Who’s behind China’s green-painted mountainside?

A while ago, we were puzzled by the efforts of workers in China’s southwestern Fumin County to spray-paint a mountain green. Nobody quite knew why the painting was taking place. And now the plot thickens. The central question emerging is: Who is responsible for the painting order in the first place? Reports conflict, says China ...

603206_070319_greenmountain_05.jpg
603206_070319_greenmountain_05.jpg

A while ago, we were puzzled by the efforts of workers in China's southwestern Fumin County to spray-paint a mountain green. Nobody quite knew why the painting was taking place. And now the plot thickens.

The central question emerging is: Who is responsible for the painting order in the first place? Reports conflict, says China blog EastWestSouthNorth.

Was it the Fumin County Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry, as first reported? Or was it Boss Du, a local decoration company boss whose house faces the green mountainside in question?

A while ago, we were puzzled by the efforts of workers in China’s southwestern Fumin County to spray-paint a mountain green. Nobody quite knew why the painting was taking place. And now the plot thickens.

The central question emerging is: Who is responsible for the painting order in the first place? Reports conflict, says China blog EastWestSouthNorth.

Was it the Fumin County Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry, as first reported? Or was it Boss Du, a local decoration company boss whose house faces the green mountainside in question?

Chen Peng, a reporter for China’s official Xinhua news agency, interviewed a reluctant Boss Du:

After repeated probing from me, he finally admitted that this was related to fengshui. Based upon my years of experience as a reporter, he would have covered the whole matter like a blanket if the county government had given him instructions. So why was he unwilling to bring up the fengshui thing?

That was very meaningful. His reluctance to mention fengshui at first meant that he was being truthful.”

Or was he?

A reporter from New Life News disagrees, sensing that Boss Du may have been a scapegoat for a bizarre government request. And Zhang Ke, who first broke the story for the Metropolitan Times, maintains that it was the county:

Q: When the deputy director of the Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry was interviewed afterwards, he claimed that it was an act by a private company boss. So now people are wondering whether your first report was inaccurate.

A: If it was an inaccurate report, Fumin county would have come after me. They would have gone through various departments to punish us. As of now, Fumin county has not contacted me and they have not told our newspaper that the report was inaccurate.”

So who ordered the spray-painting? Boss Du, or the county Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry? And more to the point, why? Perhaps we’ll never know. But the bizarre story sheds light on just how hard it is to get reliable information in an authoritarian state.

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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