A reporter claimed Wednesday that police in Langfang, Hebei Province, had threatened him and his family, demanding he delete of an investigative report about local government corruption.
Zhu Ruifeng, a reporter with the Hong Kong-based website rmjdw.com, posted on his sina.com microblog Wednesday morning he entrusted Zhou Ze, a lawyer with Beijing Wentian Law Firm, to represent him "with legal matters once he loses his freedom in the future" since he has been threatened by police from the Langfang Public Security Bureau.
Zhu's website publicized a report on August 17 accusing Liu Guangfu, Beijianta Village's Party Secretary, of hiring criminal organizations and taking bribes under the protection of Li Bo, secretary of the Langfang Party Committee. The report alleged Dong Yuyou, manager of a local cement company, had given two luxury vehicles to Liu at his daughter's wedding.
"The Langfang police took Dong and his wife hostage and got them to beg and threaten me to delete my report about Li's corruption," Zhu told the Global Times Wednesday. "They even went to where my wife works and threatened to arrest me if the report was not removed from the website soon."
According to Zhu, Dong's wife said Dong has been in police custody since August 31 and officials from the Langfang police and the city government came down to Dong's residence and threatened him.
"They said if Dong didn't get me to delete all the accusations about Li in three days, they would come up with something to sentence Dong for least 10 years, "said Zhu.
Neither Dong nor his wife could be reached Wednesday, and Zhu hasn't heard from them since Tuesday night.
The Global Times phoned a number provided by Zhu, who said the number is for a police man who threatened him. A man answered the phone and said he is a police officer, but wouldn't comment on anything else.
"If you guys report any further about the Dong case, we will beat you until your legs are broken," he said before hanging up.
A public relations official, surnamed Zhang, of the Langfang police said they were not aware of the case since it "does not concern the bureau" and refused to confirm the identities of the officers.
"I spent about 15 days interviewing local residents including Dong to confirm everything in the report," said Zhu. "I won't delete it just because 'it would do harm to the government's image' as they said," Zhu added.