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568 The Winner is Obvious

 Bai Yueran was working overtime in her office when she received a call from the Special Operations Forces External Affairs Department. "Director Bai, the Tans want an explanation as to why all news reports about Tan Guiren were removed. Lieutenant Colonel said this was an executive order and that no more publicity can be made using the kidnapping of the Tans daughter. He asks if the Legal Affairs Department can please resolve this issue."

"Really? Lieutenant Colonel Yin said that? Ok, I understand and will contact him." Bai Yueran set down the phone and appeared very serious as she turned to her computer to type a memo to send to Tan Dongbang himself.

"Minister Tan, according to relevant regulations, the family members of prime minister candidates are not entitled to protection by the nation. They must be first elected, and then their direct family, including wives and children, will be entitled to special protection from the nation. Your wife's previous request already violated regulations."

The memo was also carbon-copied to General Ji, Speaker Long, and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Bai Jiancheng. Tan Dongbang's assistant read the memo, and his face fell. He quickly took the printed memo to Tan Dongbang and said, "Mr. Tan, look at this. It was sent from the Special Operations Forces Legal Affairs Department."

Tan Dongbang accepted the page, and his face flushed, then turned ashen when he read it. Tapping his fingers on the memo, he replied, "I know. You can go now."

After his assistant left, Tan Dongbang called his wife quietly. "Guiren is safe now, so this ends here. Don't start any more publicity."

"What do you mean? How will you maintain popularity if we don't keep the publicity up? What about the public poll? The election is in a few months..."

Tan Dongbang's wife knew her daughter was safe already, so she now concentrated on her husband's election. Tan Dongbang running for Prime Minister was really an unexpected success. They didn't think that he would lead the polls and surpass many other candidates who had been fully prepared, despite never having run before. In less than three months, most of the candidates had either withdrawn or been eliminated, leaving only him and Bai Jiancheng. The October elections would be his final battle against Bai Jiancheng.

"They're going to sue us if we start any more publicity using the incident." Tan Dongbang forwarded the memo to his wife. "Check your inbox. I just sent something to you."

Tan Dongbang's wife opened her email and read the memo. Her face grew ruddy, as if someone had slapped her. Although Bai Yueran's memo was succinct, it was obviously threatening in tone. Tan Dongbang's wife didn't expect there to be such a regulation-that meant her desperate begging of the Special Operations Forces to have Major General Huo save her daughter was a violation of regulations. If news got out, Tan Dongbang's established image would be fatally impacted. She stared in silence for a while, then finally picked up the phone to call all her close media friends one by one to ask them to withdraw all the prepared drafts for publication.

"...Right. She's already ok, so we don't need to mention it again. My daughter is rather shy and doesn't want to be mentioned in public like that."

Her friends all pitied Tan Dongbang's wife when she said it like that, and several of them tried to convince her for a long time. She still gritted her teeth behind a faint smile and stood by her decision.

...

Bai Yueran went home after finishing overtime and saw that her father Bai Jiancheng's study was still lit. She walked to the door and knocked. "Dad, you aren't sleeping yet?"

Bai Jiancheng wore reading glasses and was reading an internal government report. He looked up at the sound of Bai Yueran's voice and asked gently, "You're back? Was it busy? You worked overtime?"

"Yeah, I just finished." Bai Yueran walked inside and sat on the sofa in his study. "Dad, the Tans' daughter has already been rescued, so they can't use this for publicity anymore."

Bai Jiangcheng nodded. "Very good. All of our nation's citizens are equal. There can't be such preferential treatment..."

Bai Yueran's mind spun. She knew that her dad was probably implying something. She probed, "You are speaking about that case in Germany?"

"That case? Oh, how is the case going?" Bai Jiancheng seemed to recall it. "Our exchange student can't die without justice."

"I'll follow up with it again." Bai Yueran understood her father's intention. "I'll have someone find that student's parents tomorrow and sponsor them to go file a lawsuit in Germany."

"That's right. These are all Huaxia citizens, and we must help in any way we can." Bai Jiancheng smiled with satisfaction. "It's already late. Get to bed."

Bai Yueran excused herself.

