Chinese Communist Party (CCP) investigators have detained two senior confidants to Wang Lijun, the former police chief of the megalopolis Chongqing, whose attempted defection to a U.S. Embassy in February triggered one of the biggest scandals to hit China’s leadership. The scandal is ongoing as the Party approaches a once-in-a-decade transfer of power in its top power apparatus, the Politburo Standing Committee, set to take place this fall or after.
Wang, who reportedly told U.S. officials details of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China’s network of prisons, hospitals, and labor camps, is currently under investigation by the CCP’s Central Discipline Inspection Commission along with Bo Xilai, his former boss and the mayor of Chongqing, who was stripped of power in March.
Bo was considered a controversial figure in the Communist Party with a bloodied record; he was the favored candidate for power of Jiang Zemin, former regime leader, because of his involvement in Jiang’s campaign of persecuting Falun Gong, a popular spiritual practice. Bo’s spectacular downfall has led to the collapse of Jiang’s faction in the Party.
Party investigators have not touched on the political rifts in their charges against Bo, instead accusing him simply of misusing power, nepotism, and other offenses. His wife, Gu Kailai, is under investigation for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood.
The New York Times reported the two police officials close to Wang are Tang Jianhua, the deputy police chief of Chongqing; and Wang Pengfei (likely no relation), the head of the Yubei district police department. Wang Pengfei was removed from his post in late June and was escorted out of the city and detained by security officers.
The report makes no further mention of Tang, merely saying that he was also escorted and detained on the same day. Li Yang, another police official in charge of criminal investigations, was also fired.
Wang Pengfei is said to be a wiretapping expert who was involved in a campaign run by Wang Lijun and Bo. He is said to be the person who arranged Wang Lijun’s car trip to the U.S. Embassy in February that knocked over the first domino in the wide-reaching scandal.
The Bo and Wang scandal exposed a little-known rift between the so-called “bloody hands” faction composed by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, security czar Zhou Yongkang, and Bo himself, and the faction headed by current Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Zhou and Bo reportedly conspired to seize the leadership; a plan that would have come into effect after Xi Jinping was anointed Party and state chief later this year. The coup attempt was a means for Jiang Zemin to retain power in China and ensure that he and his co-conspirators would not be held accountable for their crimes against the Falun Gong, which have included torturing thousands to death, and harvesting the organs of adherents while they were still alive.
Bo, in an attempt to quickly advance through Party ranks, eavesdropped on top Party members and created a personality cult in Chongqing revolving around Maoist revivalism; he persecuted businessmen and criminals, labeling them members of the Mafia, while stripping their assets and using the proceeds to fund his political efforts.
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