Monday, 28 August 2017

Chapter 36 Covert Investigation

 “Hey, man up. Don’t tell me you have cold feet? Or you afraid your girlfriend will mind the intimacy?”
Lee Wei scoffed witnessing the squirming Se Cai.
Egged on by Lee Wei’s condescension, Se Cai blurted out confidently, “I don’t have a girlfriend and who said I’m afraid. Honey, let’s go!”
Se Cai regretted the moment the words left his mouth.
Lee Wei was the Vice Superintendent for the province station, even though he was just echoing her but had he crossed the line calling her honey?
“Now, that’s more like it!”
Lee Wei smiled satisfactorily.
She adjusted the car seat and leaned back down. She continued, “Let’s go. Leave everything to me later, try not to draw unnecessary attention and help me block the view of the camera.”
Se Cai was relieved that she didn’t seem to take offense to him calling her honey.
Lee Wei should be a power worker type or she wouldn’t have become a vice superintendent at your young age. She wouldn’t be petty enough to care about small things like that.
Se Cai convinced himself. He slammed on the oil pedal and the car sped towards the northern side of the county.
There sat Blue Sky Online Addiction Rehabilitation School!
Blue Sky Rehab sat at the northern outskirts of the county. It was far from other modern amenities, practically hidden in the middle of the jungle.
According to the school’s promo flyer, its secluded location decreased distraction and helped its students to focus on their rehabilitation.
Se Cai parked the car and walked to the school with Lee Wei.
From a distance away, he could see the school’s signboard, a giant banner hung between the pillars that decorated the school’s entrance.
“Is your child reluctant to study because of online game addiction? Blue Sky Rehab is here to solve your problem!” it read.
Furthermore, on the school compound walls were the school’s promo posters. They featured before-and-after shots of their students. The before shots all showed teens in sallow complexions and wiry frames. In the after shots though, they lined up in army fatigues, flashing smiles that were usually reserved for toothpaste commercials.
If Se Cai was an actual parent, he would be appropriately impressed by now.
After all, which parent doesn’t want the best for their child? And this school presented an image that it would help accomplish that.
This was Lee Wei’s first time visiting the school, she looked about curiously, adding, “This place looks pretty standard for an internet addiction school.”
Se Cai nodded, adding, “The number of teen afflicted with internet addiction is on the rise in our country and schools like these are earning higher and higher paychecks, the school needs to look good to beat out the increasing competitors.”
Blue Sky Rehab was a famous school of its kind. According to the tipper, its monthly fee could reach up to 4000 RMB, higher than even international schools.
In other words, most of the students here were from good family background. The addiction started because there was a lack of parental supervision.
However, a small section of the students came from families whose parents needed to scrounge up an exorbitant amount of money each month for the fees, which was a pity.
At the end of the day, all the school did was to suppress the addiction that would eventually exacerbate after graduation. The school had no intention of nipping the problem at its bud, it only relied on so-called a military school style education to force out the result to reap monthly fees. What happened after graduation was none of their business.
The rich could afford to waste such money but for the poor, it was heartbreaking.
 All these information was given by the mysterious tipper. They tried to trace the tipper but he or she used a public phone and refused to leave his or her name and address. The person probably feared retribution from the school.
Viewed from outside the steel fence wall, they could see quite a fair amount of students playing badminton on the field.
A female student swung her bat too strongly and her shuttlecock flew over the wall and landed beside Se Cai.
The freckled girl ran to the fence and waved at Se Cai.
“Uncle, please help me pick up the ball!”
Se Cai realized with a start that she was talking to him. He forgot he had an appearance of a middle-aged man.
He looked at the girl and smiled. He bent down to take the shuttlecock.
“There you go. Be more careful next time.”
Se Cai tossed the ball back over the fence with a smile but after the girl departed, his face dimmed.
“What’s wrong?”
Lee Wei saw the change in his expression and she asked softly.
Instead of answering, Se Cai opened his hand to reveal a piece of neatly folded paper.
“Save me, but don’t tell the teachers, my parent’s phone number is 1862365548.”
