The Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times visited a Chinese web journalist who is making remarkable inroads in the land of the government press.
“Everyone in China these days,” Kristof begins, “wants to get on the Internet.” In a multimedia presentation called “The Chinese Internet Crusader,” Kristof details the work of Li Xinde. Armed with a laptop and a fierce will, Li “takes on the kind of investigative cases the Chinese media won’t touch.”
Mr. Li travels around China with an I.B.M. laptop and a digital camera, investigating cases of official wrongdoing. Then he writes about them on his Web site and skips town before the local authorities can arrest him.
His biggest case so far involved a deputy mayor of Jining who is accused of stealing more than $400,000 and operating like a warlord. One of the deputy mayor’s victims was a businesswoman whom he allegedly harassed and tried to kidnap.
Mr. Li’s Web site published an investigative report, including a series of photos showing the deputy mayor kneeling and crying, apparently begging not to be reported to the police. The photos caused a sensation, and the deputy mayor was soon arrested.
A member of the Communist Party, Li says the organization is the story of two barrels. “Our party has relied on the barrel of the gun and the barrel of the pen.”
Kristof previously visited the brothels of Cambodia. While there, he purchased the freedom of two young prostitutes.