China’s Jilin provincial government recently dismissed an official after he published a controversial book.
The whirlwind sequence of events leading to his dismissal highlights the infighting within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He Dian, deputy Party secretary and executive deputy director of the Jilin Public Security Department, was dismissed from his posts on July 31.
ControversyHe Dian’s book did not attract people’s attention outside of Jilin Province until July 27.
That day, a netizen shared seven pages of the book on Weibo, a social media platform similar to Twitter. The sentences repeated “ping an,” which translates to being at peace or being safe and sound, over and over, with different modifiers.
The content could be translated as such: “wishing the eyes to be in a peaceful status, wishing the ears to be in a peaceful status, wishing the nose to be in a peaceful status...wishing you peace at one-year-old, wishing you peace at two-years-old...wishing people are safe at Beijing Railway Station, wishing people are safe at Xi’an Railway Station, wishing people are safe at Zhengzhou Railway Station...” The text continues in a similar format throughout.
According to the printing press’s website, the book was printed in December 2019. It went on sale in January 2020 with a price of 299 yuan ($42.66).
In May, the book went through its second printing after the first print was sold out. Officials in Jilin bought up the copies, and also sang high praises about it on social media. Local state-run media also gave the book raving reviews.
After his book was exposed on social media, netizens remarked that there was a sharp contrast between the book’s plain language and his educational background.
Big ChangeOn July 29, the Party’s anti-corruption watchdog CCDI published a commentary article on its official website, commenting that He Dian’s book “was so uneducated that it totally shocked people.”
The watchdog then ordered Jilin local authorities, including the propaganda department, to investigate He Dian and other officials who were behind the book’s publication.
On Weibo, many Chinese netizens shared their opinions on the debacle.
Li’s comments resonated with netizens, who expressed their anger at corruption within Chinese officialdom.
The article analyzed that authorities were likely purging officials who were not loyal to current leader Xi Jinping.