in which he was accused of "abusing power and corruption". The blog had received about 830,000 visits by yesterday afternoon.
The 22-year-old girl posted several photos of their humble or even shabby houses online to introduce her family situation. She said that her grandparents in their 70s are still doing handwork and selling vegetables to help with expenses at home. Meanwhile, her father is living in a 50 sq m dorm provided by the county government, devoting all his energy to work, "never eating outside in posh restaurants or going to footbaths", where a person can get foot massages.
The senior studying in an agricultural university in Changsha, Hunan's capital, said she created the blog because she felt what was happening to her father was unfair, and she wanted to cry for her father.
"My cellphone costs only 200 yuan. I have no expensive clothes or cosmetics. I checked my father's bag several times and found only documents and notebooks," she wrote.
Wu Fangyi's descriptions have won the sympathy of many netizens, who expressed trust and support for her.
But some netizens said she is cheating and faking the photographs. Some questioned how it is possible for an ordinary 22-year-old girl to have 50,000 yuan worth of savings.
Nearly 2,000 netizens left comments on sina.com by 5:45 pm yesterday. Some said they believe Wu's father is innocent, and some said whether the official is corrupt has no direct relationship with his family situation.
"I can guarantee with my life that all I said in the blog is true," Wu told China Daily, adding that the 50,000 yuan is her life savings of yasuiqian, which is "lucky money" offered to children during the traditional Spring Festival.
"It is enough to see the majority of people trust and support me. As for the others, I know it is a stereotype in many people's minds that all officials are corrupt. It is not surprising that they do not trust me," she said.
Wu's mother, surnamed Hua, said the biggest hope of the family now is that her husband could be proved innocent. They hope Wu Yizhen could go on trial outside Shaoyang.
"We did not take any bribes, or we dare not put all these things online," said Hua, a teacher at a high school in Shaoyang.
Hua was also detained for half a year until she handed in 185,000 yuan of "bribes".
She maintained the money was not aquired through illegal means.
"Actually it was a pool of money collected by my friends as I did not take any bribes," Hua told China Daily, adding she managed finances for the family and they used to own more than 200,000 yuan of savings.
"But I spent nearly all of it to pay the lawyers. My father did not accumulate a network for himself when in his position and I did not know who else to ask for help," she said.
Wu Fangyi said in her blog his father's office and their houses were searched five times but the procuratorate still did not find any proof of bribery or house property taken by her father.
An anonymous official of the discipline inspection commission of Shaoyang city told China Daily: "It is impossible for the commission to transfer the case to the procuratorate if they do not have any proof." But he declined to give details.
All the phone numbers the People's Procuratorate of Shaoyang registered with 114 (a directory inquiry service) were not answered except a "report hotline". However, the man who answered this line shouted and threatened the reporter not to call again after he heard of China Daily's interview request.
Late last November, also in Shaoyang's Wugang, officials said a deputy mayor tried to commit suicide by various methods and finally jumped out of his dormitory window. His family has not accepted the findings and claim that many wounds were seen on his body.