The situation in mainland China is in upheaval, and the regime’s security officials are feeling the heat, fearing they may one day be called to account for their role in persecuting the spiritual practice of Falun Gong.
Beginning in 2012, several high-profile incidents suggested that those involved in the campaign against Falun Gong might one day be held accountable. Around that time, the members of Jiang Zemin’s faction began looking nervously for signs that Jiang was healthy and still influential.
The latest blow came with the arrest of the individual in charge of the persecution. On the evening of Dec. 20, 2013, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Commission for Discipline announced that Li Dongsheng, Deputy Minister of Public Security and Director of the Central 610 Office, was under investigation for serious violations of the law.
The 610 Office is a secretive, extra-legal Communist Party organization, established on June 10, 1999 specifically to carry out the campaign against the Falun Gong spiritual practice.
While Li’s position as head of the 610 Office has been kept semi-secret, in the announcement of his investigation it was mentioned as his first official title, which can be seen as a hint that the persecution of Falun Gong, not graft, is central to probe of Li.
During the over 14 years of the persecution of Falun Gong, hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained at any one time, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center. Millions are believed to have suffered brainwashing and torture, and an estimated tens of thousands have been subjected to organ harvesting. Yet, the CCP has tried throughout to keep the Chinese people in the dark about the persecution it has carried out.
Falun Gong practitioners in China have sought to make the campaign against them visible with a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience, believing the Chinese people will oppose the persecution if they know clearly what is happening. Using home-made banners, flyers, and DVDs, the practitioners tell people about what Falun Gong is and why it is persecuted. For years these efforts have worked largely below the surface.
In 2012, though, changes could be seen in a number of high-profile incidents that put pressure on the top CCP leaders.
On June 4, 2012, Falun Gong website Minghui.org, which serves as a clearinghouse for first person accounts of the persecution in China, published an article about two sons of a high-ranking CCP official. Several years ago, the brothers were unlawfully sent to labor camps and severely tortured because they practice Falun Gong. Epoch Times reported on the case on Oct. 30, 2012.
The brothers had suddenly demanded a large sum of compensation and a public apology from the local CCP officials of the 610 Office for the abuse. In addition they asked former leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to personally look into the matter.
The brothers warned the local 610 Office, high-level officials of the police department, and the local CCP secretary that they would publish evidence of the local officials’ corruption on the Internet if they were not paid compensation.
They said they would also turn the evidence over to CCP central leaders and to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to have the officials placed under “shuanggui,” an abusive form of investigation that usually involves torture to obtain confessions.
The brothers further demanded that the 610 Office and the local PLAC hand over the videos of their interrogations. It is a requirement of the procuratorate that police must record their interrogations.
According to the Minghui report, local police told a local Falun Gong practitioner that the officials at the local 610 Office, police department, and PLAC were all very scared.
Local 610 officials tried talking to the brothers, the report said, but the brothers could not be persuaded to withdraw their demands.
A letter of apology from an official at the local Politics and Legal Affairs Committee [PLAC, the super agency responsible for nearly all matters involving domestic security and the legal system] office who had participated in the mistreatment of the brothers then emerged. The official asked a relative to write and send the letter to Epoch Times for publication, and Epoch Times was able to establish its authenticity.
In the letter the official begged for mercy from the brothers and all the Falun Gong practitioners he persecuted. He repeatedly said that he was “kneeling down to beg” Falun Gong practitioners to forgive his crimes.
The letter also expressed helplessness about the system, saying, if he doesn’t follow orders, he would lose his job; and if he does follow them, he may end up in jail, or even get killed.
“After entering a detention center or prison, no one will even know how I died in the dark. And while outsiders don’t know, how could we insiders not know? … Are only the higher leaders people, and we are not people? Achievements are all theirs, mistakes are all ours!” the letter stated.
The official also commented on the case of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai, saying: “Now I understand why Wang Lijun [Bo’s police chief] ran to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu: “Why did he give evidence to a foreign party? Why did he sink the boat? He felt helpless. It’s ok to lose his title, but he didn’t want to lose his life.”
He urged police to “learn from comrade Wang Lijun” and take measures to protect themselves by giving evidence about some leader’s crimes to a trusted friend or relative overseas, because sooner or later they would all become scapegoats.
“The more ground-level you are, the more severe your charges will be when you become the scapegoat,” the letter stated. “But the more officials are dragged into this, the safer everyone will be. The bigger the issue becomes, the harder it is for the CCP to deal with it using political means. If the issue goes international, then it might actually get dealt with transparently under the law. There won’t be those fast and severe punishments.”
Standing Committee Investigates
During the incident with the two brothers, Jia Qinglin, a senior leader of the CCP and part of the top-ranking Politburo Standing Committee, was dispatched to investigate. This scared officials at all levels, the letter stated.
“They all thought the incident has gotten big, and if Jia Qinglin can come, it means the other Politburo Standing Committee members must also know,” the letter stated.
