If the authorities in Zhangjiachuan thought the arrest of young Yang would chill outside scrutiny, they have been sorely disappointed. In recent days, some of China’s most intrepid journalists have been taking a closer look at what ranks as one of the country’s poorest counties. Bloggers have publicized lavish spending on government buildings, including nearly US$3 million spent on the county’s administrative headquarters, and the extravagant tastes of local civil servants, including the local party boss who was photographed wearing the kind of luxury watch that has felled other officials.
One uncovered old court documents accusing police chief Bai Yongqiang (白永強) of giving 50,000 yuan (US$817 at current exchange rates) in bribes to his former boss between 1995 and 2005. Bai has since been suspended, according to a post on the county government’s Web site on Monday night.
While Xinhua news agency called Bai’s suspension “unrelated” to the boy’s arrest, experts say the intense public scrutiny may have played a role in his release.
Additional reporting by the Guardian