China media: Whistleblowers

Image caption,
Liu Tienan's sacking comes amid a high-profile crackdown on corruption

Calls to protect whistleblowers are growing louder in the media, as another senior official is sacked on corruption charges.

Liu Tienan, former deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency, has been sacked from the ruling Communist Party and from public office over alleged abuse of power and bribe-taking, reports say.

Last December, Luo Changping, deputy editor of Beijing business magazine Caijing, used his real name on the internet to expose Mr Liu's alleged corruption and his false academic degree in December.

"Liu's downfall again testified to the power of real-name tip-offs in combating corruption and such practices should be encouraged and protected," comments the official Xinhua news agency.

Until March of this year, Mr Liu was also head of China's energy regulatory body, the National Energy Administration.

"The real-name whistle-blowing against Liu Tienan was dismissed as 'rumours' by the National Energy Administration a few months ago," recalls the Qianjiang Evening News in its call for an answer into the alleged cover-up.

In other news, an insider tells Hong Kong's South China Morning Post that Beijing has intervened to ensure that a controversial mining rights deal at the heart of whistleblowers' corruption allegations against state-run China Resources Power (CRP) is completed "within 20 days".

The whistleblowers - Li Jianjun, a former mainland journalist, and Wang Wenzhi, a reporter with the Economic Information Daily newspaper - alleged on their verified, real-name microblogs that CRP's acquisition of a Shanxi-based coal company in 2010 was fraudulent.

On Wednesday, former CRP chairman Song Lin dismissed the allegations as "pure slander". The firm also rejects the allegations. Mr Song is now the chairman of state-backed China Resources (Holdings), the parent firm of CRP.

'Whistleblowers are unique'

Back on the mainland Gao Qinrong, a whistleblower journalist, has posted an online will in desperation over receiving repeated "death threats".

Gao Qinrong exposed Zhang Yan, nicknamed Shanxi's "housing daughter-in-law", as well as her family for allegedly owning multiple properties under false identities,

"Whether open or hidden, retaliation against whistle-blowers is a provocation against the law, and cannot be tolerated by the rule of law and civilisation. Given the current grim state of combating corruption, the protection of informers has a particular relevance and should be taken seriously," says the Guangzhou Daily.

Mr Gao was previously jailed for eight years after exposing how officials arranged a fake irrigation project to boost their promotion prospects in his home province of Shanxi in 1998.

"Whistleblowers such as Gao Qinrong are unique in the world... People with a sense of justice sincerely hope that his personal safety can be protected and hope he will not suffer a second jail term for combating corruption... A 'Whistleblower Protection Act' should be formulated," comments the China Youth Daily.

Ms Zhang and her family members have been "under investigation" since January this year, reports say.

Meanwhile, an unidentified blogger surnamed Chen who posted an online video of Shanghai court officials allegedly soliciting prostitutes at a hotel resort nightclub tells China Youth Net he has also been receiving threatening phone calls warning him "not to make more trouble".

Elsewhere, the Global Times says Yang Qiongwen, a Southern Report journalist who first blew the whistle on a primary school principal and a government official raping six primary school students in Hainan, has posted a microblog post saying he wants to quit because of "pressure" from local officials. The post has now been deleted.

And finally, the Southern Metropolis Daily says police have found twin newborn baby girls allegedly sold to human traffickers by a hospital doctor surnamed Zhang in Fuping county in Shaanxi province. They were rescued from neighbouring Shanxi province and eastern Shandong province respectively.

Another newborn boy, allegedly sold by the same doctor, was rescued in central Henan province on Sunday.

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