According to the letter writer, Jia Qinglin was furious, saying: “Our leaders of the local Public Security Bureau, PLAC, and the municipal Party Committee are incompetent. They are now all frightened and shirk responsibility. No one dares to settle the matter with the two brothers. Officials at all levels were repeatedly insulted, having their names mentioned by the two brothers in writing, being scolded by them as all being blind and like a dog, doing wicked things. But no officials dared to say anything to the brothers.”
This wasn’t the first time Jia Qinglin was sent to investigate a Falun Gong case. On July 15, 2012 Jia went to his hometown Botou in Hebei Province. A local official said Jia was to investigate the development situation in Hebei. But Jia was actually sent by the CCP Politburo Standing Committee on a secret mission to investigate a Falun Gong case.
Falun Gong practitioner Wang Xiaodong from Zhouguantun, Fu Town, Botou City was forcibly arrested by the Botou City PLAC in Feb. 2012, sparking outrage in the village. Three hundred villagers, representing every family in the village, signed their names and thumbprints on a petition bearing the seal of the village committee and demanding that the authorities release Wang.
The petition became known as the “Brave 300 case.” It was circulated within the Politburo and alarmed top Party leadership, Epoch Times reported.
Since then, many more similar cases have appeared, with tens of thousands of people all over China protesting against unlawful arrests of citizens who practice Falun Gong.
The letter also mentioned the live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, and that it has been gaining worldwide attention has CCP leaders worried.
“Others might not believe it, but we do. We insiders know how cruel and merciless the CCP really is. The CCP will do anything,” the letter stated.
The official also predicted in the letter that, if openly exposed, the live organ harvesting would be the end of the CCP.
Jiang Zemin and His Faction
In July 1999 former paramount leader Jiang Zemin ordered the campaign to eradicate the practice of Falun Gong. Jiang feared how popular Falun Gong was and how its traditional teachings might be more persuasive to the Chinese people than the CCP’s ideology.
To gather the entire nation’s resources in his attack on Falun Gong, Jiang established the 610 Office to deal with emergency situations, command the military, armed police, police, diplomacy, finance, communication, education, and other departments based on need.
Political activist Chen Pokong wrote in his recent article “Who Toppled Bo Xilai”: “The persecution of Falun Gong during Jiang Zemin’s term was the worst thing he did in his life. He later found that his colleagues Zhu Rongji, Qiao Shi, Li Ruihuan and others were very negative toward the persecution of Falun Gong. Hu Jintao, his successor, [premier] Wen Jiabao, and others were also low key regarding the Falun Gong topic. He [Jiang] knew the seriousness of the issue.”
Generally, the PLAC secretaries at the various levels are also in charge of the 610 Office. Zhou Yongkang, as the head of the PLAC, naturally became Jiang’s top hit man. To prevent the Jiang faction from being punished for its crimes, the most important task was to maintain control over the position of the PLAC secretary. The faction turned to Bo Xilai, who in 2007 had been named the Party boss of the southwestern megalopolis of Chongqing.
In Feb. 2012, after, Bo Xilai’s right-hand man Wang Lijun escaped to the U.S. Consulate, Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang’s secret plans to highjack the position of PLAC secretary and to usurp power from Xi Jinping were exposed. This caused Bo Xilai’s downfall. Afterwards, the Jiang faction was left crippled and has remained in disorder.
When Mao Zedong died, the CCP immediately took down the gang of four (a group of Party officials, including Mao’s last wife Jiang Qing, who controlled the CCP’s power organs during the latter part of the Cultural Revolution. The four were tried for treason and blamed for the worst chaos and excesses of the Cultural Revolution), denied the Culture Revolution, and made huge changes.
While Jiang Zemin is not dead yet, hundreds of his followers have been taken down since early in 2012.
Looking For Jiang
For some time, PLAC and 610 Office officials have predicted that the Communist Party will re-evaluate the campaign against Falun Gong. They are terrified and are said to be extremely concerned about Jiang’s health, whether Jiang is still alive, and whether he is maintaining political influence.
Seeing their bleak future, the remnants of the Jiang faction have tried hard to keep up their spirits by sticking together, creating fake news about the aging Jiang appearing in public, and trying to avoid immediate punishment.
On Oct. 20, 2012 the CCP media outlet Renmin published a photo on its website of Jiang Zemin showing up in public, claiming Shanghai Ocean University’s website as the source. But comparing time tags on Renmin’s raw photo with the one at Shanghai Ocean University, there was a 7-hour time lag, with the Renmin photo appearing before the university one. The photos also seem to have been photo-shopped.
On May 7, 2012 a photo of Jiang Zemin meeting with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in April was circulating on the Internet. However, official mainland media did not report on this. Starbucks Shanghai headquarter spokesperson Wang Xingrong and the Foreign Ministry also declined to comment on whether this meeting took place. Some commentators suggested this photo was created using Photoshop.
In September 2012, a report claimed that Jiang Zemin appeared at the National Theatre during the night of Sept. 22 to watch a play. But this was also later found to be a false report.
Translation by Albert Ding. Written in English by Gisela Sommer.
Read the original Chinese article.