Websites: Tell us Who you Bribed

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Three websites that plan to handle bribery reports from the public have recently gone  online, according to Xinhua:

The meaning is the same in each case – “I paid a bribe”. Several Chinese websites reported the appearance of these websites, which are said to be modelled after I Paid a Bribean Indian website based in Bangalore.

Xinhua also reported the story, republished on Monday by China National Radio (CNR), at least on its website, if not on the air. According to Xinhua, the three Chinese websites were a reaction to previous media coverage on the Indian website. The founder and operator of woxinghuile, who names himself Xiao Xiaosheng  (笑笑生), told the press that he just gave it a try, as there hadn’t been too many Chinese websites around before.

The inspirational Indian website had received more than ten thousand complaints within less than a year, and had helped the Indian government to punish more than twenty officials, “Xiao” said. He had promoted his own website through the Chinese Weibo microblogging service (微博), and had counted some 50,000 hits or visits within two days.

However, CNR also quotes voices within the public saying that the big question would be how to avoid spreading rumors, slander, and false information (有舆论认为此类网站将面对的一大问题就是如何规避造谣诽谤,传播不实信息), and “Xiao’s” reply that so far, there was no good method to handle the problem. Users had been asked not to mention officials by name when posting, but “Xiao” acknowledged that this still wouldn’t solve the problem.

It may be for this reason that reports by CNR, Phoenix, etc. contain no links to the websites in question.  Baike writes that woxinghuile won’t be in full operation before July 1. In another entry, Baike quotes from netizens’ misgivings, such as the commercialization of the complaint process, as the right to post might come with costs, or that spreading false rumors could lead to the closure of such websites. The capability of the webmasters to investigate reported cases the way authorities or journalists could was also questioned.

But while “we don’t have the authority and ability to verify these matters, the relevant authorities could provide contacts (对接), which could be reached through our website”, CNR quotes “Xiao”.

Addressing netizens’ concerns that websites like his may soon be banned, “Xiao” expressed the belief

that the government will support us, because combatting corruption is a necessity for the people and the party. It is for building the country and society in a better way, and if the Indian minister of communications can become a fan of such a page, why shouldn’t we, the people of China, not see our efforts against  corruption grow in the daylight? (我认为政府会支持我们的,反腐也是人民和党的需要,是为了把国家和社会建设地更好,印度交通部部长都可以成为印度反腐网站的粉丝,那么我们中国人民的反腐斗争为什么就不能生长在阳光下呢?)

Custer of ChinaGeeks is less optimistic. He dug up another anti-corruption website – HE Took Bribes (他受贿了) on Sunday and recommended to “check it out while you can, because I can’t imagine this is going to last long. Apparently, He-Took-Bribes will receive complaints or reports by e-mail and verify, before publishing the stories in question (see commenter thread there).


The Center Forever, no Lofty Ideas, March 13, 2011
Definition: Civil Internet Use, December 19, 2010

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