Chinese Anti-Corruption Chiefs Can Become Targets Too

By Bailee Li
Bailee Li
Bailee Li
December 22, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
Wang Qishan attends a joint press conference after the fifth China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue on Dec. 5, 2008, in Beijing. Wang is heading up the new anti-corruption effort as new Secretary of the CCDI. (Guang Niu/Getty Images)

In China, when a senior cadre is suspected of a crime, instead of being subject to the judicial system, he is often put to the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption body, called the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). 

The CCDI then decides if it’s necessary to forward the case to the legal system—sometimes after the allegedly corrupt official has been through a few rounds of interrogation and torture. The fear of being caught and punished by the CCDI, particularly given the lack of due process that may be involved, makes cadres fear it. It also makes the job of secretary of the organization a sometimes dangerous one. 

On Dec. 24, 2000, Wei Jianxing, Secretary at that time, announced at the CCDI’s 5th annual meeting that as of 2001, there would be a family asset declaration system implemented for provincial-level cadres. In attendance were members of the Politburo, the second-most powerful body in China, the Secretariat, which handles daily Party affairs, the State Council, similar to a Cabinet, key members of the National People’s Congress, a kind of legislature, and members of the the Political Consultative Conference, an associate political body.

Many of the details about the threats to Wei Jianxing come from Cheng Ming magazine, a Hong Kong publication that focuses on Chinese politics, regularly featuring insider sources that cannot be independently verified.

Within ten working days of this meeting, 42.1 billion RMB had been withdrawn and 2.58 billion U.S. dollars had been transferred overseas from certain bank accounts. Wei Jianxing’s intention to stop or freeze suspected accounts was effectively stymied, according to Cheng Ming.

A few days after Wei’s announcement of the property declaration system, he received a registered New Year’s musical greeting card. The extra weight of the card caused concern to the inspectors in the public security bureau. When they opened the envelope, a bomb went off, seriously injuring the two inspectors. The bomb also contained poisonous materials, which resulted in the death of both inspectors. 

In mid-March 2002, Wei Jianxing’s personal bank account received a total of 10 million dollars from 20 anonymous transfers of 500,000 each from the same city. Wei immediately requested an investigation and stated, “This is not a mistake, but a political framing.” Other than himself, only the Politburo would have had the ability to access specifics of Wei’s bank account, the Cheng Ming magazine wrote.

On Nov. 29, 2001, Zhu Rongji called for an emergency meeting on security and protection at the State Council. It came as quite a shock to officials in Zhongnanhai, the leadership compound, that Wei Jianxing, Wen Jiabao, Luo Gan, Jia Chunwang, Liu Liyin, Ho Yong, Zhou Ziyu, Jia Qingzhe, and many others, had all become targets of assassination.

According to a report in Cheng Ming Magazine, Zhu Rongji disclosed at the meeting that since September of 2001, there had been over 40 cases of violence targeting members of the CCDI, the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, the Party body which controls all law enforcement in China, and the public security bureau. There were also more than 470 documented cases of life-threatening correspondence through postal mail and emails, according to Cheng Ming.

In 2011, Wikileaks released an Oct. 5, 2007, cable from the American consulate in Shanghai titled, “A Nanjing Academic’s View on Political Violence in China.”

The article stated that former secretary of the CCDI Wu Guanzheng’s son was murdered at the time that Wu was in charge of an investigation of the Shanghai Committee Secretary Chen Liangyu, one of Jiang Zemin’s political proteges. 

One can only wonder what now awaits Wang Qishan, the new Secretary of the CCDI.

Read the original Chinese article.

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Bailee Li