The Interview With Dai Xiaojun

ESWN translates an interview with journalist Dai Xiaojun, who exposed the cover-up of a mining accident after reporters demanded hush money from the mine boss, and since then has received numerous threatening phone calls:

Q. Where are the threatening calls coming from?
A. I suspect that there are coming from the coal mine as well as the fake reporters who have been exposed but not investigated yet.

Q. Are you sorry? Does your family understand?
A. I am forty-two years old and I have only done this one thing. Now that I made my choice, I cannot worry about the other consequences. My wife is frequently complaining at home. In principle, she supports me. My father passed away early in life. My mother has cancer and she is not feeling well. When she heard about what happened, she touched my face with her hand and let the tears come down: “Child, I understand you. You do as you think, but please be careful.” Actually, I should have known that it could be painful when I exposed the “gag fee” scandal. But if I “gagged” myself, I would be unhappy the rest of my life.

Q. Was this the first time that you come across a case of “gag fees”?
A. This is absolutely true. At just past 3pm on September 25, I received a telephone call from a veteran Shanxi reporter. He said that he was attending a conference in Pingyao and a villager called to say that there were many reporters lining up to collect “gag fees” at the Huobao Ganhe coal mine. Pingyao is close to Hongdong and so he was ready to go over there. But since he did not have a camera, he asked me to hurry over there with my camera. I did not have a car, but my blogger friend “Shanxi Podcast” has a car. So we went together. We arrived in front of the coal mine at around 7pm. It was drizzling and pitch dark out there.

See also “Reporter disputes initial findings in the ‘gag fee’ case” from China Media Project.

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