The curious case of a man arrested for downloading porn and its link with a local police-marfia scandal

Alia | June 19th, 2012 - 10:53 pm

This wasn’t the first case in China where men were arrested for downloading porn or watching porn at home, but this is the first case where people bother to do some digging. Then a scandal potentially involving the local police force was exposed.

According to an article on China Daily, on June 13, Mr. Gu in Qianguo county, Jilin province, posted online that “three policemen came to his house on March 22 and took him with his computer to the police station for investigation.” The police then found “95 porn videos in his computer.” As a result, he was “detained 15 days and fined 3,000 yuan ($471) for downloading pornographic videos to his home computer” and his computer was also confiscated because it was a “criminal article.”

The news hit national headlines and became one of the Top Trending Topics on Sina Weibo after Gu filed applications for a reconsideration of the punishments tolocal county court. The case was already revolved by now. Local police issued an official apology to Gu. His computer and fines were returned. He was also given an undisclosed amount to compensate for what he’s been through.  And the police officer who handled his case was suspended from his post. But this is far from the end of the story.

The first question people asked is: “Does downloading porn to one’s own computer violate the law.” The answer is “maybe.” The China Daily article cited the following article 68 for Gu’s punishment:

“According to Article 68 of the Public Security Administration Punishment Law of the People’s Republic of China, “Those who produce, transport, copy, sell or rent obscene books, pictures, video, and audio or use computer information network, telephone and other communication tools to disseminate obscene information, will be detained for 10 to 15 days and fined 3,000 yuan.”

Many reports have argued that the Article only regulates “dissemination” and that downloading for personal use, thought may violate copyright law, has nothing to do the the Article 68. But legal questions are the real focus of the story.

The more important question is “Why this man?” If this man in Jilin with a few porn in his computer was rightfully given a 15-day detention and 3000 yuan fine, then probably all men aged 15 and above (or even younger) in China deserve some jail time. Sometimes in China, things are never what they look like on the surface. Well…this story is a perfect example.

Gu himself revealed to journalists that he was first taken for investigation after he forwarded a picture on Baidu Tieba, an online BBS powered by Baidu. The police asked for his QQ ID (QQ is the No. 1 IM tool in China) and Baidu Tieba ID and asked whether the picture was shared by him. It was until after the interrogation on the picture did the police found the porn videos on his computer. The picture in question has a young man wearing sunglasses and carrying a long hacking knife….sitting on a police car.

According to a report by South China Metropolis Daily, the police car in the picture belongs to chief of police at Shanjingzi County. Somehow the picture caught the attention of “someone above” and the police chief was removed due to the picture.

To make things more dramatic, netizens on Tianya, China’s most dynamic BBS, dug out some interesting facts about He Liang, the police officer who handled Gu’s case and gave him the punishment. According to some screen shots, He Liang has a company registered with 10 million yuan and 4 to 5 properties on the market for rent. He also contracted for a few construction projects, run a construction vehicle rental business and was involved in projects that deal with thousands of acres of land. Was he somehow related to the guy in the picture? How about the police chief who has been removed? There are no answers as of yet. But the moment He Liang’s background was exposed, netizens have label him as a “corrupted to the bone “ officer and the local police as “evil than mafia” force.

A company with 10 million registered capital under the police officer

Property under his name for rent

Construction team under his name

Will there be more scandalous stories of why a gunster was posing on a police car for picture and lead to the detention of a man who loves porn? We don’t know. It’s already a scary enough story so far.

Related posts:

Cows by Chinese scientists that is capable of producing human milk.
Pictures from lost phone of a Chinese gangster: Cash stacks, Porsches and LV
Another reason why you need to know chemistry in China
In China, Little happiness matters
A look back at China’s National Party Congress since 1992, with different keywords
The good thieves of China

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