The Story：from a simple mining case to top level corruption
Yulin is a medium-sized city in northern China, about 900 kilometers west of Beijing.
Yulin has been well-known for its coal resources, an estimated reserved volume of 270 billion tonnes.
The 36-year-old veteran Zhao Faqi made his fortune operating a small mine. To test his luck in a more ambitious venture, he had a contract with the local exploration institution to take on a larger mine site.
Out of everyone’s expectations, the new site was found to have a reserve of 1.56 billion tonnes of coal. Zhao Faqi thought he was going to make billions annually.
But the exploration institute and local mining authorities were not happy to let an ordinary veteran to become a billionaire. They recklessly broke the contrast and made another deal with a Hong Kong company. Zhao Faqi thus started a lawsuit against the break-up.
The local court in Sha’anxi province had the fist ruling in favor of Zhao Faqi. Not satisfied with the judgement, the exploration institute brought the case up to the Supreme Court in Beijing who requested a re-investigation.
As it was the case with the evil police system, Zhao Faqi was arrested by local police and detained for 133 days before release after the local court proved his innocence.
By 2018, the case has lasted for 12 years without a final decision. During this period, six provincial governors and three provincial court directors have apparently been involved in a corruption scheme.
Not just that …with the revelation by former CCTV host Cui Yongyuan, the case has come directly to the center of public attention with corruption right in the Supreme Court who had claimed a mysterious disappearance of legal documents related to the case.
Under pressure from the public, CCP leadership has pledged to get to the bottom of the case
The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the Communist Party’s top body on legal affairs, announced Tuesday that it would lead a joint task force with representatives from the anti-corruption watchdog, prosecutors and police to investigate the case, according to South China Morning Post.
“A joint panel has been set up to investigate in accordance with the law and party discipline,” a statement posted on the commission’s website said. “The relevant facts will be made public as soon as they have been confirmed.”
The judge from the Supreme Court in charge of the long-running contract dispute was Wang Linqing.
In 2017, Wang ruled in favour of private businessman Zhao Faqi against the state-owned Xian Institute of Geological and Mineral Exploration, awarding him 13.7 million yuan (US$2 million) compensation.
Wang recorded a video for his innocence, apparently under death threats from his leaders after two of these investigations ended with Huang Songyou and Xi Xiaoming, both vice-presidents of the Supreme Court, being jailed for life for corruption in 2010 and 2017 respectively.
The TV host Cui Yongyuan released a video of a man, believed to be Wang, suggesting that the closed circuit television in the office had been sabotaged.
The scandal generated a heated online debate about how the documents could have gone missing within the tightly guarded compound of the supreme court, and whether it was a deliberate act of sabotage.
In CCP’s legal system, besides the normal set of legal documents recorded for a case, another set of files are kept as attachment. This attachment is generally not made for public view. In the ruling process, these files actually play a more important role as they mainly include directives or instructions from high level CCP leaders.
Between heavens and the earth, there is a balance in the minds of the general public. The top leader of the Supreme Court Zhou Qiang must have been involved in corruption with this case.
That’s why the Supreme Court last month reluctantly nudged its internal disciplinary branch to look into the matter, but only after the huge public outcry following its initial denial that the documents had disappeared.
After the CCP Commission published its announcement on Tuesday, the Supreme Court under its General Secretary Zhou Qiang almost immediately followed with its own statement pledging “absolute support”.
“We welcome insiders such as professor Cui to provide information. If we find that our staff violated the rules and regulations, we will deal with it seriously,” the court said in a statement.
Whether the Commission could get to the bottom of the case and bring all responsible to justice is still a matter of doubt.
Judge disappears after exposing miscarriages of justice
Wang Linqing, the judge from the Supreme Court, has reportedly gone missing after he exposed information about miscarriages of justice in the mining case.
In the video released by Cui Yongyuan on January 2, Wang talked about how his supervisors had actively intervened in the case. Accoring to Wang,, his supervisor Du Wanhua had made three alterations to the verdict by November 2017.
Wang said that when he was handling the case in 2012, Yan Changlin, director of the Supreme People’s Discipline Inspection Office, twice asked him to report to the office. Yan said that “a certain leader” in the Supreme Court was very concerned about the case and asked him to make a decision in favor of Wang Yong’an. The request was rejected by Wang.
After the video release, Wang seemed to have disappeared from public view. And his family could not find him either. A person familiar with Wang said he was last seen in Beijing on Jan. 3, before he was taken to a hotel near the supreme court building by investigators, to be interrogated.
On Jan. 6, Cui wrote on Weibo: “Wang Linqing, please get in touch with me immediately. I want to make sure you are safe.”
In his two videos publicized so far, Wang’s statements have effectively disclosed the misdeeds of six high-level judiciary officials in the Supreme Court.
How the CCP leadership is to justify itself with its so-called rule of law
On Wednesday, Cui Yongyuan tweeted on his Sina Weibo account, “Can thieves enter into the Supreme Court? Even a mouse can not!” He went on to ask the Supreme Court for an explanation.
On Thursday, the Supreme People’s Court denied the missing of files, saying that the verdict had been delivered to the litigants in December 2017 and has been publicized online. The files in the second trial had been preserved in the court’s records division in September 2018, The Beijing News reported.
The court said that accusations that files were missing or stolen was a “rumor,” The Beijing News said.
Cui tweeted again late Saturday on Weibot, “it is a progress from confirming the accusation as a rumor to starting an investigation. I am willing to cooperate and participate in the investigation and let us discover the truth together.”
The posts of Cui quickly made a splash on Chinese social media and triggered wide coverage and media reports into the case.
In November 2006, the local Shaanxi court deemed that Kechley of Zhao Faqi won the case. The exploration institute appealed to the Supreme Court who, in 2009, sending the case back to the provincial court for a retrial, in which the court ordered that the contract was invalid. A chain of corruption has been built in the collaboration.
In December 2017, the case was adjudicated by the Supreme Court. The private entrepreneur finally won the lawsuit and media reports said it was a landmark case of the government ruling the country by law and protecting the property rights of private enterprises. The CCP has always be good at claiming credits to “fulfill its duties”.
But China Central Television (CCTV) reported in early December that the case had been executed by the Shaanxi Provincial High People’s Court for nearly a year without any progress.
Insiders told the China Business Journal that all the files of the second trial were lost in late November 2016, a year before the verdict. Corruption within the local government has caused the loss of files, Zhao Faqi has exposed.
Chinatimes said on Sunday it has received video footage allegedly made by Wang Linqing. Strangely enough, the two surveillance cameras outside his court office were deemed as broken, he said in the video.
China Business Journal reported that after the loss, the Supreme Court had searched for a time and found that the cameras were broken. However, after two years, the court neither reported the theft to the police nor launched an internal investigation. Moreover, the court did not question anybody even though the files are still missing.
Dear readers, do you think the Supreme Court is going to make up more stories to evade justice? I am sure they will.
By Cloudy Seagail and staff writer