Fake Chinese reporter makes $500,000 from bribes — and gets life

Note: This blog post also ran in the Society of Professional Journalism’s “Journalism and the World” blog. Click here to see the original post.

The Associated Press ran an interesting story yesterday about a Chinese crook who passed himself off as a reporter or editor from the People’s Daily. Usually these kinds of bribes are for running favorable stories, or not running stories that are not so favorable.

In this case, though, the guy said that he could use his influence with top officials — the People’s Daily is the main publication of the Communist Party of China — to get people promotions.

But what I would like to see is the names of the people who tried to bribe this guy. Will they be seeing any jail time?

I would also want to know how he got caught. Did people complain? Did they call the newspaper to check whether he was a real reporter? Or did they get suspicous when their promotions didn’t come thorugh?

I’m also surprised he kept going. You would think it would be easy to get lost in China — 1.3 billion people, all of them surnamed Wang or Chen. With half a million US dollars, that’s a lot of fake identity papers you could buy.

The guy must have been really good to pull in this much money, too. I wonder how many other fake reporters are out there, pulling in the big bucks with these kind of scams.

Signing off in Shanghai,