The Most Awesome Fake Reporter In History

(People Net; People Net)

[in translation]

Fake reporters are rampant in the city of Yuncheng, Shanxi province.  On August 4, inspectors at the Tonghua toll booth on state highway 209 in Wanrong county, Yuncheng city found 19 fake reporters during a three-hour period.  They took away more than 20 press cards that were forged.  In less than a month's time, the Yuncheng Cultural Publishing Bureau caught more than 30 fake reporters.

On August 4, at the Tonghua toll booth on state highway 209, a fake reporter carrying a letter of introduction from "XX Monthly News" caught the attention of the law enforcement personnel.  This individual drove a van and "did not look like a cultured person."  At the toll booth, he produced a letter of introduction and asked for a free pass.  The law enforcement officer went up to examine the letter.  This was a letter from the Hejin office of XX Monthly News' Yuncheng city bureau."  The letter said: "The person named He is proceeding to your location to liaison and manage the editorial, advertisement, distribution and communication relationships."  Since "XX Monthly News" is an illegal publication, the law enforcement officers confiscated the "letter of introduction" immediately.  The driver whined that the letter was purchased from "XX Monthly News" deputy director Feng Jie at a cost of 1,900 yuan "for the purpose of going through toll booths for free."

Based upon the information provided by the driver, the law enforcement officers proceeded to the Hejin office of XX Monthly News' Yuncheng city bureau.  This illegal branch office turned out to be inside the courtyard of the Hejin city traffic police headquarters, and consists of one room which has a bed, a desk and some chairs.  The floor was laden with dust and it was a mess.  The law enforcement officers waited for a long time for Feng Jie to show.  When he did not come, they had to leave while forwarding the information to the Hejin city Cultural Publishing Bureau administrators.

An hour later, a dramatic scene took place.  An imposing middle-aged man came in a Honda car to the Hejin city Cultural Publishing Bureau and "asked to have an interview."  This man said solemnly: "I would like to see how you clean up the cultural market in the city."  This person was Feng Jie.  He was closely followed by a young "female assistant."

When the Yuncheng city Cultural Publishing Bureau law enforcement officers heard that Feng Jie had appeared, they turned around and went to interrogate him.  The female assistant tried to flee in the car, but the law enforcement officers stopped her.  The law enforcement officers then examined the contents in the Honda and they were astonished at the results: there was a dense list of telephone numbers of all the coal mine bosses in Hejin, with annotations as either "visited" or "not yet visited."

Furthermore, there were certain mysterious video tapes containing obscene material.  The "male principal character" on those tapes was Feng Jie, but the female characters varied.  According to Feng Jie's explanation, those females were workers hired by the Hejin office of XX Monthly News' Yuncheng city bureau.

The law enforcement officers were even more astonished at the other material.  According to Yuncheng city Cultural Publishing Bureau inspection team captain Song Xiaochao, "he had three identity kits with his photographs and official seals" -- the press card for XX Monthly News where he works as the news department's deputy director; the press card for XX Herald/Golden Triangle News where he works as a reporter; the press card for "Consumer X News' Chinese Herald To Promote Quality and Combat Contrabands" where he works as a reporter."

"There were also a number of receipts," said Song Xiaochao.  The receipts were almost all written out to various coal mines for various sums of money.  The receipts were dated from April 2006 to now, and totaled more than 100,000 yuan.

Faced with the increasingly "stern" conditions, Feng Jie continued to talk tough.  He passed out Zhonghua cigarettes, but that did not impress the investigators; then he began to rattle off the names of certain well-known persons and claimed that these were all his 'brothers,' but the investigators were unperturbed.  Finally Feng Jie softened and pleaded: "This is just a misunderstanding.  Can we negotiate this?"

In the end, Feng Jie admitted that he wrote the "letter of introduction" and he took 1,900 yuan, but he still insisted: "I am something from a unit.  It is just that I do not have a press card from the General Administration of Press and Publications."  "Feng Jie's so-called unit is an illegal publisher," said the Yuncheng Cultural Publishing Bureau inspectors.  "But Feng Jie used it as the means of swindling and bluffing, for which he had to pay a fee on schedule."  Feng Jie admitted this: "Each month, I turn over 1,500 yuan to headquarters.  The publisher does not give us a cent but they expect us to turn money over to them.  So I must figure out a way to keep the operation going."

The case has been referred to the Hejin Public Security Bureau.  Investigation is continuing at this time.

According to information, 48-year-old Feng Jie has been a "news bureau chief" in Hejin for the past five years.  He is the "most awesome fake reporter" in Yuncheng city.  Feng Jie's press cards were obviously fake to anyone who knows anything about them.  So how could he get away with it?  According to a news industry worker in Hejin who knows Feng Jie, "He was very successful.  After a while, he even began to think that he is a real journalist.  Many bosses prefer to avoid trouble, so people like Feng Jie get spoiled with success."

"There are quite a few fake reporters in Yuncheng, so why are you so famous?"  At the Hejin city detention center, the reporter asked Feng Jie.  Feng Jie made a firm wave of the hand and said: "It is very simple.  You set up the role first and then you conduct your business.  If you play your role well, the money will naturally roll in."  "Is it so easy to get the money from the coal mine bosses?"  Feng Jie replied: "I am totally dedicated to serve the people.  The customer is God.  I will do everything possible to serve their needs."

Feng Jie said that the "Hejin branch office of XX Monthly News's Yuncheng bureau" was established in 2002.  His daily work is to use the XX Monthly News press card to interview the people at the government, procuratorate, court, law enforcement and other departments and then report extensively.  Each special feature caters to the specific preferences of the "clients."  "I'll write whatever they want me to write."  The "clients" are often very satisfied.  "Then the 'red envelops' will naturally come.  I did not extort them.  They are giving them to me voluntarily."

A Hejin boss who had been interviewed by Feng Jie told this reporter bitterly: "They kept calling all day and they hassle you until you give up; if you don't pay them, what if they write negative stuff about you?  You spend a few thousand yuan and you get rid of these pests."

Feng Jie knows that there is a campaign in Yuncheng against "fake reporters."  But he does not believe that is the target of the campaign.  Presently, Feng Jie is under criminal detention on suspicion of committing fraud, but he does not appear to be overly concerned.  Feng Jie told this reporter: "You better not write about this, because I will be out in a few days."  "What are you so sure?"  "We only have a misunderstanding here," said Feng Jie smilingly.  "We are colleagues in the same industry.  Aren't you worried that if you write about this, you may smear all the reporters?" 

Additional Link: QQ runs interactive feature page on the problem of “fake reporters” in China  David Bandurski, CMP