Chongqing Deputy Mayor Sacked, Placed Under Investigation

June 15, 2020 Updated: June 15, 2020

An official who holds the dual position of deputy mayor and police chief of a major metropolis in China has been placed under investigation.

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, a Communist Party anti-corruption organ, issued a brief statement on June 14, announcing that Deng Huilin, deputy mayor of China’s megacity of Chongqing and chief of the city’s Public Security Bureau (akin to police), is suspected of “serious violations of law and Party discipline.”

The vague charge is an oft-used euphemism for corruption.

Deng’s name and photo have been removed from the leadership page on the Chongqing city government’s website.

Deng’s sacking would make him the fourth Chongqing police chief to be punished since Party leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, after Wang Lijun, He Ting, and Zhu Minggu.

In 2012, Xi launched an anti-corruption campaign targeting his political rivals—namely, those with ties or links to a faction loyal to former Party leader Jiang Zemin.

Career

Deng, 55, started his political career in central China’s Hubei Province, where he became the deputy mayor of the city of Yichang in 2009. In the following year, he took on the additional positions as Party secretary of the city’s Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC), as well as the chief of the city’s security bureau.

In October 2014, he became deputy chief of Hubei’s public security department. Then from June 2015 to July 2017, he worked in the anti-secession guidance and coordination office of the national PLAC.

The PLAC, once a powerful Party organ controlling China’s entire security apparatus that was dominated by the Jiang faction, has seen its power weaken under Xi, though the commission still controls China’s legal system.

Deng was a close aide to Meng Jianzhu, former Party secretary of the national PLAC. Meng is part of the “Shanghai gang,” a group of officials who owe their careers to Jiang’s political patronage.

Deng moved to Chongqing in July 2017, becoming Party secretary of the city’s police and deputy Party secretary of the municipal PLAC.

A month later, he took on the additional post of chief of the city’s police. In January 2018, he was named Chongqing’s deputy mayor.

Human Rights Crimes

Many Chinese officials in Chongqing have been found guilty of corruption.

Deng’s predecessor, He Ting, was removed from his posts and stripped of his Party membership after an investigation found him guilty of crimes including wasting public funds and abusing his power.

Sun Zhengcai, former party secretary of Chongqing, was sentenced to life in prison for corruption in May 2018.

In 2012, Wang Lijun, the former Chongqing police chief who once tried to defect to the city’s U.S. consulate in Chengdu, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for corruption.

Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s Party secretary from 2007 to 2012, was given a life sentence in 2013 for corruption.

Like Wang and Bo, Deng has been named by U.S.-based nonprofit organization the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) for his involvement in human rights crimes.

Former Party leader Jiang initiated a nationwide campaign to persecute the spiritual discipline Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) in July 1999, throwing practitioners in jails, brainwashing centers, and labor camps. Many officials earned political merit by aligning themselves with the Jiang faction and participating in the persecution campaign.

According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, at least 4,000 adherents have been killed since then, and at least 27 died between January and May this year. The true figure is likely to be much higher.

According to WOIPFG, Deng was connected to the arrests of five Falun Gong adherents in Yichang in late 2013 by local police. Among the five was Hu Zongzhi, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering from the city’s China Three Gorges University.

After his arrest, Hu was held at a local prison, where he was subjected to forced labor for more than 12 hours per day and forced to take unknown medications, according to Minghui.org, a website dedicated to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. In April 2014, he was sentenced to three years in prison for his faith.

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