Archive for day January 16th, 2014

Silencing in China

Zhou Kehua Case

Photo provided by China’s Ministry of Public Security

Zhou Kehua is a 42-year old Chongqing native, who was wanted in connection with multiple robberies and murders across southern China since 2004, including one Chongqing police officer. In the U.S. we usually go end up at the “why did they do that” question, especially after a year. However, a quick look into Zhou Kehua shows articles that predominantly speak to his elusiveness, some mention the victims or the methods, but compared to the amount of time that is spent on detailing police effort to catch Zhou Kehua. Since the death of the Zhou Kehua news reports mainly focus on the manhunt that led to the death, the actual death itself, and the suspicions that surround the case. One such suspicion is actually related to a photo of Zhou Kehua’s possessions being collected by police officer. This photo has apparently stirred talks on the internet based on four points: no gloves were worn when collecting evidence; using a normal plastic bag, instead of a special evidence bag; the tattoos on both arms raise questions of the person’s actual identity; and, the person wearing sandals and bracelets to a crime scene to collect evidence does not appear to be appropriate work attire.

However, I would like to focus on another article that I found on CDT that talks about what is referred to as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth”. Rather than trying to think of a way to define this term I will simply provide what the passage from the article (also it reminds me very much of an opening for an episode of Law and Order):

The following example of censorship instructions, issued to the media and/or Internet companies by various central (and sometimes local) government authorities, has been leaked and distributed online. Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to those instructions as “.” CDT has collected the selections we translate here from a variety of sources and has checked them against official Chinese media reports to confirm their implementation.

This article goes on to mention how news media and reporters were told to “play down the story” and “not publish any further reports or commentary, particularly those concerning Zhou’s childhood and criminal motives”. This might explain why the most recent articles I have been able to find pertaining to Zhou Kehua were published in August of 2012. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I will ask the question of what do they not want people to know about Zhou Kehua? I am approaching this from view that in the West (I know, China is not in the West, but bear with me for a moment here), serial killers that are targeting people with money, and only simply killing them, nothing more (i.e. they’re act focused vs process focused) tend to be hedonistic and killing to expand, or increase, their experience of life. What seems interesting though is that hedonistic serial killers do not tend to be outwardly aggressive in there kills, that is they wont normally shoot people out in the open and run off after taking the money. What I am getting at is, while Zhuo Kehua is responsible for the death of 11 people, maybe there is something more to why the important details needed are not allowed to be discussed. Or, perhaps this other Directive suggests that China does not wish to discuss the details of any violent crimes with the public.


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January 16th

January 2014