Liu Han, the chairman of Sichuan Hanlong Co., an energy, mining, and investment conglomerate, has been taken into custody by Beijing police for allegedly harboring his brother, a fugitive wanted for murder.
Liu was in Beijing on business when he was detained by police last week, after China’s annual political meetings ended, according to a March 20 report by Shanghai Securities News, a subsidiary of state mouthpiece Xinhua.
The arrest has cast doubt on a number of international mining deals, including Hanlong’s $1.5-billion takeover of Sundance Resources in Australia.
A brief statement released by the police ministry Friday said Liu is under investigation for “serious offences.”
Given that Liu Han was a well-connected billionaire, many observers of Chinese politics suspect there is more to the arrest than the straightforward criminal complaint proffered by the authorities.
A Radio France Internationale (RFI) report on March 20 said Liu’s arrest could be linked to an unnamed former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, and Li Chuncheng, ex-deputy Party chief of Sichuan Province, who was removed from his post for graft, and was the first high-level cadre to be sacked after the 18th Party Congress last November.
The RFI report was widely republished by overseas Chinese media. Speculation rested on the idea that the “unnamed official” may be Zhou Yongkang, ex-security czar, and loyalist to former regime leader Jiang Zemin.
Zhou is known for being Jiang’s enforcer in the Falun Gong persecution, waged by the latter since 1999. Li Chuncheng, the official named by RFI, was known as a fixer for Zhou Yongkang. He has been identified by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) as being heavily involved with the persecution of Falun Gong adherents in Sichuan Province.
If Zhou Yongkang is indeed being targeted by the arrest of Liu Han, then it would be part of the apparent ongoing attempt by new Party leader Xi Jinping to target the Jiang coalition.
Written in English by Cassie Ryan.
Read the original Chinese article.
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