Police Story

  • Share
  • Read Later

This is from Lin Yang:

Although Yang Xiaodong’s story has yet to make it to the silver screen, it reads like the plot of a Hollywood thriller. Hailed as the “Chinese Rambo” by netizens, Yang’s diary as a police sergeant on the run has dominated major Chinese internet chat rooms in recent days and captured the attention of millions. The diary begins with a chronological record of corruption and crimes committed by his supervisor, the deputy head of the Huangchuan County Police Department in Henan Province. Then Yang recounts his 12-day-long nightmare as he escaped from detention by his supervisor and embarked on a journey seeking justice while being hunted by his former colleagues.

But despite strenuous efforts by Chinese netizens, who are famous for their ability to track down individuals through the net, there has been little progress in positively identifying Sergeant Yang and verifying the details of the diary. Although some netizens argue that the writing style of the author, with quotes from great writers including Shakespeare, makes it seem more like fiction, the vast majority chooses to accept the story’s authenticity. “I can definitely believe this,” one poster says. “There is nothing more common than this in China.” Many share that opinion. “Have you thought about what’s happening in remote areas of the country if such corruption could take place in a province so close to the central government? Such reality is unavoidable and accepted under China’s current political system. But thanks to the Internet, more and more people are learning about this and are speaking out,” opines one poster.

“Sergeant Yang, I can’t do much to help you, but if you ever see my post, remember at least I will share my place for you to hide”, wrote another emotional poster.

The Internet sentiment seems to be more about shared frustration and indignation at the rampant corruption among Communist Party cadres in China than compassion for an unfortunate victim. Posts suggesting that Yang is probably not innocent himself are simply ignored. And in a rare display of unanimity, posters find themselves agreeing with each other, calling for a thorough investigation into the case and harsher measures to crack down on corruption.

However, it will take more than the central government’s determination and harsher punishments to win the battle against corruption. It has been two years since the arrest of former Shanghai party secretary Chen Liangyu, and high-ranking cadres convicted for corruption no longer make headlines. Yet corruption is so pervasive that President Hu Jintao has made repetitive comments at various occasions stressing the urgency of an anti-corruption campaign.

While it’s hard to envision a total victory over corruption without a fundamental change in the system, the Internet has provided an interesting possibility. Not only do the “powerless” find refuge and support in the cyber space, those with power also find traces of corruption on the web, as long as they are willing to look.

So far Sergeant Yang’s fate still remains unknown and many fear the worst for him if the story is true. Yang also seems to be prepared for the worst. He ended his diary abruptly on Aug.6 with a poem he wrote:

“My dear comrades, don’t hesitate when you fire that shot at me,

For we both know it’s just another order you have to obey.

But do not despair:

Please remember our war against the corrupt will start with my blood!