Police official probed for writing, publishing 'Peace Mantra' book

Kiera Yu
Lavish praise for simple content arouses suspicion and authorities in Jilin Province launch an investigation after public criticism of the US$43 volume goes viral.
Kiera Yu

Authorities in northeast China’s Jilin Province are investigating the publication of a book entitled “Ping’an Jing,” (Peace Mantra), which caused an outcry over why such simple content had made it into print and why it had been lavishly praised by local media and government bodies.

The book by He Dian, a Party official and deputy director-general of Department of Public Security of Jilin Province, is made up of blessings of peace and wellness for various aspects of life.

One section prescribes blessings for the ages, starting from birth to 100 years old, saying: “peace at birth, peace at 1 month old, peace at 100 days old, peace at 1 year old, peace at 2 years old ...”

Another blessed locations, such as train stations, with a mantra of “peace for North Xi’an Railway Station, peace for East Zhengzhou Railway Station, peace for Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station ...”

The book was being sold on JD.com for 299 yuan (US$43). Its cover says it was published by the People’s Publishing House and Qunzhong Publishing House. It was removed from e-commerce platforms after objections to it went viral.

Yesterday, Qunzhong Publishing House acknowledged that it had published the book and said anyone who violated regulations and laws would be held accountable.

“Publishing the book had caused undesirable consequences and exposed problems such as weak political consciousness, lack of managerial accountability and lax examining,” it said in a statement.

The People’s Publishing House denied any involvement in publishing the book in an announcement on Tuesday.

The Jilin government said on Wednesday that an investigation team had been launched to look into the publishing and dissemination of the book.

Many people were surprised when, earlier this year, the book had been recommended by local media outlets and government bodies many times with words of praise that seemed excessive.

An article on the Jilin provincial emergency management department’s WeChat account lauded the book as “a great work of scripture that crosses borders and generations.”

In June, the Jilin Recital Art Society hosted experts to recite the book at a seminar and invited academics and poets to write reviews.

The author had attended the seminar, saying in a speech that his book “aims to reflect the voice of the times, serve the overall society, respond to public expectations, promote Chinese culture, disseminate knowledge systems, and also express personal professional sentiments.” One media report said the book can be considered a mini encyclopedia because of its all-inclusive content and could facilitate readers to access relevant knowledge.

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