Government and Policy

Revenge taken on informants

By Wang Jingqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-21 08:10
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BEIJING - About 70 percent of those who reported criminal suspects to the procuratorate system nationwide have suffered some form of revenge, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP).

SPP officials also said some of the revenge is practiced covertly and is "seemingly legal", making it difficult to protect the whistle-blowers with legal aid, Legal Daily reported on Sunday.

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"Those who are reported on, especially those who have official powers, use legal excuses to exact revenge upon the whistle-blowers by firing them or demoting them, directly or indirectly," Luo Shouliang, a procurator from the Beijing Procuratorate, was quoted as saying.

"With company executives becoming more and more powerful, their measures to revenge whistle-blowers have also become more diversified. It's very hard to define whether it is revenge or not," said Zhu Decai, a procurator from Jiangxi Provincial Procuratorate.

"They will make excuses like optimizing labor structure, or will work with other officials to deliberately make things difficult for the whistle-blowers."

Zhang Wenying used to work as an accountant in a kindergarten for 10 years. In 2006, she noticed that some of the money issued to employees was suspicious. She later reported the kindergarten to a higher authority.

However, nothing happened after her report. Zhang took a further step and showed the accounting to parents. After parents' demands to investigate, the local education department finally examined the accounting and found out that, for nearly five years, the kindergarten officials had taken the food allowance collected from the children and split it amongst the employees.

Unexpectedly, however, Zhang was fired by the kindergarten in February.

"I finally found peace of conscience, but at a really high price," she said.

"If we keep ignoring that those who report crimes suffer some sort of revenge, we'd not only discourage the public's enthusiasm to report crimes, but also help the reported become more lawless," said Yang Zuwei, a procurator from Zhengzhou Procuratorate of Central China's Henan province.

According to the SPP, revenge against whistle-blowers has led to more people reporting problems anonymously.

Since a national hotline- 12309- for whistle-blowers was launched on June 22, 2009, the SPP has accepted 290,000 reported cases, with 7,074 of the reports against county-level or higher officials, according to the Legal Daily.

The statistics from Jiangxi Provincial Procuratorate also show that in recent years about 60 percent of people reported anonymously.

"The high percentage of anonymous reporting shows that whistle-blowers have improved self-protection awareness, but it also shows their distrust in the procuratorate system," said Zhu Decai.

A better legal system should be established to improve protection and encourage people to report crimes and corruption, experts said.

A law should be made to clarify the rights of whistle-blowers and the responsibilities of the departments that accept the reporting. A system to protect the safety of whistle-blowers should also be created, according to Zou Pingxue, a law professor from Shenzhen University.