Chinese Top Public Security Official Placed Under Investigation

April 20, 2020 Updated: April 21, 2020

A high-ranking public security official in China has been placed under internal investigation, though whether it has to do with Beijing’s handling of the CCP virus outbreak is unclear.

Sun Lijun, 51, a vice minister within China’s Ministry of Public Security, is suspected of “serious violations of Party discipline and the law,” according to an online announcement on April 19.

He’s now under investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervisory Commission, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) internal anti-corruption watchdogs.

The public security ministry is in charge of China’s police system.

The two agencies didn’t provide further details about Sun’s alleged wrongdoing, but the turn of phrase in the announcement is an oft-used euphemism for corruption.

Sun played a significant role in Beijing’s effort to combat the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

In January, Beijing set up a coordination group for the prevention and control of the virus, under the Politburo Standing Committee—the Party’s top decision-making body.

Sun was a member of the group, which is headed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, according to Chinese state-run media reports.

On Feb. 20, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported on its website that Sun was among a group of Chinese officials who accompanied Yin Yong—a former mayor of Shanghai who became Party secretary of Hubei Province on Feb. 13—to listen to local prevention reports at the Wuhan Public Security Bureau a day earlier. Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s outbreak, is the capital city of Hubei.

Sun also appeared on Xianwen Lianbo, a daily news program on state-run broadcaster CCTV, on March 9. The program showed that Sun attended an oath-taking ceremony at a local police station in Wuhan, for two police officers who joined the Party after taking part in the virus response.

On Sunday evening, when Zhao Kezhi, China’s public security minister, held a meeting for police officials. According to Chinese state-run media, the meeting discussed how Sun had for a long time “ignored the Party’s discipline and political rules.”

In recent years, many Party officials who were charged with disciplinary violations later were convicted in formal court proceedings.

Persecution of Faith Group

Sun, a native of Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong Province, became the vice minister in March 2018.

Prior to his post, Sun was a deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Shanghai municipal government; director of the public security ministry’s office in dealing with affairs in Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; as well as a deputy director of the Central 610 Office.

The 610 Office was a Gestapo-like secret police force that was established expressly to carry out the persecution of Falun Gong adherents. It was nominally abolished in 2019, but its functions have continued to be carried out by other regime security forces.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice that involves meditative exercises and moral teachings based on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

Since July 1999, the CCP regime has severely persecuted Falun Gong, with hundreds of thousands of adherents detained in prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers, often while also being tortured. Thousands have died, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center, though the true number is likely far higher.

The pandemic has not slowed down the regime’s persecution campaign. According to Minghui.org, a website that monitors the persecution of Falun Gong in China, 384 Falun Gong adherents were arrested and 363 harassed—among them 313 saw their homes ransacked—in March alone.

Hebei Province saw the most cases of arrests with 48, followed by Liaoning Province with 45 and Shandong Province 44.

In the same month, fifteen adherents were given court sentences due to their faith. Three adherents were persecuted to death, according to Minghui.org.

Political Infighting

A source familiar with internal Party affairs who does not wish to be named told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that Sun’s downfall had to do with political infighting within the Party, as Sun is part of a political faction loyal to former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

Since current Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he has utilized an anti-corruption campaign to purge the Party of Jiang faction officials.

According to the source, Sun posed a threat to Xi because he is a high-ranking official within the Jiang faction.

Sun was former director of the first and 26th departments of the public security ministry, which according to the source, is in charge of the security detail for top Party officials’ family members.

Current leader Xi decided to eliminate such a high-level threat, as there have been recent rumors of a political coup against Xi, the source added. Sun’s downfall means that Xi is now in control politically.

Previously, Xi purged high-level Jiang officials such as former Chinese security czar Zhou Yongkang and Meng Hongwei, former vice minister of public security and Interpol president.

Before being sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015, Zhou, who climbed up the political ladder by carrying out the persecution campaign against Falun Gong, plotted with former Party boss of Chongqing Bo Xilai to stage a coup against Xi.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @HwaiDer