Two Chinese Security Officials Are Said to Be Under Investigation

September 4, 2013 6:55 pm Last Updated: October 14, 2013 4:00 pm

Two Chinese communist officials in the security and legal apparatus, believed to have ties to the former security czar Zhou Yongkang, are said to now be under investigation, according to an overseas Chinese media outlet.

Mingjing News reported on Sept. 4 that Cao Jianming, the attorney general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and Li Dongsheng, the deputy minister of the Public Security Bureau and the director of the 610 Office, were being investigated. Mingjing did not say which agency was supposed to be investigating them, but in such cases it is generally the Communist Party’s internal disciplinary commission.

The report is the latest indication that the political network of Zhou Yongkang, who ran the Chinese Communist Party’s security apparatus for five years, from 2002 to 2007, is being dismantled.

Last week a number of official notices said that key figures in the oil industry, and in particular officials at the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, had been dismissed from their posts and were being put under investigation. Chinese state media, when it reports on such cases, usually says that the officials are guilty of “disciplinary violations,” an oblique reference to corruption.

Significant in the present case is that one of the officials, Li Dongsheng, is director of the 610 Office. Named after the date of its formation, June 10, 1999, the 610 Office was created by Jiang Zemin, former Communist Party head, to implement the persecution of Falun Gong. Li, who used to be the deputy director of CCTV, was reportedly encouraged into his current position with the 610 Office, as well as deputy minister of the Public Security Bureau, by Zhou Yongkang.

As head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, Zhou controlled the police, the secret police, the People’s Armed Police, and the entire Ministry of Justice, including the prosecutors, courts, and the prison system.

“Zhou set up his own empire isolated from central Party control,” said Heng He, a political commentator, in an interview with Sound of Hope, a Chinese-language radio network. “Now his henchmen and assets are being reined in. Xi Jinping has no choice but to deal with the threat once posed by Zhou, which cannot be tolerated.”

For the many years that Zhou Yongkang was the head of the security forces, “he brought countless miscarriages of justice,” according to Xia Xiaoqiang, a columnist and political commentator. “People all want to see Zhou Yongkang punished, but if the Communist Party wants to deal with Zhou’s case like Bo Xilai’s case, covering up the real crimes, Chinese people won’t be satisfied,” he added.

At around the same time as the news about the investigation of the security officials came out, a company and a businessman associated with Zhou Yongkang were also reported to be under investigation. The company, Huisheng Engineering Corporation, is a major subsidiary under Sinopec, an oil company that Zhou’s family exercises control over. The businessman, Wu Bing, active in the energy sector, is described by domestic Chinese media as being a “housekeeper” in Zhou’s patronage network.