How Jiang Zemin Encouraged Bo Xilai’s Atrocities, Part III

By Wen Hua
Wen Hua
Wen Hua
October 23, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Former Communist Party head Jiang Zemin
Former Communist Party head Jiang Zemin pictured in the Great Hall of the People on Oct. 21, 2007. As the Party leadership struggles over how to handle Bo Xilai, in the background is Jiang Zemin, who is ultimately responsible for the atrocities Bo carried out. (Goh Chai Hin/Getty Images)

This is Part IIl of the three-part series. Read Part l and Part ll.

News Analysis

Bo Xilai, who not long ago aspired to paramount rule, now sits in Qincheng Prison in Beijing while his former comrades debate how best to make use of him.

After Bo’s former police chief Wang Lijun was turned over by U.S. Consular officials to deputy ministers sent to take Wang back to Beijing, Wang disclosed the coup Jiang Zemin, Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai and others had plotted.

The Jiang faction had understood clearly that great crimes had been committed, and a debt was waiting to be paid. Tens of thousands of innocent Chinese had their organs torn from them while they were alive. They died anonymously and, on the basis of the meager witness testimony to have come out of China so far, in pain. Their bodies were cremated or sold to be turned into museum objects.

Only the rule of the CCP and with it the control of all the Party’s means of coercion and propaganda could ensure the faction’s safety. Bo Xilai was chosen to lead the usurpation.

By exposing this plot Wang defeated it. He gave CCP head Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao the weapon they needed to strip power from Jiang’s faction, which Hu and Wen have done relentlessly one step at a time over the past 8 months.

This September a consensus was reached within the Party: the Maoism Bo had championed was a past that would not be reborn. The Party united in turning in an uncertain, but new direction that repudiated the politics of Jiang and Bo.

But that new consensus did not settle the debt that still waits to be paid. The debate over how to try Bo is ultimately about whether or how to pay that debt.

Gauging Sentiment

According to a trusted source, at a meeting involving organ harvesting in the Party leadership compound Zhongnanhai, Premier Wen Jiabao said, “This [organ harvesting] has happened for many years. And we are about to retire and it has not been solved.”

“Now the news with Wang Lijun, the entire world has known about this,” Wen said. “The issue regarding Falun Gong should be solved together with Bo Xilai. The pieces of doing so are there.”

But so far, Wen’s views have not carried the day. Some Party leaders may favor using the trial of Bo Xilai as the first effort to clean up organ harvesting in China, but they don’t know if the Party can withstand what would follow. Who would then be tried next, and how many former top leaders would need to follow Bo into the docket?

Some Party leaders are trying to gauge sentiment among the people and the cadres, in order to figure out what information about organ harvesting to disclose and how to disclose it. This hesitation has left Jiang’s faction free to find ways to duck and shuffle.

Disclosure and Coverup

On Aug. 28, Xinhua announced that Public Security had busted 28 gangs involved in trafficking in kidneys. On Sept. 9, the Beijing-based business magazine Caijing carried a story about the trial of a gangster who had organized a network for buying kidneys and selling them to surgeons for transplantation.

The Caijing story was franker and more detailed than anything published before about organ harvesting in China. While it did not discuss the forced, live organ harvesting that Bo Xilai had used against Falun Gong practitioners, its discussion of the gangster’s kidney harvesting ring introduced the subject of organ harvesting to the Chinese people.

On the one hand, the Caijing story and the news about the 28 organ trafficking rings seemed to provide a kind of cover story for Jiang’s faction: the organs used in transplantation in China were provided by criminal gangs.

At the same time, the cover story that the gangs did it could only serve as a pretext. It could never satisfy even momentary scrutiny by someone knowledgeable about the issue.

On the other hand, the Caijing story showed how the gangster on trial had merely fit into a previously existing system that involved Public Security, the courts, military hospitals, and surgeons. It gave the Chinese people a hint as to the giant, state-sponsored organ network that was feeding China’s transplantation industry.

On Sept. 17, the deputy minister of Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China, Huang Jiefu, tried another approach to confuse the issue. Huang gave Caijing an exclusive interview in which he said that 35 percent of organ transplantations use organs sourced from living bodies, meaning voluntary donors.

Since, for cultural reasons, China’s voluntary organ donation program is almost non-existent, Huang’s statement is obviously false. He perhaps felt the need to give it due to an event the week before in D.C. and an event scheduled to happen the next day in Geneva.

On Sept. 12, a hearing was held in the U.S. Congress on organ harvesting. On Sept. 18, Annette Jun Guo, the editor-in-chief of The Epoch Times, addressed the 16th Plenary Meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, calling for an investigation into organ harvesting in China.

This growing international attention restricts the ability of the CCP to simply deny that forced, live organ harvesting has taken place. Chinese outside of China hear about it, and then those inside of China become informed also.

More was revealed a few days after Xinhua announced on Sept. 28 that Bo Xilai was expelled from the Party and would be tried in a criminal court.

The microblog Weibo removed the keyword ban on the word for “live organ harvesting.” Lifting such a ban is a kind of tease. People in China can see the search results but can’t read the articles.

The timing of the relaxation of this censorship was a reminder to those within the regime that Bo Xilai could still be tried for crimes other than “corruption,” while at the same time once more feeding the Chinese public another teaspoon of information about the mass atrocities.

Next … Scapegoat

Wen Hua