The book denounced corruption in the 1950s, when Shaanxi authorities drove hundreds of thousands of peasants to build a dam, apparently pocketing payments. First the author and now book publisher of the title detained. Experts: remove power of arrest from local politicians.
Police in Weinam (Shaanxi) have detained the book publisher Zhao Shun, whose book publishing house in Jiuzhou (Langfang) printed a book that denounces the widespread corruption of local authorities during the construction of the Sanmen Gorge Dam on the Yellow River, in the 50s. This was revealed yesterday Zhou Ze, lawyer for Xie Chaoping , author of the book.
Xie (pictured), in turn, was taken from his home in Beijing on August 19, by police from Shaanxi. He is still in prison, even if he has yet to be officially charged, perhaps for irregular trade.
The book “The Great Migration” reconstructs the story through documents and testimony of local residents, driven from their villages to build the dam, without receiving compensation. The local farmers say that the authorities in Weinan (Shaanxi) expelled them and the book publishers from their land, in their hundreds of thousands, and also pocketed the compensation allocated by the central government. Without land, without money, whole families have had to transfer up to 8 times, looking for a new place to stay, and many starved during the famine of the 1960s.
According to Zhou, the authorities claim Zhao continued to print the book despite it being declared an “illegal publication”. It seems that the Shaanxi police are even investigating several workers in the printing house.
The arrest of the publishers editor has attracted wide criticism and many point out that they now want to prosecute people for having opinions. On the Internet there are many negative but mostly sarcastic comments, like will the police now arrest even the proofreaders and editors of the book.
Zhang Qianfan , professor of law at Beijing University, calls it a “terrible” decision to arrest the editor and suggests removing this power from police and local authorities and to refer such cases to the book publishing offices of the Prosecutor General. “It seems – he says, voicing the general opinion – that officials are trying to hide the truth about allegations of corruption” that are in the book.