“I want to go home because the instructor likes to hit me, my mum’s number is 138531788.”
“My name is Lin Lin, aged 15. My father is Lee XX, phone number 1501553155, tell him to come save me!”
“15722153245, please call my mum. I’m scared.”
The piece of paper appeared to be torn from an exercise book, and it was filled with students’ SOS messages.
Se Cai did a cursory count and there was at least 30 of them.
“Is this place even a school?”
Se Cai cursed. His determination to expose the school became firmer.
The school is a place for students to learn and grow but this Blue Sky Rehab obviously didn’t share that philosophy. The place was hell on earth for these students!
Lee Wei said after a long silence, “The fact that the parents are willing to send their children to this school is also a chilling thought.”
The pair of them had been standing at the gate for quite some time, and had attracted the attention of the admin.
“Hey! What are you two doing here?”
A man in army uniform yelled rudely as he sauntered over.
The man had a slicked back hair and a pot belly. It was someone Se Cai recognized, Security Manager Wong that led the gang of ruffians to visit him at the hospital.
“Are you a teacher from this school?”
Lee Wei said hurriedly, like repeating from a memorized script, her words kept tumbling out, “Our friends recommended us here. You see, we have a son that’s obsessed with online games and we’re at our wit’s end. Hopefully your school can help us.”
“Of course, please follow me. I’ll give you a tour of the school compound.”
The moment Wang heard the two were potential customers, his tone became deferentially immediately.
As mentioned above, the fees at this place was not cheap and the admin was given solicitor’s fee if they brought in business.
“I am Wang, the school’s security manager. Our school has been graded by the Ministry of Education as a professional reformation center. Currently, the school has more than 1000 students, it is the best school in the whole Town Z and even Province X. I assure you your child will receive the best education here!”
Manager Wang opened the school gate and waved Se Cai and Lee Wei in.
Se Cai was worried his cover would be blown but Lee Wei’s technique was so good that he was unable to see through his disguise.
Lee Wei leaned on his hands, like an old married couple.
“Don’t panic, and cover for me.“
She whispered into Se Cai’s ears.
Se Cai felt tickled by her breath and he almost forgot why they were there.
With Se Cai blocking the view, she unzipped the side of her bag for a bit to allow the camera to poke through. The recording had officially started.
Manager Wang was too occupied with selling the school to notice what was happening behind him.
“Good afternoon, sir!”
Along the way, they met many school in blue and white striped school uniform that actively greeted Manager Wang.
The students’ discipline greatly impressed Se Cai. The atmosphere of the school was not one he expected, it was peaceful and orderly.
If Se Cai hadn’t known better, he would definitely be tricked by the show that was put on.
“This is our school’s faculty building. All our teachers are retired military men. Using military training, the faculty is able to bond with the students while ensuring their utmost discipline…”
Manager Wang kept on praising the school and since it would make for good footage, the pair didn’t interject.
“Err, Manager Wang, since all the teachers are retired military personnel… What about the non-physical classes like math and science? Do the teachers have teaching certificate?”
Lee Wei found a flaw in Manager Wang’s pompous speech. This was after all a school, not a military camp. The teachers could tackle physical education but who would be responsible to teach the more technical subjects?
Manager Wang stammered, this was the first time someone had asked him such a professional question.
After some time, he floundered, “Since they’re teachers, I’m sure they can teach those subjects as well as physical ed.”
“I suppose you have a point. After all, our son is only 8 years old. He wouldn’t be able to focus with his internet addiction anyway. The only thing he talks about is LOL!”
Lee Wei smiled and said, “speaking of which, do you mind if we inspect some of the classes?”
“Of course, please follow me!”
Manager Wong led them to a classroom on the first floor. It was math class.
The teacher was wearing the same uniform as Manager Wong but instead of using books and blackboard, the class was watching an educational film.
“Overcome yourself, held strong and believe in yourself!”
The moment the teacher raised his hands, the students launched into a rehearsed act.
