EXCLUSIVE: China’s Top Leaders Split Over Handling of Security Czar

April 16, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
the powerful domestic security czar, is rumored to be on the ropes
The attempted defection on Feb. 6 of former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun (first domino) has set in motion accelerating changes in the Party hierarchy. Former Chongqing Party head Bo Xilai (second domino) was sacked on March 15 and then put under investigation on April 10. Now, Zhou Yongkang (third domino), the powerful domestic security czar, is rumored to be on the ropes. (Illustration by The Epoch Times, photos by Feng Li/Getty Images and Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images)

As the political star of former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai has recently fallen in dramatic style, the spotlight has hit his ally, Zhou Yongkang, head of the domestic security apparatus. Zhou Yongkang is chief of the powerful Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC) and a member of Politburo Standing Committee—one of the nine men who holds ultimate power in the Communist Party.

Top leaders of the Party are currently split over how to publicly deal with Zhou and the investigation surrounding him, a source from Beijing told The Epoch Times. On April 12, the Korean paper Chosun Ilbo quoted information leaked from Beijing’s circle of foreign affairs and reported that on the evening of March 19, the Committee for Disciplinary Inspection had begun an investigation of Zhou.

The Beijing source said the top leaders have known Zhou’s crimes for a long time but hesitated in exposing them for fear that revealing their scale would be so shocking to people that it might spell the end of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The source revealed that Premier Wen Jiabao pushed for Zhou’s crimes against Falun Gong to be exposed, including the widespread use of torture and cases of Falun Gong practitioners being killed for their organs.

Publishing information about Zhou’s crimes appears to be the next step in a campaign aimed at the Party faction Zhou belongs to. That faction is tied together through responsibility for the persecution of Falun Gong, which former Party head Jiang Zemin launched in July 1999. The disgraced Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, Luo Gan (Zhou’s predecessor as head of the PLAC), Zeng Qinghong (currently head of the National Peoples’ Congress), and other high-ranking Party officials were promoted by Jiang as a reward for the leading roles they played in persecuting Falun Gong.

The regime has launched a heavy media campaign against Bo. On the night of April 10, CCTV and People’s Daily reported that Bo was suspended from his dual posts. On April 11, all Chinese media repeated the exact same report by CCTV and People’s Daily. People’s Daily published commentaries for three consecutive days—April 11, 12, and 13—to push the message that all must support the central government’s decision over Bo.

On April 11, CCTV’s nightly news broadcasted interviews of the general public, including Party cadres and ordinary people from different areas of the country. The interviewees all said, “We firmly support the central government’s decision over Bo.”

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Many China watchers understand that when the Party strongly emphasizes a message, something has gone awry and the Party wants to ensure there is no resistance.

On April 14, the media focus shifted from Bo to Zhou.

People’s Daily published an editorial titled, “No one should think that criminal charges won’t be pursued against top Party officials.” Jiang Zemin had previously established an unofficial rule stating there would be “no investigations of members at the level of the Politburo Standing Committee.”

Washington, D.C.-based China expert Shi Zangshan called the People’s Daily statement highly threatening. “It is not only saying that Zhou Yongkang will be in trouble. It also hints that if officials of the Jiang faction, who have something to do with Bo Xilai and Zhou, choose the wrong side, they will be in danger.”

Many documents exposing Zhou’s crimes have started appearing on the Internet since April 10, including his alleged staging of a car accident that killed his ex-wife and a coup plan in which he acted as the main organizer—said on the Internet to have been revealed by Bo’s wife Gu Kailai in order to avoid the death penalty. Gu is under investigation for the death of British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011.

On April 12, Chinese netizens were unable to access foreign websites for over an hour and users in several other countries had trouble connecting to Chinese sites. Speculation on the Internet attributed the outage to Party Central wanting to have the ability to cut the country’s Internet off in case of political unrest in connection with the current struggle against the Jiang faction.

Continued in the next page: The Party is intentionally releasing information about Zhou to the public …