A procuratorate in southwestern China has attracted wide criticism online after it praised prosecutors in another province for admirably handling the death of a child and delaying pregnancy in order to continue working, The Beijing News reported Friday.
In an article published to its official account on messaging app WeChat, the procuratorate of Qiandongnan prefecture in Guizhou province refers to a prosecutor surnamed Wu in Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang province, who left his 4-year-old son at home alone while he was working overtime. The boy climbed to a windowsill and fell to his death. “Afterward, Wu had just a simple funeral for his son and declined the Party’s offer for him to take some time off,” read the article. “Instead, he rushed right back to work.”
Another public prosecutor in Hangzhou, this one surnamed Wang, was mentioned in the same article for purportedly forgoing a planned pregnancy for months in order to remain active in her work unit.
The article, published Wednesday, could no longer be found on Friday afternoon, though screenshots of the text are being circulated on social media.
After the article was published, its author, surnamed Huang, became aware that the deceased child had not been left at home alone, but in the company of family members, and that the woman who decided to postpone her pregnancy did so for personal as well as professional reasons.
When contacted by The Beijing News on Thursday afternoon, Huang explained that the purpose of the article was to “promote moving stories of prosecutors in Hangzhou.” He added that Wu had indeed been working overtime at the time of the fatal accident, though he admitted that other aspects of the article were perhaps “exaggerated and inaccurate.”
Unamused net users have criticized the article on microblog platform Weibo for its “incorrect values” and “excessive hype.”
“It’s a crime to leave a child alone and cause his death,” read one comment. “Such false values should not be promoted.” Another user, meanwhile, seemed to find fault with both the message and the way in which it was relayed: “The values they are trying to promote are problematic because they add highly colorful details to make it sound as if these people would sacrifice anything for work.”
Other net users were incredulous that the author, who works in the legal field, was apparently incapable of verifying the information he wrote, and as such should be held responsible for his errors. “Huang’s fake stories have had a negative effect on all parties involved,” wrote one Weibo user. “As a prosecutor, he should have fully understood the consequences of spreading false information and rumors.”
Huang told The Beijing News that he lived in Hangzhou to serve a guazhi — a Communist Party cadre’s temporary assignment to another region — and that the article reflected his feelings and experiences while he was stationed in Hangzhou. He was quoted as saying that he had wanted to write something to praise the prosecutors of Hangzhou after witnessing how hard they work.
Sixth Tone was unable to reach the Qiandongnan prefectural procuratorate or the Hangzhou municipal procuratorate for comment on Friday.
However, a prosecutor in Guizhou who specializes in cases involving minors, and who refused to give his name due to the sensitivity of the subject, told Sixth Tone on Friday that the examples found in the article are unworthy of praise, especially given the fact that leaving a child at home is “wrong and unsafe.”
He added that the Guizhou procuratorate was simply trying to lavish praise on its counterpart in Zhejiang — though the effusive flattery appears to have had just the opposite effect.
Editor: David Paulk.
(Header image: A prosecutor stands between two vehicles in Fuzhou, Fujian province, Jan. 6, 2009. Zheng Shuai/VCG)