“Choosing Blue Sky is choosing quality! Choosing Blue Sky is choosing change! Choosing Blue Sky is choosing growth!”
The students yelled out in a clear voice complete with synchronized hand gestures.
The teacher nodded satisfactorily. He said, “Alright, our next class will be physical training. Anyone here didn’t finish their daily morning 800 meters run? Raise your hand!”
The originally slightly rowdy classroom went quiet instantly. Every student appeared to be frozen to their spot.

Chapter 35 Pretend Husband and Wife

“How did Sai Wu know to send you over to the station?”
Se Cai thought Lee Wei’s appearance at his workplace was just a coincidence but incidentally, there was something more.
“I’ve made Sai Wu’s acquaintance before the suicide bomber news. His position at County S was only a political stepping stone for him to reach a higher executive level. The special I’m doing on County S is my way of repaying him a favor I’ve owed.”
Lee Wei nodded and continued, “The political campaign for the county seat is within these few days and the biggest threat that stands in his way is Wang Run Fa. As you know, Wang Run Fa is already quite senior so this will probably be the last time he joins the campaign. Therefore, he has pulled out all the stops. That is why even though he knew blocking the suicide news would step on Sai Wu’s territory, he had to do it to allow himself a fighting chance.”
Comprehension dawned immediately for Se Cai.
If the news got on to central news, the positive portrayal of Sai Wu in it would come as a giant threat to Wang Run Fa.
It was a clever political maneuver, one that could sink Wang Run Fa’s chance at winning the county seat.
Wang Run Fa’s plan hit 2 birds with one stone. By blocking the news, he not only stopped Sai Wu but also managed to punish Se Cai that crossed him.
Thankfully, Sai Wu had the foresight to send Lee Wei to County S Tv Station, to undo Wang Run Fa’s ploys.
“This Wang Run Fa… The worst thing I did was getting close to his brother-in-law’s school, is there even a need for such ruthlessness?”
Se Cai groused.
“You offended his family? No wonder he was so eager to mark you for death.”
Lee Wei’s interest was piqued, she continued, “So what exactly did you do?”
Se Cai relayed the events that had happened to him to Lee Wei.
“He would be so cruel against an innocent reporter much less the students in his school!”
Se Cai slammed on the steering wheel angrily, sighing, “My greatest wish now is to expose this school’s evil deeds and the fact that Wang Run Fa condones it. Sadly, none of the directors at the station is crazy enough to allow me to tackle the head of the PR Department.”
This was Se Cai first assignment given to him by the system. Completing it would get him 200 News Points and a Rank E Authorization. Other than that, Se Cai himself really wanted to take Wang Run Fa down. However, as he said, no one was crazy enough to give him the green light to do so.
After Se Cai’s explanation, Lee Wei said excitedly, “You should have told me earlier you have such an interesting news lead on your hands!”
Se Cai was a little caught off guard by the gleam that had entered Lee Wei’s eyes.
“Wait, this is too dangerous. I was sent to the hospital for wandering around the school’s outer perimeter.”
Se Cai warned because he saw where Lee Wei was going with this. He was worried for her safety.
“Don’t you worry about me. I’m not a hapless little girl, you know.”
Lee Wei said in a confident smile, “Don’t forget I’m the lead reporter for <Legal Frontline>! I’ve been to underground casino, police shoot-outs and had even crossed paths with drug dealers! This is just an internet addiction rehabilitation school, what harm could there be?”
Se Cai realized he has underestimated Lee Wei. In the world of journalism, the majority was male so there was an innate protective nature Se Cai had towards Lee Wei. However, he forgot that she was much more experienced that he was.
Furthermore, Lee Wei looked like she couldn’t be dissuaded. A report that could take down a county department head? Now that was the kind of news she lived for!
With a smile, Lee Wei pulled from her bag a black object that looked like a pack of gum.
“Thankfully I always carry this with me. This is a knock-off miniature camera, 2, 300 RMB for one. It can only record for up to an hour but that should be more than enough.”
