Chapter 421: Holding the government and media hostage
What could the remaining foodstuff be used for?
Lu Zhixin looked puzzledly at Xu Tingsheng, venturing hesitantly, "Feeding pigs? Or maybe just pour it away?"
"It also has another use. Some people collect the swill and the oil slick from the grease traps in the drainage systems and boil them in a huge pan. And so, they are able to refine and produce new oil…"
Xu Tingsheng basically narrated the process of how gutter oil was refined.
Lu Zhixin's brows were tightly furrowed as she asked, "What would such dirty oil be used for?"
"After a bit of work, it can be sold to some small eateries or restaurants…" Xu Tingsheng said.
"…To cook food?" Lu Zhixin's stomach began to churn as she stared at the dishes in front of her.
Xu Tingsheng nodded composedly.
"Wah…" Lu Zhixin immediately clutched her mouth and dashed out of the room in the direction of the toilet.
"So fragile?" Xu Tingsheng wondered aloud, having only wanted to describe it more vividly as he had not thought that Lu Zhixin would show such a big reaction.
When he grabbed Lu Zhixin's bag and finally caught up with her, she was already more or less done vomiting. She was on the floor before the basin, retching heavily and wiping her face with water.
Xu Tingsheng patted her on the back and passed her a paper towel, forcing a smile, "Why such a big reaction?"
"Urgh…disgusting! No, I'll sue them for sure!" Lu Zhixin coughed, saying through clenched teeth.
"No, not this restaurant! I know the boss here. I went to their kitchen and took a look at the oil they're using. While it isn't some very famous brand, it's still good oil…do you think that I'd still take you here to eat if they were using gutter oil? If so, I would have to eat the food myself too!" Xu Tingsheng explained cheerily.
Realising her blunder, Lu Zhixin turned and slapped Xu Tingsheng on the face, glaring furiously at him with a face full of water droplets. She had really been terribly put off by his words earlier, to the extent that she had vomited all the food she had just eaten back up.
"How about we order a few more dishes? Or we could also eat somewhere else," Xu Tingsheng smiled, "I didn't know that your reaction would be so great. Indeed, you've lived a treasured life."
"I'm not eating anymore!" Lu Zhixin coldly replied and pushed Xu Tingsheng away, snatching her bag from him before stalking off.
Xu Tingsheng hurriedly chased after her, cheerfully admitting his mistake and apologising.
"Although this restaurant doesn't use it, this gutter oil really does exist!" Xu Tingsheng said, rushing to keep pace with Lu Zhixin, "Take Xishan here. Of all those stores and restaurants here, there would probably be at least ten of them which are using gutter oil, in my estimate."
"You say that thing's called gutter oil?"
"It exists here in Xishan?"
Since this hidden industry existed in Yanzhou, Xu Tingsheng believed that they would definitely not have overlooked the town of Xishan that was also filled with stores and restaurants.The projection of ten was already with him having lowered his estimate as much as possible.
"Yanzhou must have it too then."
"What about other cities?"
"It's also highly probable."
Lu Zhixin stopped in her tracks. The speed and ease at which she adapted to matters both far surpassed the norm as she immediately realised why Xu Tingsheng had told her all this, had invited her out to eat. She felt a little desolate inwardly…of course this had been because of work-related affairs…
Still, now was not the time to think about this.
"That is to say that of the companies taking part in Are You Hungry, it's virtually definite that some of them are using that gutter oil?" Lu Zhixin looked earnestly at Xu Tingsheng, asking.
If someone else got to this matter first, they would definitely be able to accumulate sufficient strength to take Hucheng down in one shot.
Xu Tingsheng nodded earnestly.
"What do you intend to do?"
"Let's not expose it for now. Choose a team of absolutely trustworthy people and get them to investigate it in secret. This has to be done no matter how much it costs," Xu Tingsheng said, "Next, I want to expose and uproot the entire hidden industry. So, even if we have to hire a PI from Hong Kong or something, I want to collect the full evidence, especially pictures, including how the gutter oil is refined and where it is then sold…everything."
Lu Zhixin considered this carefully before saying, "You will offend many people because of this. Hucheng may be drawn into it too…black-hearted businesses aside, the bureaucracy will also lose face. Viewing you as creating additional trouble for them, they will find trouble for us too. They may even interfere with Hucheng's operations through their local policies…that would be the most terrifying."
The quick-witted Lu Zhixin immediately latched on the most worrying part of this matter. What she was speaking of did exist in the bureaucracy of the various cities and could be seen from how they would keep the death toll a secret in mine accidents and whatnot.
"I know, but I still want to do it," Xu Tingsheng said resolutely.
"…Leave it to me then. You focus on your affairs over at Xingchen. I'll make the arrangements for this matter," After hesitating for a bit, Lu Zhixin decided to support Xu Tingsheng's stance.
"Right. Thank you then," Xu Tingsheng said, "The entire process must be kept tightly under wraps. There's no rush to expose it immediately, much less for just one or two places at once. We should handle the investigative work first, persuading the companies to desist as we gather evidence from all over the country. It's fine even if it takes quite a long time. We have to expose this in many different cities all at once."
Lu Zhixin momentarily contemplated on this before staring at him, "You want to hold the stance of the bureaucracy hostage?"
Xu Tingsheng had to admit that Lu Zhixin was really extremely smart.
"To be precise, I intend to forcibly tie the bureaucracy with us. The bureaucracy and the media habitually hide whatever they can. Therefore, I want to make it such that this matter definitely cannot be hidden or perfunctorily whiled away as soon as it is exposed. They would have no choice in such a scenario, and definitely would not be able to stay silent too. The only choice available to them would be to stand on our side and harshly rebuke those people even more forcefully than us," Xu Tingsheng said.
Even Lu Zhixin rather admired the current Xu Tingsheng she saw. He was in the process of becoming increasingly mature and dependable.
Xu Tingsheng smiled, next continuing, "As for the various local governments, let me make an analogy. If they were a bunch of people, and someone pointed out that one or two of them had fleas, they would be embarrassed and enraged. But if the whole bunch of them was pointed out to have fleas…their mentality would change. They would be in a haste to exterminate the fleas on them to prove that they are actually very clean and hygienic people. They will become my allies then."
Lu Zhixin nodded.
"So, there's no need to worry about that. It's fine," Xu Tingsheng patted her on the shoulder.
"Yes, this is a good thing. Also, if it's handled well, it will also boost Hucheng's reputation and operations greatly," Lu Zhixin smiled awkwardly after saying so, realising how it was like she was simply unable to look at a problem without relating it to the area of commercial benefits.
This might be the result of her environment ever since young. She had grown up under her father's influence as it was embedded into her very bones and really impossible to remove.
Xu Tingsheng parked his car at a carpark outside the academy city. The two walked back to the university together.
Back at the dormitory district, Lu Zhixin called for Xu Tingsheng to stop as he was about to walk away, saying, "Your Weibo should switch over to instant messaging. This is a rare opportunity."