Jiang was the leader of the Central Military Commission, and during his announcement he was flanked by top generals within the military. According to a 2001 report from the Hoover Institute, several top-level generals publicly seconded his announcement. They included Chief of the General Staff General Fu Quanyou, General Logistics Department Director Wang Ke, and General Armament Department Director General Cao Gangchuan.
Just one year later, on July 20, 1999, Jiang launched the persecution against Falun Gong, and according to recent findings from WOIPFG, Jiang gave orders to begin the organ harvesting in 2000.
According to Hu Zhiming, a former officer of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, the reforms only affected lower-level officers, and businesses officially under the military. “The high-level officers can use their military background as leverage for business and profit,” he said in a phone interview. “That is still going on.”
Hu defected from China and testified before Congress in 2012 about his experience being twice imprisoned and tortured in China for practicing Falun Gong.
Hu said that while Jiang ended the Chinese military’s surface-level business ventures, “what he did contributed enormously to the corruption of the military.”
What took the place of the surface-level businesses was a deeper system of corruption, and new ways to buy loyalty of military officers—which the organ harvesting became a part of.
“The Jiang clique, in order to buy off the military, and make it listen to him and the CCP, they used this corrupt system,” Hu said.
According to Sarah Cook, senior research analyst at Freedom House, one of the key problems is that in China the military is not meant specifically for national defense. Its specified role is to protect the Chinese Communist Party—and this ties directly into its emphasis on indoctrination over combat training, and in the regime’s interests to pay off military leaders in order to ensure their loyalty.
“It’s the Party’s army,” Cook said in a phone interview. “It also functions as the national army, but it has these split missions, and it has these tensions because these two missions often contradict each other.”
“A national army would be around protecting the country,” she said, “but a Party’s army ends up with all these operations within it that involve political loyalty.”
“There are interesting things the Party needs to do to maintain their loyalty,” she said, “in the sense they want to let the military officers get rich and allow them to profit, because they want to maintain their loyalty.”