Se Cai stared transfixed at the object that Lee Wei twirled in her hand. He was taken aback by her dedication. The biggest fear a reporter had was the lack of recording equipment when a newsworthy event happened. No wonder she held the position of a lead reporter.
Lee Wei pulled her ponytail off and her hair fell into a fashionable bob.
She hid a Bluetooth ear bud in her ear and behind the curtain of hair, no one could tell she was actually recording.
Then, she waved the miniature camera in front of Se Cai challengingly, saying, “Jiang Shao have already returned to the province station… So, care to join me on a covert investigation?”
 “Of course!”
Se Cai couldn’t possibly let her go alone. Furthermore, this was his news to begin with, he couldn’t let her finish it for him.
“Great, this’ll be easier because we can be on the lookout for each other. Now, I have more experience with covert operation so follow my lead.”
Lee Wei smiled when she saw Se Cai agreed so easily.
She then removed from her bag a small make-up kit which opened to reveal a cluster of cosmetic paraphernalia.
“They’ve seen you before, so don’t move, I’ll apply some make-up on you. When I’m done, I promise even your own mother wouldn’t be able to recognize you!”
Lee Wei laughed sinfully as she pressed a tube of something black on Se Cai’s lips.
Before Se Cai could protest, she took out a can of hair spray and let it ripped on Se Cai’s hair. She moved through the motions with a practiced air.
Se Cai sat quietly as he let Lee Wei fussed over him. Lee Wei had sat up in her seat due to their height difference and Se Cai had to avert his eyes when she leaned in to work on his disguise.
Se Cai turned his head towards the window but Lee Wei pulled him back because the head movement was affecting her work. Se Cai on his part kept as still as possible even though his eyes kept wandering. Working in that cramped space, there was an intimacy that Se Cai didn’t foresee. Her body kept bumping into Se Cai as she worked and the folds of her dress tickled his skin. His heart was beating fast and prayed simultaneously that it would be over soon and that it would never end.
“Okay, I’m done. Take a look for yourself.”
Lee Wei sat back down in her seat and said satisfactorily.
Se Cai took in a deep breath and pulled down the mirror sewn into the visor. He was shocked to see his own reflection.
With a few fake moustaches, a change of hairstyle and recoloring of skin tone using BB cream, Se Cai looked completely different. The Se Cai in the mirror was a weary middle-aged man.
“How did you do this… This is like plastic surgery!”
Se Cai exclaimed as he put his hands to his face.
Lee Wei wasn’t kidding when she said his own mother probably won’t be able to recognize him.
“The station doesn’t pair its reporter with a make-up artist so I’ve been doing my own make-up. Turns out I have a knack for over the top style of make-up. Couldn’t possibly use it for the camera but the skill proves to be quite handy for undercover cases.”
Lee Wei turned to inspect her work, adding, “Of course you got to have a good canvas to work with. Se Cai, you have quite pleasing and malleable features, unlike that muscular buffoon Jiang Shao.”
Se Cai blushed. It was the first time he had received such direct compliment from a member of his opposite gender. He was used to melting into the crowd. No one had ever said he had handsome features before.
Thankfully, his blush was hidden by Lee Wei’s generous helping of BB cream.
Lee Wei turned serious, “From now on, your name is Cai and mine is Wei. We’re a married couple with an 8-year-old that’s obsessed with LOL. We’re there to inspect the school to see whether it would suit our son.”
“A married couple?”
A shocked Se Cai said.
“Of course, it’s more believable than you being a 20 something teen with internet addiction.”
Lee Wei rolled her eyes but added teasingly, “Right, honey?”
That certainly didn’t help Se Cai’s blush and he was at a loss for words. This was the first time he pretended to be someone’s husband, especially one for such a gorgeous woman, and he didn’t know what to say.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Chapter 34 The Beautiful Superintendent

In walked a woman with a sharp ponytail, carrying a printed canvas bag and trailing a bohemian-style dress.  
The woman in the eye-catching attire was none other than the reporter that Se Cai rescued, <Legal Frontline>’s Lee Wei.
