China announced verdicts yesterday in the Shanxi Brick Kiln slave labor controversy. According to the New York Times, popular response to the government’s measures, which included prosecution of only a few low-level officials, has been somewhat less than enthusiastic:
Chinese journalists say government propaganda officials have urged the news media to limit coverage of the scandal. But the announcements on Monday brought a torrent of strongly critical commentary on the Internet, with thousands of bloggers and participants in news discussion groups denouncing what were widely perceived as light punishments and questioning the failure to pursue criminal charges or corruption accusations in more cases.
“A serious political incident was first turned into a serious criminal case, and then slowly transformed into a matter of ordinary malfeasance,” one online commenter wrote. “Once all of these rustlings are over, the same things are bound to happen again.” [Full Text]