A former Chinese deputy mayor who fled to the United States for fear of punishment for his open criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has found himself being threatened and followed by CCP agents in the United States after accepting an interview with The Epoch Times. Family, friends and former associates in China are also facing retribution.
Li Chuanliang, the former deputy mayor of Jixi City, Heilongjiang Province, China, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on Aug. 19 about his awareness of corruption and illegal operations by the regime as well as the coverup of the CCP virus outbreak. He also said that he quit from the CCP.
A few days after his interview, two former subordinates of his in China were arrested. Li believes that their arrest is a retaliation against him, and an example of how the CCP is punishing its critics inside the system.
When Li participated in an inauguration ceremony of a sculpture in support of the Hong Kong freedom movement at the California Liberty Sculpture Park in Los Angeles on Aug. 29, he was approached by a Chinese man with a Northeastern accent. The man told him in a threatening tone, “To have a chat would be good for you.”
Li decided to leave the event early and then noticed that a man and a woman were also preparing to leave, even though the event had only just begun. Soon after getting on the road in an Uber, Li realized that they were being followed. After some time, Li asked the driver to pull to the side of the road. The car with the couple in it passed them and stopped in front and waited.
Li told The Epoch Times he had to switch several taxis and take a detour, which cost him more than $500, to finally lose them.
Mr. Rui, who accompanied Li that day and was in the Uber with him, said he didn’t expect this kind of thing to happen in the United States. “It’s hard to believe they dare to do it in a democratic country. If the same situation happens again, we will definitely call the police and take legal action,” he said.
Li said he did not know why they were following him, but it is reasonable to believe that the CCP wanted to silence him, and sent out its overseas spies to threaten him. “It’s so rampant, but I refuse to be intimidated by them,” he said.
Family, Friends and Former Co-workers Punished
Since Li’s interview was published, some of his relatives and friends back in China have been questioned by the authorities there.
Furthermore, on the evening of Aug. 25, Li’s two former subordinates Wang Mingqiu and Tian Jinxia were arrested. Wang had served as the chief financial officer of Jixi City Finance Bureau, and as the deputy director of Jixi City Security Office. Tian had served as garden director of Jixi City Gardens Department and investigator of the City Construction Bureau. Tian is sick with cancer and about to retire.
The two women had expressed disdain for the CCP’s corruption and criticized the communist system. They and Li are friends in the same online chat group.
“We’re all friends in the same circle. The two of them have been interviewed before,” Li said. “Now the CCP is directly arresting people. This is obviously retaliation. I know their [CCP] method too well,” he added.
This is the latest example of people being punished for their criticism of the CCP. Another such case is Kong Lingbao, the former secretary of the Hengshan District Party Committee in Jixi City, who was arrested earlier this year for “making inappropriate remarks.” It’s also an example of the CCP’s modern day “Nine Kinsmen Extermination,” tactics, Li said, meaning they are not only punishing those who dare to defy the regime, but also their families, friends and social relations. Meanwhile, it exposes the CCP’s fear of the trend of people inside the system severing ties with it.
Recently, evermore CCP members have given up their party memberships and cut ties with the CCP. Last month, Cai Xia, a retired professor of the CCP’s Central Party School, was expelled from the party and stripped of her retirement benefits. Like Li, she also said in an interview with foreign media, “I’ve wanted to quit the party for a long time.”