However, her get-up was indeed too casual, she looked like she was going to the beach. If she worked at County S Tv Station, Manager Wei would have ordered her to go back and change.
“Lee Wei? What is she doing here?”
Se Cai tried to catch Manager Wei’s eyes for an explanation but as Lee Wei walked in, Manager Wei lowered his head and moved out of her way.
“You are… Superintendent Lee from the province station’s information channel? I’m County S PR Department’s Xiao Zhao, glad to make your acquaintance!”
Chairman Zhao got up in a hurry, bowed and offered his hand.
“It’s Vice Superintendent Lee, I don’t want people to say I purposely misled them of my position. Plus, I prefer others to recognize me as a reporter not a pencil pusher.”
Lee Wei said meaningfully. To stress her point, she let Chairman Zhao’s outstretched hand hanged awkwardly in mid-air.
“Lee Wei looks at most to be in her 28, and she’s already a Vice Superintendent?”
The thought drifted into Se Cai’s mind. No wonder Manager Wei had to go meet her even though the County PR Department’s Chairman Zhao had announced his arrival.
Se Cai knew a thing or two about the province station’s internal structure, other than its main channel, it had many sub channels, among them were the news channel, legal channel and information channel.
Province X Tv Station was one of those rare stations whose leaders had great executive power. The station manager held state level executive power, while his or her deputy would be the auxiliary. The superintendents of these sub channels held executive power of varying degree, ranging from deputy state to deputy county.
Lee Wei was only a deputy county civil servant but that was already impressive enough.
There was probably not another under 30 deputy county government worker like herself.
In the entire County S, there weren’t many that held higher ranking than her.
Se Cai laughed speechlessly thinking back to the way he had treated her yesterday, assuming she was just a lowly reporter like himself.
“Nice to see you again, Se Cai. I did say I would come to gather the suicide news material from you, didn’t I?”
Lee Wei smiled at Se Cai and offered her hand.
“Yes… Vice Superintendent Lee.”
Se Cai hurriedly shook her hand.
After her warm greeting with Se Cai, Lee Wai sauntered to the conference table and flung her bag over a chair. Her demeanor had hardened considerably.
“I overheard from outside the door, the suicide news from the commercial building can’t be broadcasted because it would cause public dismay, and reporter Se Cai here was to be suspended because he’s the one responsible for it, am I right?”
Before anyone could answer, Lee Wei smiled cryptically at Chairman Zhao, adding, “It just so happens that our station also reported on that news and I’m the main reporter, so does this mean I have to get suspended too, Chairman Zhao?”
The air in the room froze.
“Of… of course not. I’m sure the province station has better news sensitivity than our small department does.”
Chairman Zhao stuttered. He was given a taste of his own medicine. Never would he have thought the criticism he leveled at Se Cai would be reflected at the province station as well.
“If that’s the case, then Reporter Se did nothing wrong right? Using one’s own personal favor to block a news that could get up to the central station just to spite the colleague working under the same station, I’ve not seen something as ludicrous as that in my entire life.”
Lee Wei drawled and the face of Manager Wei beside her darkened.
He held his composure but leveled a fiery stare at Xu Jing Song.
As the station manager, he was familiar with his worker’s loyalty. He knew who would be willing to put personal grievances above the whole station’s wellbeing.
The station too suffered a loss from its news being blocked on its way to the central station.
“Our department has reacted rashly in this particular instance, I will reflect this to our leader.”
Chairman Zhao added woefully.
He wondered why would Lee Wei be willing to stand up for a small reporter like Se Cai. Then he remembered in the news, a reporter was taken hostage. Could it be that the reporter was Lee Wei?
The new article was vague about the reporter’s identity but based on today’s development, it had to be her.
“Damn, why didn’t anyone tell me the reporter Se Cai saved was Lee Wei?”
Chairman Zhao grumbled internally. If he had known Lee Wei owed Se Cai such a big favor, he wouldn’t have been dumb enough to take on this task.
Lee Wei ignored Chairman Zhao’s inner turmoil and stood up to stretch lazily.
