ZHENGZHOU, June 22 (Xinhua) -- He would probably have remained silent, had he known that his comment would make him "one against the nation."
Lu Jun, 51, an official in central China's Henan Province, has been suspended from his post and is under investigation for asking a question that made "the people" and the Communist Party mutually exclusive, local authorities said Monday.
"Will you speak for the Party? Or will you speak for the people?" was the question Lu threw at a reporter. It made him the target of both.
"Lu Jun has been suspended for an improper sentence he uttered, which is contrary to the purpose of the Communist Party of China,"or CPC, Yao Daixian, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Zhengzhou city committee, told Xinhua.
The CPC Constitution states that the Party represents "the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people."
However, Lu, an urban planning development vice director of Zhengzhou city, asked a reporter who was investigating a development issue: "Will you speak for the Party? Or will you speak for the people?"
"The interests of the people and the Party are identical, but Lu put them in opposition," said Wu Zhongmin, professor of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
"Lu represents some Party officials who try to obtain personal gains in the name of the Party," said Wu, adding that all Party officials should be on alert and the relationship between the Party and the people should be like that between the "fish and water."
The report was probing a suspicious property scheme in Xigang village of Zhengzhou, where a developer had obtained permission to build low-income housing. Instead, 12 villas and two mid-rise buildings were erected.
Ren Leiping, a reporter from China National Radio, asked Lu to comment on the scheme. That's when Lu made his controversial comment.
Ren found it hard to understand. "Because it is common sense in China that the media are the mouthpiece of the Party of government, which are there to serve the people," said the reporter.
The report was broadcast by the radio station on June 17 and quickly caused a stir on the Internet.
Internet users posted the report and nominated "Will you speak for the People? Or will you speak for the Party" as a catch-phrase of 2009. Some named Lu "the official who dares most to speak the truth during 2009."
"Lu told me that what he had said did not coincide with the report," said Yao, adding his department had investigated the property scheme and Lu's comments, with four other departments. Hedeclined to elaborate.