South China Morning Post’s Jun Mai reports the final collapse of the defamation case against journalist Liu Hu, who was arrested for accusing officials of corruption on social media. Liu was released a year ago pending further investigation after police failed to build a case within the legal detention time limits. (Domestic media were instructed to ignore this development.) On Thursday, prosecutors said that the investigation has now been abandoned due to insufficient evidence.
“I will still go after clues about corruption if I have them,” said Liu Hu, 40, now a reporter with Chongqing’s Changjiang Times. “It’s not that I fear anything, but I might publish [allegations] in the paper, instead of putting them online in my name,” he said.
Liu’s arrest in 2013 raised eyebrows as the Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog had pledged to “get to the bottom” of graft as part of President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign, and Liu seemed to be helping.
Two of the officials mentioned in Liu’s posts, including former China Resources chairman Song Lin, were targeted by corruption inspectors in the months following Liu’s arrest. The party announced an investigation into Song last April. Yet Liu remained in custody until last August, when he was released on bail. [Source]
Liu’s case, like those of activists like Xu Zhiyong, demonstrates that while the leadership acknowledges the danger of corruption, it is determined to maintain a strict monopoly on the fight against it. On Friday, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced that Song Lin has been expelled from the Party and will be stripped of all official positions and charged with extortion and taking bribes. He is also accused of adultery and misappropriating public funds to support his golf habit.