Ah Wen’s Nightmare
Close to midnight on March 13, 2002, a telephone call from his editor, Fang Hongning, jarred Yangcheng Evening News reporter Zhao Shilong awake. Fang said a woman had just called the newspaper's hotline saying that she had been forced into prostitution at a government-run drug rehabilitation center in Guangzhou. She had escaped from her captors that very night. Her name was Ah Wen. Given the seriousness of the charges, the story's prospects were not good, Fang Hongning said outright. Even if he managed to report the story without any problems, it might never make it past the editorial board. Top leaders of Guangzhou controlled Yangcheng Evening News, one of three leading dailies in the city. Its editorial board would have to carefully consider the political ramifications of such a story, one that would certainly reflect badly on city leaders.
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