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Village informer threatened by official

A TOWNSHIP official who threatened a villager who had tipped off a higher government about his misbehavior has roused public indignation.

The villager, Huang Shouwei, of Tuxiang Town in Chongqing Municipality's Fengjie County has asked the media for protection.

Huang had told the city government that Lei Qingping, dean of the town's Party and administration office, had taken time off work on March 17 to attend a birthday banquet for a former township official, Xinhua reported today.

Though 10 other villagers from Tuxian have assured Xinhua that this was true, Lei denied the charge, saying he had not attended the party and had never threatened Huang.

According to the Xinhua report, a villager surnamed Yang visited Lei's office at noon on March 17 needing Lei's signature on a document, only to find him absent. Yang finally found the official at a birthday banquet for Liu Shuqin, Fuxing Village's former Party secretary.

Liu is under police investigation for misappropriating more than 70,000 yuan (US10,240) from public funds. Huang had earlier tipped off the Chongqing mayor about Liu's alleged activities.

This time, Huang reported Lei to local media.

After learning about the tip-off, Lei visited Huang's home twice on March 18 and 19 and threatened him, Huang said. The official boasted that he was not afraid of publicity because he would never be punished.

Since March 26 Huang has dared not return home to his wife and 1-year-old child, Huang told Xinhua.

Villagers are angry with the official.

"We can't understand why this official is more enthusiastic about the birthday banquet of a former, law-infringing official than the villagers," said Huang Jungang, Tuxiang's accountant.

Tuxiang's current Party secretary, Quan Shu, declined to comment.


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