A top Communist Party leader in China’s northeastern province of Liaoning, who is responsible for persecuting a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer and practitioners of a traditional Chinese self-cultivation discipline, has been placed under investigation.
Su Hongzheng, a standing committee member of Liaoning’s Party organization, and the head of the provincial domestic security committee, was found to have “seriously violated Party discipline”—a euphemism for malfeasance—according to a terse announcement by the Party’s anti-corruption agency on April 6.
Su is not the first high-ranking official to be purged in Liaoning. Four other provincial-level Party cadres, including former Liaoning Party Secretary Wang Wei, have been sacked since 2012, according to The Paper, a semi-official Chinese news website.
As head of Liaoning’s security apparatus, which controls the Chinese regime’s police, judiciary, and prison systems, Su Hongzheng oversaw the persecution of prominent Dalian human rights lawyer Wang Yonghang.
In 2007, Wang started defending practitioners of Falun Gong, and even wrote an open letter to then Chinese leader Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao arguing that the Chinese regime has no legal grounds to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners in court.
Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin had ordered a nationwide suppression of Falun Gong in 1999 after discovering that the practice’s slow moving exercises and teachings of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance had attracted an estimated 70 to 100 million adherents. The Chinese regime’s security apparatus detained hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners, and subject them to severe torture and abuse while incarcerated.
Lawyer Wang Yonghang was eventually subjected to the same fate as those he was defending. In 2009, Wang was arrested in Dalian, a city in Liaoning Province, and sentenced to seven years in prison. While being held in Shenyang No. 1 Prison, Wang was subjected to force-feeding and torture after he tried to stop other prison inmates from hitting Falun Gong practitioners, according to Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for information about the persecution of Falun Gong.
Lawyers for Lawyers, a NGO based in Netherland, wrote in a February 2015 report that Wang has been in bad health for years, and was then known to be suffering from “symptoms of tuberculosis, pneumonia, chest congestion and a buildup of fluid in tissues around his abdomen.”
Those whom Wang Yonghang tried to defend fared much worse. According to Minghui, there have been 37 instances of Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted to death since Su Hongzheng helmed the Liaoning PLAC in November 2011.
The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization whose intended mission is in its name, had named Su to be directly responsible for the torture and persecution of two Falun Gong practitioners and a human right lawyer.
One notable case involves Zhao Fugui, a 43-year-old resident from the city of Benxi who was abducted by local police in July 2014, and given a five-year sentence in December 2014, according to Minghui.org. Angered that Zhao was thrown in jail just because he practiced Falun Gong, over 300 local villagers lent their signatures to a petition calling for his immediate release.
When news of Su Hongzheng’s purge broke on the Chinese internet, several Chinese citizens took to the discussion section of the popular Chinese news portal Sina to rejoice at the fall of a persecutor, and condemn the Party organ he used to run.
“People of Liaoning celebrate enthusiastically,” were the words of two netizens.
“On the security bureau in Liaoning … it’s dark … very dark,” wrote “sjyk555” from Benxi, a city in Liaoning.
“The Liaoning domestic security apparatus should be overhauled,” commented “Do Good Deed 2015” from Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province.