“Alright, now that this case is closed, Se Cai, I’m going to need those materials.”
She slapped Se Cai on his shoulder before carrying her bag and walked out the door.
Se Cai said somewhat dumbly. He picked his reporter ID and made to follow.
Manager Wei caught him by his arm and whispered, “Xiao Se, nicely done there. Why didn’t you tell me the reporter you saved yesterday was her?”
“I know she’s a reporter from the province station, but I really didn’t know she had such an impressive background! Who would have thought a young woman like her has a similar executive ranking as Commissioner Sai!”
Se Cai whispered in return, disbelief coursing through his voice.
“Never mind, because now you know.”
Manager Wei pushed Se Cai towards the door but not before adding, “I believe she has a good impression of you. She’s here today just for you so I’ll give you a special day off but remember to keep our guest of honor happy and satisfied!”
Se Cai was still digesting what Manager Wei meant by ‘happy and satisfied’ when he was forced out the door.
“Wait… don’t tell me Manager Wei wants me to surrender my body?”
“Alright, all the material’s inside here.”
Se Cai took out the USB and passed it to Lee Wei.
“So fast?”
Lee Wei exclaimed as she looked at her silver CK watch.
“All my material is in my hard-disk so I only need to copy them.”
Se Cai smiled.  His computer science background compelled him to keep his digital data in a structured order. His biggest pet peeve was an unused folder clogging his window.
“It’s still early. The special on County S is almost done, we’re only lacking a few street shots.”
Lee Wei pulled her bag and added as an afterthought, “Actually, I haven’t really walked around this place even though I’ve been here for almost a week.”
“A small place like County S pales in comparison to the province city but I understand the need to take the street shots… How about this, I’ll help you take some using our equipment since you doesn’t seem to have yours.”
Se Cai offered. Manager Wei did order him to keep Lee Wei happy and satisfied. Plus, that was the least he could do because Lee Wei did practically save his entire career.
Using Lee Wei’s name, Se Cai commissioned a car, a Sony EX1R camera and a tripod stand.
“Superintendent Lee, I must thank you again. It is because of you that the people at the station allow me to take this mobile that is usually reserved for Manager Wei!”
Se Cai joked. After a whole morning together, Se Cai realized even though Lee Wei was a high ranking personnel, she didn’t act like one. She talked easily with him and everyone else.
“Stop calling me superintendent, use Sister Wei instead.”
Lee Wei feigned offense before breaking out in laughter, “To tell the truth, most of the times I don’t feel like a superintendent, I’m still that happy-go-lucky reporter.”
Se Cai wanted to enquire how did she reach such a position at her young age but he felt that was an insensitive subject to broach so he changed the topic.
“Thank you again for arriving at my aid earlier today if not I’m sure my fate would end up worse than being suspended,” Se Cai said.
“Since no one is around, I’ll let you in on a secret.”
Lee Wei continued in a serious tone, “I was ready to leave yesterday but Sai Wu came to me before I managed to do so. He knew Wang Run Fa would mean you harm so he asked me to lend you my aid.”
“What? It was him who approached you?”
Se Cai stopped the car by the side of the road and exclaimed in shock.
But how could this be? Even though Sai Wu did owe him a favor but how could he have known Wang Run Fa was out to get him that day?

[I should have done this earlier but here is glossary for the Chinese government’s executive structure, it’ll help understand the story better. Nation > Province > State > County > Municipal, and each comes with a main and a deputy, ie. Deputy State > Main County, so on and so forth. Media workers in China are part of the government so they fit into this structure as well. Here are the positions of the characters mentioned in the story thus far: Lee Wei, Sai Wu = Deputy County; Chairman Zhao, Xu Jing Song, Manager Wei = Municipal. It’s unfortunate that the place name and these position name overlaps but I’ll try to be as clear as I can be.]

Next Chapter 

Chapter 33 Suspension

 “That would be me. What would Chairman Zhao like to talk about?”
Se Cai said after taking a deep breath.
He frowned slightly, affected by Chairman Zhao’s open hostility.
