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Whistleblower deserves protection, not criminal charge

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-08-08 22:13

A recent video showed five court staff members from Shanghai visiting a nightclub where four of them were confirmed to have paid for sex. All five received disciplinary penalties. However, a source from the authorities said the whistleblower might face criminal charges because he obtained the video by telling the nightclub he was a colleague of the judges. The whistleblower does not deserve to be charged, said a column in Beijing News (excerpts below).

In China's Criminal Law, there is a special article that defines anybody who commits fraud claiming the identity of a State staff member, thus "damaging the State image", as committing a crime.

That's why, after having published video that shows court staff members visiting a nightclub and paying for sex, a man surnamed Ni might face criminal charges. Sources said if he claimed to be an accompanying colleague of the staff members in order to get the video as reported, he could be charged.

That is absurd. The law clearly states that citizens have the right to supervise State officials, and Ni was only practicing that right, instead of committing fraud or blackmail and did not derive any illegal interest in the process.

Besides, reports are that, in order to get the video, Ni said he was a companion of the court staff members and also a judge. But even a judge needs special procedures in order to get a video from a nightclub for official use and the nightclub did not ask for that, therefore, the nightclub gave him the video not because they believed he was a judge, but because they believed he was a companion of the staff members. In other words, he did not obtain the video by pretending to be a judge.

Therefore Ni should not face any criminal charge as, on the contrary, by revealing what the court staff members did, he has helped to maintain clean politics and fight corruption. He should be praised and protected as a whistleblower, according to the regulations of both anti-corruption and judicial departments. The State should not let whistleblowers suffer if it really wants to fight corruption.

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