“Liu was bewildered by the conflicting information. Over a quiet dinner one night, her father proposed a theory: Li might have been an informer for the police… And so the Stainless Steel Rat started digging. She left messages for Li on the Internet, but he never answered. Then she voiced her suspicions online and asked for help.
At times, it felt like looking for a ghost. A friend in the police department ran a search of the city’s records but found no one with Li’s name among Beijing’s registered residents. Others combed Li’s old Web postings for clues, but discovered that he had always forwarded other people’s essays and never written any himself… Liu said she has not given up on finding Li. But she is resigned to living with the mystery a long time. ‘Sooner or later, there will be a day when the government’s files are opened,’ she said. ‘Maybe only then will we know the truth.’ ”
Thanks to Ellen Sander for the tip.