PR Department… It was the PR Department again!
Se Cai felt confident about his piece yesterday, he could firmly say that it was the best news he had written in his career. It had even gotten the approval of someone as experienced as Station Manager Wei.
So how could it have gone wrong when it reached the PR Department?
With a raised brow, Se Cai looked straight at Chairman Zhao and enquired, “If it’s related to the piece, I would like to request Chairman Zhao to point out what was wrong.”
“What kind of attitude is that? Fine, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with your script!”
Chairman Zhao slammed the table and said. He was annoyed that a small reporter like Se Cai would have the audacity to look at him with a challenge in his eyes.
“First, your piece mentions government official that is above the county rank so how dare you skip informing the PR Department before you send it off to province and central news. This is a gross violation of our department’s rules.”
“Second, you’ve mispronounced the official’s name. Everyone at the county admin refers to him as Commissioner Xie, do you know how much shame you have brought to our department?”
“Third, we are not supposed to be so cavalier with news reports on bombs and explosion. With rumors of terrorist attacks on the rise, do you know how much damage your piece has caused or is it your original intention to sow public turmoil?”
Chairman Zhao leaned back in his chair, took a sip of his tea and glared icily at Se Cai.
Xu Jing Song immediately filled another cup and passed it to Chairman Zhao, adding consolingly, “Chairman Zhao, here, please take another sip of the tea to calm down.”
His status as the Deputy Station Manager put him as almost equal standing to this Chairman Zhao, they were both municipal leaders but he felt no harm being a little bit reverential.
His expression changed immediately as he turned away from Chairman Zhao to face Se Cai. He scolded, “Se Cai, quickly apologize to Chairman Zhao and I’m sure he’ll forgive you if you’re willing to suspend yourself to reflect on your mistakes.”
He could barely contain the smile that was twitching at the corner of his lips.
Yesterday, Se Cai stole his son’s credit and openly defied him, now he was going to get his just desserts.
“Chairman Zhao… Se Cai is still new at this so he’s unfamiliar with the inner workings of the system. It’s my fault for not teaching him so please don’t suspend him, take a cut out of my salary instead!”
Hai Dong stood up and sighed apologetically.
Se Cai was deeply grateful towards Director Bai, he knew Hai Dong couldn’t directly challenge Chairman Zhao so shouldering part of the blame was already the best he could do.
Director Bai’s action was especially heartfelt because Se Cai knew Director Bai had been saving to buy himself a house and to find himself a wife.
Se Cai narrowed his eyes and read Chairman Zhao’s mind.
This Chairman Zhao obviously came prepare to pin the blame on Se Cai so chances were, he himself was be particularly familiar with the rules that Se Cai so-called broke.
“Chairman Zhao, do calm down but I believe you might have treated me unjustly.”
Se Cai smiled confidently as he continued at length.
“First, according to your department’s rules, one could bypass informing the department if the situation calls for it. If you don’t believe me, you could refer to Clause 12 of Chapter 3 that was added to the Department Rulebook last year. Furthermore, even if I wanted to send the script to your department, it wouldn’t have reached any of you because it’s already over the department’s working hours.”
Se Cai hit the nail on the first point. The PR Department was a governmental body, it worked a 9 to 5 schedule. Unlike the people at the Tv Station, no one would have stayed after 5.
“Second, the pronunciation for Commissioner Sai is not wrong. It’s the people from the administration that have been calling the commissioner wrongly. In fact, I hope Chairman Zhao would correct them when you return.”
“What, you said it’s wrong so it must be wrong?”
Chairman Zhao snorted.
In lieu of a reply, Se Cai removed from his pocket a gilded name card. It was the one given to him by Sai Wu himself.
Chairman Zhao accepted the name card with a frown and read aloud from it, “The people’s republic of China State Department Ministry of Public Safety Vice Department Chief, Sai Wu?”
Commissioner Sai had just been transferred to his new post so he was still using his old name card.
However that wasn’t the point. The point was the pin yin underscored underneath the Chinese characters… Sai Wu.
