Photos: Chongqing Petitioners

Gilles Sabrie, or Ji Le, of the photo blog “Eye on China” (“Un oeil sur la Chine”) has posted photos of his encounters with petitioners who claim to have been victims of the rampant corruption in Chongqing currently on trial. A selection of photos and text from the post “Rotten Cops” (“Ripoux“), translated by CDT:

The word corruption evokes imagery of smoky banquets where some officials, potbellied and red from baijiu, discuss business with entrepreneurs no less round. Young, light-hearted girls complete the scene that finishes with the presentation of an envelope just as inflated and red as its recipient. That is, unless the scene winds down by a karaoke machine, in a sauna (practical, since nudity assures that no recorder will tape the exchanges), or in the back of a limousine with tinted glass. Picturesque images of a certainly reprehensible practice, but one which we end up finding almost acceptable. Exotic, maybe. And besides … isn’t corruption in the country’s culture, just as it is in many others? We’ll just have to do with.

The anti-corruption campaign led in Chongqing by Bo Xilai lifted the veil over the ways and customs of a municipality (the most heavily populated in China with 30 million inhabitants) where politicians, police, judges, and gangsters work hand in hand. The court trial in process has attracted a crowd of petitioners, victims of these mafia-connected associations. They have a vague hope to get justice, but most of all, they are no longer afraid; they want their stories to be known, and take satisfaction in seeing the contrite face[s] of those who, just a few months before, terrorized the city. Far from the picturesque scenes described above, the corruption here is synonymous with terrible violence.

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Hong Guibi: When her husband refused to give up his field (about 100 square meters) to the local Communist Party secretary, some thugs armed with machetes entered her home. They cut the recalcitrant to pieces, and then went for his wife, whom they left for dead. She survived. The police did not intervene and refused to make an investigation. Hong Guibi is in front of the courts everyday, and shows photos of her husband’s body and her own body covered in long scars to anyone who wishes to see.

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The parents of Zhou Changyong, whose body was found stabbed twenty times in his taxi. Police refused to investigate.

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Jiao Jiawei explains on this banner that his daughter was killed by doctors in order to cover up a medical mistake committed during a surgical operation.

More images by Sabrie can be seen in a New York Times slideshow accompanying the article “Chinese Trial Reveals Vast Web of Corruption” by Andrew Jacobs.

November 7, 2009 1:04 PM
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