A communist party official has come under fire recently for what is fairly standard practice in China: making a nepotistic appointment to favor an underling—in this case, he appointed to court staff the son of the local chief judge. This time the invective coming from Internet users and commentators is not so much inspired by at the act itself, but for the brazen way in which it was done, given that the judge’s son is badly mentally handicapped.
The specially approved staff of communist party secretary of Dongyuan County, Chen Waiming, “wandered from one office to another, constantly playing with teapot and cups as if they were toys,” and “eating food morsels on the ground,” according to an exposé by 48 year old lawyer Liu Yao.
“The court ought to be an institution of justice. If the court cannot resist such behavior, then how could it talk about fairness? Where would justice be upheld?” Liu Yao asked rhetorically in an interview with The Epoch Times.
“Further, there were no supervisory authorities who spoke out. The news came from people who work in the court and the community. I first thought it impossible. Had I not investigated it, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Liu Yao’s internet post sparked heated discussion in the community and in Chinese media. In response, Chen Waiming, had his secretary tell all county officials not to accept any media interviews. The attempt at censorship, along with the news, was given an unforgiving reception online.
Liu Zhijian, the secretary to Party Chief Chen Waiming, sent text messages to all county level officials stating: “Any reporter interview or phone interview must first get approval or be scheduled by the Dongyuan county propaganda department, reject all other interviews. Any new activity or news should be reported to Mr. Chen or myself.”
The news still leaked, however. “Acting one way in public, and another in dark: such a person holds the party secretary post,” Liu Yao said of Chen Waiming. “Lying to the general public and to the media, he still securely holds on to the post of the County Party Secretary.”
Nearly two weeks after the incident, on Aug. 11, after intense public pressure, the Dongyuan County propaganda department announced that “proper punishment” would be administered to chief judge Xu Zhouding. The report in Xinkuai News said the court is in the process of firing his son.
Liu Yao has previously been targeted by Dongyuan county officials. In late 2007 he was accused of “destruction of property” after lending legal assistance to farmers who had their land expropriated during forced evictions. He served two years in prison for the charges, which were regarded as concocted by the Western press and human rights advocates in China.
Over 500 lawyers from Shenzhen wrote a joint letter criticizing the Dongyuan county court’s ruling in Liu Yao’s case.