A senior Chinese police officer has been sacked after his book – lauded by local officials as an “ode to peace” – was ridiculed throughout the country.
The leadership of the northeastern province of Jilin announced on Friday that He Dian, the second most powerful officer in province’s public security department, had been stripped of his job and his positions in the Communist Party.
The authorities did not say whether He would face any further punishment or what the results were of their investigation. The announcement came two days after the party’s anti-corruption watchdog in Jilin said it was looking into the matter.
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He’s book, Pingan Jing, or Peace Mantra, was published in December and endorsed by a long list of local government offices and party-approved groups.
However, it came in for wide public criticism this week as commenters took aim at its “rudimentary” and “absurd” content.
The 336 pages of the book are covered only with variations of the sentence: “Let … be safe”.
For example, a chapter titled “Let All Ages Be Safe” begins: “Let newborns be safe, let one-month-olds be safe, let 100-day-olds be safe, let one-year-olds be safe, let two-year-old be safe, let three-year-olds be safe, let four-year-olds be safe …”
Despite this, a book review posted on the social media account of the province’s department of emergency management said that “through the author’s mantra, people could sense the deep soul and broad feelings of a scholar”, describing it as “worth a read”.
The provincial government’s information office also praised the book as “an ode to peace”.
And more than a dozen academics and poets discussed the book at a seminar last month by Jilin’s Recital Association, a state-backed artistic group. He was among the attendees, offering the group insight on his inspiration and motivation as well as reading the mantra aloud with them.
On the provincial police force’s website, and in coverage by local media, He was described as an intellectual with a doctorate in law, and another in philology. He has more than 30 published books and frequent contributions to top Chinese academic journals to his name.
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This article China sacks senior police officer over ‘absurd’ Peace Mantra book first appeared on South China Morning Post