Netizen Arrested For Re-posting A Report
(Beijing News) Re-posting "Collusion Between Government and Pharmaceutical Company" Essay Ruined My Life. April 9, 2007.
On April 26, 2006, Zhang Zhijian (an R&D worker with a pharmaceutical company) was taken away by the Haikou city Baoshui district public security and placed under detention. In the <Notice of Detention>, the reason given was "suspecion of damaging commercial reputation." In the ensuing interrogation, Zhang learned that he was detained on account of an essay. On March 20, he had re-posted an Internet essay about collusion between Kongliyuan Enterprises and officials in the State Food and Drug Administration, and the company had filed a complaint against him.
Q: How did you come across this essay?
A: I had gone down to the Hainan Provincial Food and Drug Administration on business that day, and I heard that the State Food and Drug Administration's drug registration department's former chief Cao Wenzhuang had been arrested on bribery charges. Since I worked in the industry, I paid attention to this news. When I went back, I got on the Internet to look for reports related to this case. From Google, I found an essay entitled <Concerning Kongliyuan being suspected of offering huge bribes to SFDA's Cao Wenzhuang>. Since Kongliyuan is a Hainan-based enterprise, I checked it out. The content described how many new drugs Kongliyuan registered each year, the number of approvals that it received each year and the dealings of Cao Wenzhuang with other persons.
Q: Why did you re-post this essay?
A: I re-posted it to the Little Wood Worm website and the Dingxiang Website. These two websites are specialized websites for people in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Industry workers will post relevant information, policies and news on the website. After I read this essay, I saw that it has not yet been re-posted on those two forums. So I re-posted it to see what people think.
Q: Did you think the contents of the essay are true?
A: Based upon my understanding of this industry, I feel that it is basically true. When I think about Kongliyuan's speed and number for the reviews, they lead the nation. In truth, they don't have the ability to do so. From my professional view, I feel that the contents of this essay should be correct.
Q: Do you regret your action now?
A: A bit. I never imagined that it would lead to such consequences. I used to like to visit Internet forums. I no longer have the inclination. I rarely get on the Internet nowadays.
[In the indictment document of the Longhua People's Procuratorate of Haikou city, Hainan province: Zhang Zhijian thought that Hainan Kongliyuan Enterprises researched and developed too many new drugs each year and wanted to stop the sales growth of Kongliyuan ... he found an essay entitled <Concerning Kongliyuan being suspected of offering huge bribes to SFDA's Cai Wenzhuang> ... this led to serious consequences.]
Q: On the day when you were detained, did you know that it was for that essay?
A: I felt very confounded. On the morning of April 26 last year, two police officers came to the police to inspect everybody's computers. At the time, I was on Little Wood Worm and Dingxiang. They took a look at my computer -- the user name and websites were all the right ones. Then they asked me: "Did you commit any crimes?"
Q: How did you respond?
A: I was astonished. I never even thought about the re-post. Later, they took me away. I learned that they wrote a letter to our company to say that our company was suspected of damaging commercial reputation.
Q: How did they verify that you re-posted the essay?
A: I signed in using my own name and I re-posted using the company computer. The IP address belonged to our company. I learned later that they had been investigating the company's marketing department the day before.
Q: What is the basis for saying that you damaged commercial reputation?
A: After I was detained, they interrogated me. They wanted me to admit that our company made me do it for the reason of stopping the business of Kongliyuan. They even asked me whether the company promised to promote me to manager after bringing down Kongliyuan.
Q: Did you think about doing that?
A: If I thought about doing that, I would not have signed in from the office using my real name. Besides, our company is the subsidiary of an Italian-capital company. We made medicine in solid form while Kongliyuan made mostly powder medicine. We didn't have any product lines in common.
Q: Did this post really affect the reputation of Kongliyuan?
A: I don't know. I only know that when the re-posted essay was published, the former State Medical Equipment Agency director Hao Heping had been detained and the news that the registration department director Cao Wenzhuang is being interrogated was public news. This post had been read by just over 60 people. The forums carry specialist information. Consumers and distributors do not go there. The visitors are mostly pharmaceutical production and quality control technicians. I don't think that this number of hits could have any impact on product sales.
