China to protect whistleblowers exposing corruption

China to protect whistleblowers exposing corruption
Chinese authorities have said, for the first time, that whistleblowers will receive legal protection amid the country’s ongoing fight against corruption.

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the country’s top prosecuting body, said in a Tuesday statement that new regulations outline legal rights for those exposing corruption and other malpractice. It urged people to file their reports via official channels and do it in a “lawful manner” without falsifying the truth.

"The 'regulations governing the work of whistleblowers' require that when the prosecutor's office receives a whistleblowing report from someone giving their real name, it has to assess the risks from the whistleblowing and develop whistleblower protection plans when necessary to prevent and end acts of retaliation against the whistleblowers," Reuters quotes the reported statement.

Last year the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection [the party’s anti-corruption watchdog] launched a new website for whistleblowers. The party also appealed for citizens to report on wrongdoing via a telephone hotline set up by the government. However, authorities don’t provide legal protection to those who make revelations outside government channels. For example, via Chinese social networks or in the mainstream media.

President Xi Jinping has made battling corruption one of the Communist party’s priorities since he took office in 2012. However, the idea of tackling malpractice through whistleblowing has the public suspicious that complaints will be ignored, and there are fears of arrests and further attacks on online whistleblowers.

In mid-October, a Chinese investigative journalist who wrote critical reports on a state-controlled construction equipment maker was sentenced to prison for defamation and bribery.

Since the latest anti-corruption campaign began, several bloggers who posted their allegations online have faced abuse and harassment.

Reuters reported that blogger Li Jianxin was stabbed in the face in July, blinded in his right eye by two unidentified men, who also splashed acid on his back.

Li Jianxin, a blogger and online whistleblower, lies on a bed waiting for a fourth operation at a hospital in the southern Chinese city of Huizhou, Guangdong province July 23, 2013. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)