Yesterday, a news report caused a stir on the Internet. In Xigang village, Xushui town, Zhengzhou city, Henan province, a real estate developer had permission to built economic housing. Instead, 12 villas and two mid-rise buildings were erected instead. When the reporter went to investigate, the urban planning department vice director asked him: "Will you speak for the Party? Or will you speak for the people?"
This news report was cross-posted by netizens. Within a single day, the Google/Baidu search results number 1,150,000 already. Many netizens are pushing "Are you going to speak for the Party or the people?" as a popular saying of 2009, and to name the vice director as "The official who dares the most to speak the truth during 2009."
(China National Radio)
Mr. Song is a resident of Xigang village, Xushi town. In 2004, the Zhengzhou city government assigned 41.761 mu of village land for the Henan Tianyong Real Estate Development Company to build economic housing. Indeed, the land use permit stipulates "economic housing." Several years have elapsed and the Henan Tianyong Company has constructed 12 villas and two mid-rise buildings there. Mr. Song said: "The mid-rise buildings are more than 200 square meters in area while the villas are more than 300 square meters in area. Construction is now completed. The units are not being sold publicly. Instead it is a black box operation. The price is more than 4,000 RMB per square meter. He is going to make 100 million RMB, which is twice as much as he would make if he had build economic housing."
Mr. Song has reported the situation to the relevant government departments. He said that many departments were interested, but the Zhengzhou city urban planning department was very cool. So the reporter went to visit the Zhengzhou city urban planning department while bringing the material prepared by Mr. Song.
When the reporter got there, he was told that even though this was a petition day, nobody was there. A worker said, "If you have business, you should go to the Information Office. Alright? The petition is not for outsiders. Our department requires that all news gathering be handled by the Information Office. Alright?"
So the the reporter called the Information Office and was told that everybody is out of the office. After more travails, the reporter eventually came to the office of Lu Jun, the vice-director in charge of petitions. When Lu Jun saw the name of Mr. Song on the petition material, he immediately asked to inspect the recording equipment used by the reporter. After pulling off the microphone, his first words were: "What is your radio network minding such a trivial matter?"
When the reporter asked him to comment on the petition materials, this vice director posed a question instead. He said: "Are you prepared to speak for the Party? Or are you prepared to speak for the common folks?" The reporter found it hard to understand, because everybody knows that the media are the mouthpiece of the Party and the government, which are there to serve the people. As such, the interests of the Party and the people are identical. So why does this vice director think that the Party and the people are opposite sides? When the reporter asked him for additional explanation on what he just said, the vice director said: "I don't know about this case. This is the first time that I met you, and it is the first time that I heard about this case. Let me figure this out first. I can turn this case over the relevant department to handle."
So vice director Lu Jun took out a pen and wrote down: "The petition office please handle" at the spot which already has the seal of the Zhengzhou city urban planning department petition office.
Mr. Song said that the villagers had given up the land to help needy people to get low-cost housing. But things have turned out differently and they will pursue this matter. "The government policy is supposed to benefit people. But the people did not get any benefits. Instead, the real estate developer is getting the rich. The people and the nation both suffer losses. We the villagers are determined to pursue this to the very end, and make sure that the houseless people in Zhengzhou will benefit. We will not stop until we reach this goal."
(Zhengzhou.gov.cn) Here is the biography of vice director Lu Jun.
(Cat898 Forum) This photo was promptly spotted by a netizen as a PhotoShop on the photo of some more prominent person (see news.163.com). Lu Jun may now be a lot bigger trouble than before.
Here is the real Lu Jun at a conference.