Journalist Denies Arrest, TV Wrongly Identifies Suspect in Luoyang Sex Slave Case

A lurid story of kidnapping, rape, murder and forced prostitution in Henan’s would-be “Civilised City” of Luoyang continues to unfold. From Shanghai Daily:

A man who allegedly kept six women as sex slaves in a dungeon for two years and killed two of them in a central China city has been sacked from his post and stripped of his Party membership.

Li Hao was fired from the inspection team under the Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision of Luoyang, Henan Province, after he was detained for forcing the women into prostitution and to feature in porno videos uploaded on the Internet to make money, Guangzhou Daily reported today.

Yu Hongwen, Li’s supervisor and head of the inspection team, was also suspended.

The reporter who unveiled the case has taken issue with the New York Times’ account of local authorities’ subsequent actions. From the Index on Censorship:

The journalist in question, Ji Xuguang, posted a message on Weibo saying that, contrary to online rumours, he had not been “arrested” (although his previous Weibo postings stated he had indeed been accused of revealing state secrets). Yet the term “arrested” was never used in the New York Times’ article: Jacobs stuck with “detained”.

In an email conversation, the article’s author, Andrew Jacobs, told me that the issue boils down to a “parsing of language.” … Jacobs added he believed Ji had been “detained” in the sense that “he was not allowed to waltz away from his questioners, which is why he asked his Weibo followers for help.” […]

“[Ji] said he was sorry if his “Weibo clarification” had caused us any trouble, but he had to tweet his clarification because the Henan authorities were using this “dispute” against him. He said he was hauled out of bed by his boss early one morning because Henan authorities accused him of getting the New York Times to exaggerate the story, so he had to come out and tell the truth, which is that he was not arrested.”

The New York Times was also accused in March of exaggerating the extent of telephone monitoring in China. The newspaper’s dramatic anecdote about a call being disconnected in response to an innocuous Shakespeare quote quickly took flight across the Internet and morphed into, for example, “Chinese censorware nukes any voicecall that contains the word ‘protest’“. Numerous attempts to reproduce the disconnection failed, however.

People’s Daily, meanwhile, reports that a Beijing lawyer was wrongly identified as Li Hao by a TV news report:

Shangdong Television used the picture of Wang Jin, of Beijing City Linkzone Law Firm, in a news program about the sex slave scandal last Friday, claiming the face was that of suspect Li Hao ….

Wang said: “I received numerous calls from friends and relatives asking me whether I had any relationship with the case and the suspect.”

He said his picture was available only on the law firm’s website alongside his name and an introduction, so using it wrongly was carelessness on the part of the TV station.

He said: “They must have picked the picture randomly from the Internet and used it because a picture of the suspect is unavailable.”

Luoyang police have apologised for failing to end the abducted women’s captivity sooner. From CNN:

Police didn’t act and raid Li’s home, until September 3 after one of the supposed “sex slaves” escaped and one of her relatives talked with police.

On Saturday, Guo Congbin — who directs the public security bureau in Luoyang, which is in Henan province — said the lag time between when Li began abducting the women and police discovered him indicates that community patrols were ineffective and police had lost their sense of responsibility.

He noted four police officers have been suspended; entertainment venues, Internet cafes, beauty parlors, saunas and the like are being more closely examined; and an “online cleansing” effort is targeting porn websites.

“I beg the people of Luoyang to give us another chance,” Guo said. “We will show you the results of our actions.”


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