Zhu Ruifeng, the whistle-blower who exposed the sex video scandal that has toppled 11 officials in Chongqing, claimed recently that he has more sex tapes incriminating another five high-ranking officials. Zhu then claimed to have turned away five police officers who demanded he hand over the evidence, leaving the public impressed with the fact that the police are confronting him. He even displayed his willingness to continue to battle the police "with wits and courage" during a Weibo interview.
Another whistle-blower, Xu Jiguang, went to Chongqing last November after the sex video scandal was exposed. At that time, many spread rumors online that Ji was controlled by the police, which later turned out to be untrue. The recent speculation concerning Zhu is similar to that around Xu.
Chongqing has publicly disciplined the 11 officials involved in the sex video scandal and the local authorities demonstrated a cooperative attitude to public supervision. There is no evidence to suggest that the police are likely to "take actions against" these whistle-blowers. Despite this, many suspicions linger on the Internet.
This is the reality of public opinion in China. The whistle-blowers lead the direction of media reports, and many people readily believe their narrative while rarely reflecting on why the authorities are staying silent or keeping a low profile.
Zhu refused to hand over the evidence he claimed to have. Such a thing is inconceivable in a country with sound rule of law. It may be unique to China at its current development stage. China's politics is making progress but is still immature, and the expression of public opinion on the Internet is open but somewhat disorderly. The government's ability to handle problems under complicated circumstances is being challenged.
The lack of government credibility affects the handling of nearly every controversial issue in China. Questioning the government has been highly spoken of online, which influences the way activists express their opinions on controversial issues.
The Chongqing sex video scandal has dealt a heavy blow to Chinese society and severely damaged the image of Chinese officials. The Chongqing authorities decisively punished the officials involved, but the latest statements by Zhu challenge the public's impression of this. Public opinion in the Internet era is shaped quickly, which requires the government to respond to public suspicions sincerely and actively.
Fighting corruption has become the common goal of all Chinese. It requires the public and officials to enhance mutual trust and coordination. The sex video scandal should promote progress in this direction. Under the current situation, patience and carefulness on the government side are more important. It should also be more transparent, which will increase its credibility.