Q: Were you the only one who re-posted this essay?
A: Of course not. At the interrogation, I saw that the public security bureau had found twenty to thirty websites and forums around the country which had re-posted this essay. They had detailed information about the Internet bar, IP address, the location and so on. I don't know why I was the only person who was picked up.
Q: And then you were detained?
A: Yes. It was criminal detention. The reason was "suspected of damaging commercial reputation."
Q: Did you sign an admission?
Q: At the time, I was given a document to sign. I remembered that there was a sentence to the effect that I had admitted that I "maliciously" attacked Kongliyuan. I did not feel that I made any such attack, so I refused to sign. They then changed "maliciously" to "re-posted an essay on the Internet."
[On June 1, 2006, approval was given for the arrest of Zhang Zhijian. The Haikou Baoshui district public security bureau twice asked the procuratorate to file charge but the requests were returned for further investigation. On July 24, 2006, Zhang Zhijian's case was referred to the procuratorate. On December 20, 2006, the prosecutor charged him with "damaging commercial reputation."]
Q: At the time, what did you think about your action?
A: I knew that it is a serious offense to commit a crime. But I did not feel that this was what I did. I believe that the law is just, that the investigation will show that, and I will be out in three or four days.
Q: So what happened afterwards?
A: On the third day, I was notified that my detention has been extended for thirty days. I also consulted the <Criminal Law Code>, <Laws For Prosecuting Crimes> and related legal explanations. Based upon my situation, I had no subjective intent. I did not write the essay. The contents had not been established as false. I believed that the procuratorate would be very careful in approving arrest.
Q: Were more notes taken?
A: On the fifteenth day after I went in, I was interrogated once more. The contents of the notes were basically the same. They still wanted me to admit that the company made me do it. As for the motive, they wanted me to admit that I wanted to bring down Kongliyuan. As for the re-posting, they used an example -- a girl had just been raped by the roadside and you raped her again. Isn't that rape as well?
Q: And then?
A: They did not interrogate me anymore. I thought that the procuratorate would not approve the arrest. The militia police in charge and my fellow detainees did not think so either. On the thirty-seventh day that I was inside, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, my status was changed from criminal detention to formal arrest.
Q: At the time, did you feel that you would be released quickly?
A: I was despondent. How can they come to a conclusion that completely ignored my explanation? As time went on, I eased up. There was nothing that I can do except to hold on.
Q: Did you contact Kongliyuan?
A: My elder brother said that he contacted Kongliyuan and asked for a private settlement. But Kongliyuan was very firm and made three demands. First of all, my parents had to go to Hangzhou to apologize in person to Zhejiang Kongliyuan Enterprises; second, I had to personally admit fault on the Internet in order to clear out the impact; thirdly, they said that they wanted us to compensate them with 100,000 RMB for their expenses.
[On January 12, 2007, former State Food and Drug Administration director Zheng Xiaoyu was placed under the "double regulations." The Central Disciplinary Committee established a special case squad to investigate the "transactions" between Kongliyuan and the State Food and Drug Administration officials. Upon learning that Zhang Zhijian was arrested for exposing the transactions between the two sides, the Central Disciplinary Committee people flew down to Hainan to meet with Zhang Zhijian. Less than two weeks after the meeting, the procuratorate withdrew the charge. On February 6, the Haikou People's Court declared that the procuratorate has withdrawn the charge due to a change in the evidence and this request has been approved.]
Q: Did the Central Disciplinary Committee people come to see you?
A: Yes. On January 24, the Central Disciplinary Committee's "1.12" investigative squad came to Hainan to learn about my case.
Q: What were they mainly trying to learn?
A: They asked me whether I have any evidence on how the Kongliyuan Enterprise bribed and colluded with State Food and Drug Administration leaders. They said that I can tell the truth without fear because many Kongliyuan and State Food and Drug Administration people have been arrested. If I have any concrete evidence, I should give it to them. But I really didn't have anything. I didn't know the inside story of the transactions. I only talked to the Central Disciplinary Committee about my story of the re-posting and the things that happened around it.
