Global Times relates a story from the Southern Metropolis Daily about a “Mr Zhang” who was falsely accused of visiting a prostitute. Police hugely exaggerated the maximum prison sentence of 15 days in order to extract a “fine”, and offered a 50% discount if he agreed to pay it under the table. Zhang later revealed his story to the media.
Clearly, law is never the first thing that comes to mind when Chinese people deal with the authorities. They always prioritize minimizing their losses, instead of investigating power and defending their legal rights. We can blame the lawmen for being parasites. Maybe they are, but maybe that’s because we made them parasites. Zhang is a rare exception to our usual silence.
Power is like a stubborn donkey that doesn’t work hard unless you whip it. The holes in our system will never repair themselves unless one day, despite the panic and fear, street dealers and visitors to prostitutes would rather take the worse punishment, as long as they could receive a proper receipt from the law.
It will cost money, and it will take courage, but if we let power offer a discount on the law today, tomorrow justice will be on sale.