News >Regional

Official loses his temper with 'journalist'

2010-12-10 07:58

BEIJING - An official in Northeast China's Liaoning province gained unexpected fame after word spread on micro blogs that he had verbally abused a self-proclaimed journalist.

On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of micro blog tweets began to emerge on several Chinese Twitter-like websites saying that Zhong Jixiang, 56, deputy chief of the law enforcement authority in Jianchang county of Liaoning, had responded to a phone media inquiry with threats such as "Mind your own life".

A man claiming to be a journalist with the outspoken Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly had called to seek Zhong's comment on allegations that he had mishandled an interview request by Wang Lisan, a journalist from the Shanghai-based Oriental Outlook magazine. Zhong replied by saying that the man had better mind his own life, according to the micro blogs.

"I said that after losing my temper," Zhong told China Daily, "because the man had launched a verbal attack on me in the first place."

Zhong said he became angry and began trading barbs with the man.

The man could not be identified because Zhong said he had forgotten his name. Also it was not known whether the man posted any of the micro blogs about Zhong.

However, Zhong still faced the allegation that he had abused his power during the earlier interview request from Wang.

Zhong's subordinates confiscated Wang's camera after they found him taking snapshots in the local government building, Wang said.

However, Zhong said he had suspicions about whether Wang was really a journalist and therefore repeatedly rejected Wang's requests for an interview on a sensitive local issue.

Late on Wednesday, the publicity department of Huludao city, which administers Jianchang county, organized for the camera to be returned to Wang.

The incident is now under investigation, said Sun Liwei, a publicity official in Huludao city.

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