China Releases Investigative Reporter Whose Jailing Had Upset U.S. – Philip P. Pan
The Chinese government released a prominent investigative reporter from prison Tuesday, even as it has been intensifying a crackdown on the press. The early release appeared intended to mollify the Bush administration, which had included the journalist on a short list of political prisoners whose cases it raises regularly with Chinese officials.
Jiang Weiping, 50, who spent the last five years in prison after writing a series of hard-hitting articles on government corruption for a magazine in Hong Kong, was granted a sentence reduction for good behavior and released one year before his term was set to end, according to his wife, Li Yanling.
…Jiang’s supporters said he was targeted by party officials upset by his reporting, which helped uncover some of China’s largest and most colorful corruption cases in recent memory. He reported, for example, that one local mayor used state money to buy apartments for 29 mistresses, and that another official lost nearly $3.6 million in public funds in casinos in Macau. That official was later arrested and executed.
Jiang also reported that one of the Communist Party’s rising stars, Bo Xilai, covered up corruption among friends and relatives during his years as mayor of the city of Dalian. Bo, who is the son of the party elder Bo Yibo, was serving as the Liaoning governor when Jiang’s reports were published, and is now China’s trade minister.