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Man detained for alleged libel released amid public furor

12-02-2010 21:54 BJT

YINCHUAN, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- A man who exposed an employment scandal involving an official's son was detained for more than a week on libel charges but was released late Wednesday amid public anger that flooded Chinese media this week.

Wang Peng, a public library worker in northwest China's Gansu Province, said he would resort to law to safeguard his legitimate rights.

"I was wrongly detained and hope police authorities would remedy the damages already done to my reputation," he said in his hotel room Wednesday night, after he was released from a detention center in Wuzhong City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Wang was taken away from his office in Gansu's provincial capital Lanzhou by policemen from Wuzhong City on Nov. 23.

An officer surnamed Shi at the public security bureau in Ningxia's Wuzhong City said Wang was detained for "seriously undermining national interest and disrupting social order."

On a document that police showed Wang's father, Wang Zhichang, however, the reason for the detention was "libel".

Wang Peng, a graduate of Lanzhou University, wrote an anonymous letter to the human resources authority in Ningxia in 2007, saying his roommate, Ma Jingjing, might have cheated in that year's civil servant recruitment exam.

Wang and Ma were both Chinese language and literature majors graduating in 2007.

The letter said Ma had a poor academic record and failed many tests. But strangely, he scored the highest among nearly 500 candidates who applied for a government post in Ningxia's capital Yinchuan.

The letter was addressed to the State Administration of Civil Service, Ministry of Supervision, and the Yinchuan municipal committee of the Communist Youth League where Ma got the much-coveted job.

Ma's parents were allegedly senior officials in Ningxia and might have used their power to secure the job for him, Wang said.

Ma's father Ma Chonglin is deputy chief of Ningxia's poverty relief office and his mother, Ding Lanyu, is a top official in Wuzhong. Neither could be found for an interview Thursday.

Seeing his complaint was never addressed, Wang wrote more letters and posted some of them online, an act that eventually led to his detention, as a police officer in Wuzhong explained Wednesday.

After Wang was detained, his father Wang Zhichang left his home province of Jiangsu for Wuzhong last Thursday, but fled for Beijing two days later, saying he, too, was under police surveillance.

"I even received a call from police in my hometown, saying I was wanted by authorities in Ningxia," he said.

The father said Wang had been telling the truth. "He had a hard time sharing a dorm with Ma, who played computer games till after midnight and always turned on the sound volume to the maximum."

He said Wang and Ma used to quarrel over such issues, until Wang moved out from the dorm and rent a room near the university.

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