Chongqing Police Pressure Sex Video Whistleblower

The blogger who released a sex video that brought down Chongqing official Lei Zhengfu last year has refused to hand over footage of other officials despite threats of prison time for withholding evidence. Following a late-night visit to his Beijing home by Beijing and Chongqing police on Sunday, Zhu Ruifeng spent seven hours in talks at a police station on Monday, but would not give up the material for fear of incriminating his source. From Chang Meng and Li Xiang at Global Times:

“I also turned down their demand for the original version of those already exposed clips, for the safety of the person from Chongqing’s police bureau who fed me the information,” said Zhu, adding that he is not ready to publish the remaining evidence, as time is needed to authenticate them.

The negotiations came after Zhu claimed some local officials involved in the scandal haven’t yet been netted and accused local police of a coverup and destroying evidence.

[…] Si Weijiang, a Shanghai-based lawyer, told the Global Times there is no crime of withholding evidence, and that the process to compel Zhu to be a witness is not clear. The police have no right to forcibly request the evidence, he said.

The videos were recorded as part of an extortion racket targeting a number of Chongqing officials, 11 of whom have now been dismissed as a result. Former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai and his police chief Wang Lijun reportedly covered up an earlier investigation into the case. While Zhu says that his source is associated with the Chongqing police, the police now claim that he may have obtained the videos from a member of the gang itself.

The Washington Post’s Wang Juan highlighted Zhu’s use of social media for protection:

Zhu’s lawyer, Li, said he believed the policemen originally intended to detain Zhu when they tried to get into his house Sunday night but were forced to change their plan once Zhu’s online posts for help and calls to Chinese and foreign media drew widespread attention.

[…] Before leaving his home for the police station on Monday, Zhu posted a picture online of a signed legal document. The document named several people he was officially authorizing as his lawyers and representatives and said that any confession or change of lawyers after he is imprisoned would likely be made under duress. Mindful of several recent high-profile cases in which detainees have been cut off entirely from the outside world and with their lawyers switched out for government-friendly ones, Zhu said in the document that the lawyers he named are the only ones he wants, “even if I later write a letter in blood asking for a change of lawyers.”