Whistle-blower, jailed, regrets – Southern Metropolitan Daily

From the Southern Metropolitan Daily via Yulun Jiandu (link), translated by CDT:

Li Wenjuan, an employee with Anshan City‘s State Tax Bureau in Liaoning Province, discovered illegitimate tax collection dealings by her bureau, especially on from large state- and provincial-owned enterprises. Every month, she learned from her work, the tax bureau would unilaterally exempt worth tens of millions of yuan to large companies.

Seeing the huge contrast of vegetable peddlers being chased everyday to evade taxes of a few yuan, Li was angry. But her decision to report her employer’s wrong-doing up to Beijing took more than five months of self mental struggling.

In June 2002, Li went to the National Tax Administration with her letter that listed five counts of wrongdoings of her employer and attached a photocopy of her real-name ID. She didn’t even tell her family about her trip’s real intention. She told them she went to Beijing as a tourist.

Officials from Beijing went to Anshan to investigate, but only to find some of Li’s reported counts were “factual,” and that they were not as serious as she described. Beijing officials told Anshan to protect the before they left. That was, as it turned out, only lip service.

Li was retaliated against, first by job changes to unload her important duties and finally by putting her into a labor reeducation camp, or prison in plain English, for “petitioning without a legitimate reason and disrupting the work of government agencies”.

She was released in the fall of 2005 after more than a year in jail, thanks to her family’s complaints to government agencies in Beijing, including the National People’s Congress.

“On this issue (reporting on her employer), I am sorry for my family,” Li said, referring to the great pressure her husband and son went through. They received threat letters and phone calls. They were afraid of going out and would ask relatives to buy groceries for them. Her son, distanced by his friends, dared not to go to school and only had birds to talk to at home.

“But seeing things (wrongdoing) happen, I cannot ignore them,” she said. “But my ability is too limited, I cannot turn the course of situation even though I wanted to. I will not report again in the future.”

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