Since it was written on his own name card, Se Cai was of course in the right on the second account.
“Third, there’s no reason for us to suppress this news. There were many people at the actual scene, if we didn’t release an official news, it would lead to rumors and speculation. Then, you would have a real terrorist scare on your hands!”
Se Cai rephrased what Manager Wei had said the day before. The purpose of the news was to calm the public and validate the truth.
It was the responsibility of the media to do so.
Chairman Zhao was startled by Se Cai’s brilliant defense. He refuted every single point that he had brought up. Not only that Se Cai had done it with great eloquence!
Se Cai cheered inwardly when he saw Chairman Zhao’s flustered demeanor.
The so-called mistakes were riddled with flaws, but Chairman Zhao assumed they were enough to bully a reporter as inexperienced as Se Cai, and he would be right if not for Se Cai’s mind-reading cheat.
Furthermore, Se Cai had pulled out another important piece of information from Chairman Zhao’s mind.
He was indeed here on the behest of Wang Run Fa. His intention was to punish Se Cai for sniffing around Blue Sky Rehab. Se Cai went to the school on the request on a mysterious tip, he didn’t know it would lead to so many ensuing troubles. They had bribed the hospital, kidnapped an anchor and now conducted administrative bullying. How tyrannical this Wang Run Fa can be?
“You… are you insinuating the PR Department of putting the blame on you unjustly?”
Chairman Zhao was shivering with anger. He was used to people bowing to him referentially so he made livid by Se Cai’s reaction. He stared threateningly at Se Cai, adding, “It’s not you nor the tv station who decide whether a news is threatening to public order and whether it should be suppressed or not, only the PR Department can do that!”
Chairman Zhao was obviously very angry because he had uttered such shameless arguments.
“And as a representative from the PR Department, my sentence is that you… are guilty as charged! You’ll be suspended from now on!”
He slammed his notebook on the table loudly, resonating the finality of his statement.
 Xu Jing Song added fuel to the fire, he pointed his finger at Se Cai, berating, “Se Cai, how dare you oppose Chairman Zhao? Suspension is too light a punishment for you, you’re fired!”
Se Cai knew he was in the right but this was a lost cause. He was just a lowly reporter, what can he do?
“Director Bai, thank you for your kindness and mentorship.”
Se Cai sighed and left his reporter ID on the table. Now where would he go to earn his News Point?
With such an administration, no wonder County S Tv Station had stagnated in its growth.
“Xiao Se!”
Director Bai’s eyes were red. He opened his mouth to say something but ultimately swallowed it.
He dared to argue with the station manager but this was the chairman from the PR Department. Unlike Se Cai, he was not in his twenties anymore, he no longer had the drive and the recklessness to quarrel with his superior.
Suddenly, the door of the conference room opened with a bang.
“Station Manager Wei?”
Se Cai said in surprise.
“Chairman Zhao, sorry I’m late, I was held up by the people from the Province station.”
Manager Wei uttered in between breaths. It looked like he ran there.
“Of course, I understand that Manager Wei must be busy with everyday workings of the station. I wouldn’t want to disturb unless truly necessary…”
Chairman Zhao stood up and said.
Station Manager of the County Station was slightly higher in ranking than Chairman Zhao. At the end of the day, he was only a right-hand man for the Department Head.
“I couldn’t help but overheard Se Cai was getting suspended. Could you tell me what is his lapse?”
Manager Wei said as he walked to the conference table.
“Manager Wei, your reporter here violated departmental rules, openly defied his superior’s orders, and worst of all, his suicide bombing piece will cause general panic and undermine public order!”
Chairman Zhao continued in a serious tone, “I believe this kind of rogue reporter should definitely be suspended and even blacklisted in the journalism world.”
 “Is that so?”
Before Manager Wei could reply, a female voice came from outside the open door.
The voice clicked in Se Cai’s mind, it was one he had heard before!

[My release rate will probably slow down in these few days in preparation for migration to as fan translation. Still unpaid but the formatting should be easier on the eyes.]

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