Reporters Without Borders today said it “firmly condemned” the sanctions taken against Zhuang Daohe, who has received no pay for seven months and has been suspended from his editorial job at the Zhejiang University publishing house in southeastern China for writing a book about the way the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) disciplines its members.
“These sanctions were probably imposed by the authorities in Beijing, who do not seem to appreciate having the ins-and-outs of their disciplinary system being revealed to the general public,” the press freedom organisation said. “This case once again shows the authorities cannot stand anyone tackling politically sensitive issues.”
Zhuang’s book, entitled “A compilation of investigative essays on supervision” (Jijian zhuanti yanjiu wenlun xuanji), was about the so-called “double regulations” (shuanggui) applied by the CPC’s disciplinary committee, under which party members can be arbitrarily summoned, isolated, held for interrogation and made to confess to breaching party discipline, especially in cases of alleged corruption or failure to adhere to the party’s political line. The book was a critical success in the press and on the Internet, but was withdrawn from sale in January.
In an article posted on 22 August, the Boxun website said Zhuang’s employers told him in a letter on 19 June that he was being suspended for serious misconduct because he did not respect publication procedures. Reached by Radio Free Asia, Zhejiang University said the suspension would last at least a year.
Officially, Zhuang was censored for failing to heed directives from his superiors (who found the content of his book to be inappropriate), allegedly imitating his superior’s signature in order to get the book approved, and violating the “Regulations on the Protection of Secrets in the Publication of Information,” a State Secrecy Bureau law controlling publications that tackle politically sensitive subjects.
Zhuang insists that all the various requirements as regards correction, editing and approval were adhered to before his book was published.