Details of Chinese whistleblowers leaked online
Leaked files included names, addresses, phone numbers and letters sent to police chief
Chinese president Xi Jinping has made stamping out corruption one of his government’s primary aims
A security glitch on the Shanghai police force’s website has allowed a huge amount of confidential information to leak online, including details about whistleblowers and others making complaints about the department, local media has reported.
The leaked files included names, home addresses, phone numbers and the letters whistleblowers sent to the police chief’s email address, the South China Morning Post reported.
The bulk of the files, which date back to August, were emails and photographic proof of alleged wrongdoing, and the information implicated police officers, the paper reported. The data was accessible to everyone for several days from at least Friday last week until earlier this week, when the server was shut down.
“How could they do this to us?” said one man from the Minhang district of Shanghai.
“I hope the authorities can treat our reports more seriously by ensuring the informants are protected from such exposure.”
It is unclear how the leak happened but it is a major blow for the Shanghai police force’s efforts to encourage people to provide personal information online so that cases are handled in a timely way.
The website promised that all personal information would be protected.
Another woman, who accused the police of beating up members of her family, expressed her disappointment at the security breach.
“To disclose our information is like telling those police officers that I’m the whistleblower. I did my job, but apparently the police didn’t do theirs,” she said.
Police said they received and responded to almost 1,300 complaint emails in the first two months of the year.
Getting Chinese people to reveal information about corruption and other offences is extremely difficult, as they are afraid they will be exposed and face official censure.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has made stamping out corruption one of his government’s primary aims.
By allowing Shanghai residents to inform online in a confidential way, the police hoped to gain the upper hand in combating corruption in police ranks, as well as in local government and other areas of authority.