Chinese Businessman: From Riches to Rags for Appealing Against Corruption

October 15, 2009 11:05 am Last Updated: October 15, 2009 11:56 am

A formerly wealthy rural entrepreneur of Pei County in Jiangsu Province, who is now penniless, was recently released from a 10-day detention, after appealing over corruption.

Wang Shuqin spoke of his situation to U.S.-based international Chinese language radio station, Sound of Hope (SOH).

Without legal documents, authorities took Wang to the local Police Department on Sept. 23 and detained him for 10 days, Wang told SOH. Under Chinese law the right to appeal exists.

A decade ago, Wang owned the Pei County Cold Drink Factory. “I started to lose core parts on my freezer when I was making a lot of money,” he said. “A thief once stole the entire core of the freezer, which caused my ice cream factory to be shut down.”

With the help of friends Wang said he tracked the thief, Zhu Shouliang, down. “He was very panicky, and he actually paid me some compensation and begged for forgiveness,” Wang said.

“Unexpectedly, a policeman named Chen Shihong and Zhu were working hand in glove: Chen took back the vehicle that Zhu had used to steal my machine and sent it to Zhu. I went to the police station with my son to argue with them, but got beaten up by officer Chen, who even fabricated a charge of ‘extortion’ against me, and arrested me. I was put in jail for 270 days.”

Wang’s factory subsequently went bankrupt and his economic losses are estimated at more than 10 million yuan (US$1.25 million).

“In Dec. 2008, the Prosecution of Pei County apologized to me publicly, but there has not been a single word on any compensation at all,” said Wang.

Wang has appealed to authorities in Nanjing City and Beijing, as well as in Pei County, but has repeatedly been detained by police. He was also sentenced to one year of forced labor in a Pei County “re-education” facility, where he was beaten.

“They are now trying to keep me from going to Beijing,” Wang told SOH. “The security forces have had me watched 24 hours a day since September 21. They have hired 16 public security defendants to take turns to watch me, who are nothing but thugs who get paid 500 yuan (about USD$62) a month for doing nothing. Now the state simply sponsors ruffians and robbers to wear police uniforms. ”

“The key issue of my case,” said Wang, “is that if there weren't the unreasonable arrest and prosecution, which caused me to spend 270 days in jail, there wouldn't have been such a huge loss of over ten million yuan, which turned me, a famous successful entrepreneur into a penniless beggar.”

Wang said a person from the Pei County Police Department had also called him, saying he had committed treason for contacting SOH.

“I argued that I was only telling SOH the facts,” Wang said.

He said he has also been threatened by police for helping other petitioners post their appeals to the Internet.

“The authorities called me and accused me of ‘disturbing social stability’ by posting those appeals on the Internet. I said the Chinese constitution grants freedom of speech. They then accused me of going against the government. I explained that I did not go against the government, but was merely against the corrupt officials in the government. I said I would continue to help appellants [be able to] appeal and help them report their problems.”

One local human rights activist said, “The local officials are all very frightened by SOH's coverage of Mr. Wang’s plight.”

Mr. Wang Tells His Story to Sound of Hope Radio (SOH), which can be found in Chinese at:
http://big5.soundofhope.org/programs/162/137273-1.asp
http://big5.soundofhope.org/programs/806/137390-1.asp,