The next day, the social media and television networks were the first to change the tides. The Tan Guiren incident, which had been a top headline several times in recent days, had disappeared without a trace. Instead, the case of the exchange student who'd been murdered in Germany became the hottest topic, and all sorts of details about the case went viral.

The case hadn't even been publicly tried in Germany, yet Huaxia reporters were already writing about a new detail-according to German laws, the male suspect was not yet 22 at the time of the crime, and because he'd been charged with manslaughter, he would only be incarcerated for seven years even if he was convicted. If he wasn't convicted, he would be released by the court. The Huaxia domestic internet exploded when the detail was released. Many people who were once fans and supporters of Germany exclaimed, "So, Germany is really like that!" Or they said, "The Germany I knew was a fake!"

Ma Qiqi, in particular, was following the case and grew indignant once again. At lunch, she still held her phone and continuously argued with people on the forums.

When Gu Nianzhi heard this, she also thought it was extremely ridiculous. "Manslaughter? How shameless are they?! Haven't they already changed jurisdictions?" Gu Nianzhi asked in confusion, "Could the Germany police be in cahoots with each other, so they don't want to give justice to a foreign exchange student?"

Ma Qiqi shrugged with a nod. "I'm guessing that's probably the reason." She sighed. "It won't be easy for this girl's family to get justice for her. I heard they are just a normal family and can't even afford to go to Germany, let alone hire a good lawyer to represent them."

Gu Nianzhi poked her head at Ma Qiqi's phone. "Maybe they can fundraise online for their travel expenses if they really want to go to Germany. I'm willing to donate."

Ma Qiqi cried out and slapped the desk. "Right! I'll leave a comment for them!" She wrote a comment under the news article with excitement. "I hope that the victim's family can see this. If you want to go to Germany, I'm willing to donate."

Her comment quickly became the most liked online.

That night, another news article was published saying that the Minister of Internal Affairs, Bai Jiancheng, had seen the news about the murdered exchange student and was following the case. He was using his own money to sponsor the victim's family to go to Germany to attend the trial and had also promised to help pay for the best lawyer to represent them there.

As soon as the news broke out, Bai Jianchang's popularity skyrocketed. He had been almost 10 percent behind Tan Dongbang in the polls, but the gap was reduced to 1 percent when the news of him voluntarily donating was published. Bai Jiancheng almost surpassed Tan Dongbang several times in the polls.

Both men had used publicity, but Bai Jiancheng's method was more effective, since the Tans' own daughter had been the victim. Since parents saving children was a normal occurrence, the public merely expressed sympathy for the Tans' use of "the sympathy card." However, Bai Jiancheng was helping a family who had nothing to do with him, and they happened to be normal Huaxia citizens who were almost at the bottom of society. Of course, this had an effect that appeared much more righteous and nobler than the Tans worrying about their own daughter.

Gu Nianzhi and Ma Qiqi also had their opinions of the Bais raised due to this incident. However, Gu Nianzhi didn't follow the case as intensely as Ma Qiqi. Gu Nianzhi had her own problems and was pining for Huo Shaoheng to suddenly come home every day. She didn't even know why she missed him so much, but she couldn't help herself.

On the last day of the semester, she went to hand over work at He Zhichu's office and was so absent-minded that she didn't hear what he was saying to her several times.

"Nianzhi, what's with you?" He Zhichu said, seeing that something was amiss. "Something bothering you?"

Gu Nianzhi composed herself and shook her head with a smile. "No, I just didn't sleep well last night. I'm feeling a bit dizzy and sleepy."

"What were you doing that you couldn't sleep properly?"

"We had a class dinner last night, since summer break starts tomorrow. Everyone wanted to have a farewell dinner." Gu Nianzhi smiled. "Professor He, all your documents are completed, and I copied all the exam scores to send them out. Was there anything else?"

He Zhichu thought she wasn't telling the truth, but her answer was ironclad. "What are you planning to do this summer break?" He Zhichu didn't want to pry if she didn't want to talk about it. He could tell she was absent-minded and wanted to give her a task to distract her. "Do you want to intern in the United States? Or pick up a few interesting cases for experience?"