China’s largest search engine has now entered the political fray, returning once censored search results that reveal aspects of the drama now playing out within the senior ranks of the Chinese Communist Party.
That search engine, Baidu, recently started to return results for sensitive terms relating to the inner political struggle surrounding former Chongqing city chief of police Wang Lijun, giving outsiders a glimpse of how current political winds in China are blowing.
Wang made headlines around the world and tipped the scales in a political standoff among highest ranks of the Chinese regime when he attempted to defect to the U.S. in February.
That power shift has seen members of the “bloody hands faction,” led by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, fail in their attempt to cement control over the regime’s domestic security apparatus, a crucial goal in their effort to hold off an alliance of current leader Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Hu and Wen can now move forward with reforms on the most sensitive issue in China today—the persecution of Falun Gong.
The faction is comprised of senior cadres that were loyal to Jiang in his campaign to wipe out Falun Gong. Several cadres, including Wang’s former boss, the recently purged Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, and public security czar Zhou Yongkang, were promoted by Jiang for their zealous adherence to his order to destroy Falun Gong by any means possible, including torture and murder. Also included are Zhou’s predecessor Luo Gan, and Liu Jing, the former Deputy Minister of the Public Security Ministry.
Recently, Baidu stopped censoring NTD Television news coverage of the “Brave 300.” These villagers in Hebei put their real names and fingerprints to a petition calling for the local authorities to free a Falun Gong adherent arrested in their village. Their open petition is one of several signals that average Chinese are ready to challenge the regime’s crackdown on the spiritual group.
Another highly-sensitive NTD Television story now showing up on Baidu tells of a human rights lawyer calling for a trial of the bloody hands faction to be held in Beijing, an idea being coined as “the trial in Beijing.”
That Baidu is now returning results with these stories reveals high ranking Chinese officials are working to turn the tide on the Falun Gong issue.
Well-placed sources in Beijing recently revealed to The Epoch Times that Zhou was recently forced out of his position as the head of China’s powerful Political and Legislative Affairs Committee due to allegations he conspired with Bo to oust incoming Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Falun Gong Human Rights lawyer Zhu Wanqi said that a series of events, from the attempted defection of Wang Lijun to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu city, to the revelation of corruption and treason charges against Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, has gradually weakened the political clout of the bloody hands faction. That means now is the best time to start “the trial in Beijing,” which involves bringing Jiang Zemin, Zhou Yongkang and others to justice. Doing so would allow Hu and Wen to win the support of average Chinese citizens while reducing public grievances against the regime and winning international support and recognition.
Zhu Wangqi notes that it is time to start the trial in Beijing because for 13 years, Jiang, Luo Gan, Liu Jing, Zhou Yongkang and other senior cadres in the bloody hands faction have squandered China’s wealth for the sole purpose of persecuting Falun Gong. Chinese people themselves should take the leading role to start “the trial in Beijing,” so they can write a redeeming chapter in modern Chinese history, he said.
Some think that the regime may wait until Zhou retires after the 18th National Congress later this year or early next before directly dealing with Zhou. That has been the norm over the past 20 years, as senior authorities have avoided publicly punishing top officials, namely the handful that sit on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the regime’s highest political organ.
While some have concluded the CCP will not purge Zhou before he is officially retired at the upcoming Congress, the unblocked content on Baidu indicates Hu and Wen are intent on bringing Jiang and Zhou to justice.
Therefore, dismissing Zhou is not at all the ultimate goal but rather a crucial step in a much bigger plan.
Hu and Wen are fundamentally different from the bloody hands faction headed by Jiang and Zhou. Their attitude towards the persecution of Falun Gong is completely different and by unblocking the sensitive news about “the trial in Beijing,” Hu and Wen are shaping public opinion while testing people’s attitude towards such a move.
At the same time, Hu, Wen and Xi must have realized that to truly maintain social stability in China, the main culprits of the bloody hand faction—Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Liu Jing and Zhou Yongkang—must be brought to justice to solve the root causes of social unrest. If they are not brought to justice, all other attempts at reform will be in vain. For any fundamental reform to take place, those most responsible for arbitrary arrest, murder, and other widespread abuses must be punished, thereby sending a clear signal that such behavior is no longer acceptable.
That said, it remains to be seen how, if at all, Hu, Wen and Xi will take the kind of action necessary to truly change China and bring its worst criminals to account.
Read the original Chinese article.
When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.
Xia Xiaoqiang is a US-based writer and commentator on contemporary Chinese affairs.
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