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Protective shields for gangsters must be ripped away

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-28 07:07


ON TUESDAY, the results of the investigation into the case of Deng Shiping, a 53-year-old teacher in Huaihua, Hunan province, whose body was discovered buried in a local schoolyard, were released. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

In June, the remains of a body were dug up from a playing field at Xinhuang No 1 Middle School in Huaihua, a city in Hunan, after a tipoff from a suspect in another case. DNA tests showed the remains were those of Deng's who had gone missing 16 years ago. Before his disappearance, Deng, who had been assigned to oversee the school's construction, wrote to the education authority alleging that the work-led by Du Shaoping-was substandard.

According to the local government's news release, Du and another suspect Luo Guangzhong, have been charged with Deng's murder.

But justice means more than punishing those who may have murdered Deng with their own hands. According to reports, after Deng went missing, his family called the police but they dragged their feet, stalling an investigation. Even after Deng's daughter offered clues suggesting Deng might have been buried in the schoolyard by Du and his gang, the local officials did not take action to verify whether it was true or not.

Instead, some local officials were suspected of helping Du avoid investigation. Had the central inspection team sent to root out organized crimes in the province not arrived in Huaihua this year, Deng's daughter might still have been unable to seek justice for her father.

That 19 local government staff are to be punished for their roles in covering up Deng's death, of whom 10 have been arrested and could face criminal charges, shows the inspection team has done its job well. Some of the 19 officials might have intentionally covered up what happened, while some might have just failed to do their duty in probing Deng's disappearance. But it is fair to say each of them has blood on his or her hands. Had they acted as they should, Deng's body would not have lain under the schoolyard for 16 years until justice finally arrived.

Gangsters are weak compared with the police. Usually it is corrupt local officials, of which some might be corrupt police officers, that render support to the gangsters that enable the gangsters to commit their crimes.

Corrupt officials who act as protective shields for gangsters must also be rooted out. Only in this way can justice truly be done.

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