According Xinhua news, formal charges of corruption have been filed against Huang Jin’gao, the former Party Secretary of Lianjiang County in Fujian Province who publicized corruption in his region last year. The charges were filed in the Nanping Middle People’s Court on August 3rd, 2005, accusing him, among other things, of illegally accepting 3,685,000 RMB (US$228,000) in donations from 1993 to 2004. Such gifts included two white gold necklaces, one brick of gold, and a personal computer valued at 17,000 RMB. “His behavior thus violated the PRC Penal Code, constituting a bribery offense.”
This is the latest development in a yearlong saga that started last August when Huang published a letter in the People’s Daily Online claiming that he had been forced to wear a bulletproof vest for six years due to death threats. The threats, he charged, were the result of his efforts to root out local corruption. For a while, he became an anti-corruption icon in China. (When our web site first created a special topic devoted to the case of Huang Jin’gao, it has received the largest number of hits in a matter of weeks, over 100,000.) For a short while, all bbs chatrooms in China were filled with messages supporting Huang Jin’gao and his online crusade against corruptions. Then, the cyberspace commentaries disappeared overnight. (Our web site also removed all stories on Huang upon instruction from local public information officials.) It was all quiet online and offline in China. This eerie quietness was only interrupted by the occasional reports on Huang at overseas web sites that are off the limit to most of China’s netizens.