Q: Did you talk about anything else?
A: The Central Disciplinary Committee people let me analyzed the possible problems at Kongliyuan from a professional point of view. I worked in the industry and I was in Hainan. I said that Kongliyuan had more than 100 new drugs approved each year. Based upon the human resources, materials and capital, this was impossible to achieve. There had to be some deals going on in there.
Q: What was the final decision of the court?
A: On February 26 this year, the court judged that there were material changes in the evidence and the procuratorate had requested the case be withdrawn. So the case was withdrawn.
Q: How did you feel when you learned the news?
A: I was innocent to begin with. Why did they deal with me that way? I'm just an ordinary worker. I am not a company president or a department manager. I have nothing personal against Kongliyuan. I only re-posted an essay on the Internet. I don't know why they defined that as a criminal offense.
[On the day when the court judgment was rendered on February 6, Zhang Zhijian was approved for bail. At this time, he had spent more than nine months in the detention center. During this time, his contract with his old company had expired. Since he could not sign again, he lost his job. Presently, he still has the status of a criminal suspect.]
Q: How do you live without a job?
A: I am relying on family support. In 2005, I borrowed money to buy an apartment in Haikou. I moved in last January. After three months, I was locked up. The loan payment amounts to more than 1,000 RMB per month. I had planned to get married in October 2006. I have to revise my plans.
Q: It disrupted your plans?
A: I feel that my entire life has been disrupted. I am 30 years old. I have worked in Hainan for five years. I bought an apartment. I intended to live here my whole life. I don't want to be rich. I only want stability. But even something that I had already gotten has become a luxury dream now.
Q: Why won't you stay in Hainan?
A: My current status is criminal suspect. Who is going to hire me? How will people look at me? The law has not yet given me a clear answer as to whether I am guilty or not. Kongliyuan has ceased production and its workers are looking for new jobs. Some people say that it was all my fault, that I caused it. This creates a great deal of pressure on me.
Q: What do you plan to do next?
A: I want a clear statement. If I am innocent, I want state compensation.
Q: Have you applied yet?
A: On March 26, I formally submitted a <Legal Opinion> to the Haikou city Longhua district People's Court. I asked the Longhua district procuratorate to immediately render a decision not to prosecute in order to terminate the complaint process. I also asked for state compensation for my more than nine months in jail and to restore my reputation.
(Southern Metropolis Daily) July 21, 2007.
For re-posting an Internet essay that exposed collusion between government officials and a pharmaceutical company, Zhang Zhijian was wrongfully detained by the Haikou city Lunghua district judicial unit for more than nine months . Yesterday, he received state compensation amounting to more than 2.4 million yuan.
Zhang Zhijian was placed under criminal detention on April 26, last year. His troubles were due to an Internet essay that he re-posted. This essay revealed tht Zhejiang Kongliyuan Investment Group boss Tang Xudong held improper relationships with various state workers including the National Drug Supervisory Administration's former director Zheng Xiaoyu. Thus, Kongliyuan Investment Group's Haikou Kongliyuan Pharmaceutical Company had extraordinary ability to get new medicine approved.
While Zhang Zhijian was under wrongful detention, Haikou Kongliyuan Pharmaceutical Company CEO Tang Xudong was taken away by the Central Disciplinary Committee in November 2006 to assist in an investigation. About two months later, Zheng Xiaoyu was placed under "double regulations." But the case of "Zhang Zhijian damaging the reputation of a business" proceeded for the first trial at the Lunghua district People's Court on January 9th. On July 10 this year, when the former National Drug Supervisory Administration's former director Zheng Xiaoyu was executed for his crimes, the Lunghua district procuratorate informed Zhang to get his state compensation. Yesterday afternoone, 2.4 million yuan in state compensation was transferred into Zhang Zhijian's bank account. However, the procuratorate has not provided any written document to Zhang Zhijian about the state compensation.