Top graft buster Wang Qishan attends opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2016 in Beijing, Кытай. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)Top graft buster Wang Qishan attends opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2016 in Beijing, Кытай. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Wang Qishan, China’s most powerful official after Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, has made a series of public appearances recently, after having disappeared from public view for months. Wang’s absence from the media led to speculation about his political future, to which he retorted with three appearances in the space of a week. Such appearances are bellwethers of political vitality in China’s opaque political system.

Footage from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed Wang, who heads the Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency, attending a national disciplinary inspection assembly on Sep. 8.

At the meeting, Wang stressed the importance of reflecting on the results of anti-corruption work carried out since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, and expressed resolve to continue with “unremitting efforts.”

“Party Central fully affirms the disciplinary inspection work,” Wang said.

Observers of Chinese politics closely watch signs of Wang’s presence (or absence) in the media for hints on whether he will continue to serve in the Politburo Standing Committee after the leadership reshuffling at the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress. The Standing Committee is the Party’s executive leadership and is composed of seven cadres, including Wang and Xi, who heads the body.

According to an unofficial convention of the regime, members of the Standing Committee who reach the age of 68 at the time of the Party Congress are expected to retire; officials aged 67 or younger may stay for the next five-year term. Wang Qishan, who is a key ally for Xi Jinping in his anti-corruption campaign, turned 69 this July.

Two days before Wang appeared on television, he attended a political seminar honoring his late father-in-law, the former vice premier Yao Yilin. Wang was accompanied by his wife and eldest grandson.

Besides the presence of four Politburo members, the Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily took special notice of two officials—Xi Yuanping, younger brother of Chinese president Xi Jinping, and Li Zhanshu, Xi’s right-hand man. “Xi Jinping sent two representatives to the meeting, one official and one personal…to show his respect,” the report says.

Wang was also addressed, apparently for the first time by Chinese state media, as the leader of the “Central Leading Group for Inspection Work.”

From Sept. 3 үчүн 5, Wang also paid a three-day visit to the central Chinese province of Hunan where he held a discipline inspection symposium, as reported both on CCTV and the official website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection that Wang heads.

Given Wang’s tendency to keep a low profile, the prominent media exposure is highly unusual, and has been seen as a pointed rebuttal of rumors that he has been diagnosed of late stage liver cancer. Independent political commentator Zhou Xiaohui says the media reports should also be read as a hint that Wang remains in Xi Jinping’s favor.

Since May, Guo Wengui, a fugitive Chinese billionaire who resides in an $67 million luxury apartment in Manhattan overlooking Central Park, has made various unproven corruption charges against Wang and his family members using social media. Guo has been linked with the political network grouped around former Party leader Jiang Zemin; the anti-corruption campaign under Xi and Wang has targeted hundreds of cadres aligned with Jiang. Guo faces a number of lawsuits from Chinese officials, actresses, жана businesses for unpaid debts and defamation.

Xin Ziling, a retired official at the National Defense University, believes that Wang’s political position is protected on account of the indispensable role he plays in Xi’s administration.

“Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Wang Qishan are going to be the core in the 19th National Congress,” Xin told The Epoch Times. Li Keqiang is the premier. “If they take down Wang Qishan, it’s effectively saying that Xi’s anti-corruption effort was wrong.”

“Once you shoot the arrow, there’s no getting it back,” Zhou Xiaohui said. “The tone coming from state media has been that anti-corruption is going to continue, and Xi would be handicapping himself if he loses Wang Qishan.”

Wang’s absence has typically been associated with the purge of “big tigers”—the Chinese term for high-ranking corrupt officials. The last time Wang returned to public view after 40 days of silence, the authorities announced the investigation of prominent Chongqing Party secretary Sun Zhengcai, extinguishing the hopes in some quarters that he would be a candidate for succeeding Xi Jinping in the leadership.

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Former Liaoning Province Party Secretary Wang Min. (zzwave.com)Former Liaoning Province Party Secretary Wang Min. (zzwave.com)

Wang Min, the former Party boss of the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning, was sentenced to life imprisonment on August 4 for accepting bribes, corruption, and dereliction of duty, according to state-run media.

Wang, 67, is the latest prominent official affiliated with former Party chief Jiang Zemin to be prosecuted in China’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

Since 2013, Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s campaign against malfeasance has ousted over 1 million officials for corruption, including an increasing number of top officials like Wang Min who are tied to the powerful Jiang political coalition that have played an oppositional and obstructionist role towards Xi’s rule.

Wang Min was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party in August 2016, and was recently sentenced by an intermediate court in central China’s Henan Province.

He was found to have embezzled one million yuan (US$148,577) in public funds and accepted bribes worth more than 146 million yuan (US$21.7 million), while serving in high-level positions in Jilin and Liaoning Province between 2004 жана 2016.

He was also found guilty of negligence and was held responsible for severe election fraud, including vote buying, in the Party-controlled legislature in Liaoning. The electoral fraud scandal in Liaoning led to the ousting of 45 officials in September 2016.

During the anti-corruption agency’s investigation into Wang Min, he admitted guilt and expressed remorse, so he received a more lenient sentence, according to Xinhua, the Chinese regime’s mouthpiece news agency.

“To gain merit, Wang must have offered information on other people, including Sun Zhengcai, who succeeded him as Party Secretary of Jilin Province back in the day,” according to analysis by Gao Xin at Radio Free Asia. Sun replaced Wang as the Jilin Party chief in November 2009, when Wang was transferred to Liaoning.

A member of the Chinese regime’s elite 25-person ruling body, Sun Zhengcai appears to have been groomed as a representative of the Jiang network and was considered a potential successor to Xi Jinping as China’s top executive, before he was put under investigation by China’s anti-corruption agency in mid-July.

Wang Min was not the only Jiang faction ally who later betrayed Sun Zhengcai. The former police chief of Chongqing, He Ting, also offered compromising information on Sun after He Ting was purged in June. The two formerly worked together in Chongqing, and He Ting once boasted about their long friendship, according to sources close to He Ting.

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Party officials gathered in Beijing for an emergency meeting on July 26 жана 27. (CCTV)Party officials gathered in Beijing for an emergency meeting on July 26 жана 27. (CCTV)

Days before top sitting and retired leaders of the Chinese regime headed off to Beidaihe to enjoy the resort and discuss political arrangements, hundreds of officials from all over the country were summoned to Beijing for an emergency meeting in a special hotel that hosts political conferences.

From July 26 to July 27, round 300 provincial-level officials, military generals and Party elders gathered in the high-security Jingxi Hotel to study a keynote speech by Xi Jinping.

“Xiakedao,” an official WeChat account of the overseas version of the People’s Daily, declared the meeting “the most important high-level meeting ahead of the 19th Congress.” The article headline reads: “Great things have finally come to pass.”

In his speech, Xi summarized various accomplishments over the past five years, and noted major risks lying in economic, political and social sectors. “Many long-unresolved challenges have been solved, and many major, yet long-unfinished legacies established," ал айтты, according to the article.

It has been customary for high officials to meet up and set the tone for the upcoming Party congress, which will finalize the top leadership structure for the next five years. But the meeting this year seemed to be curiously secretive. Snapshots from China Central Television, the state television broadcaster, reveal a group of solemn officials sitting upright behind a spotless table devoid of notebooks, pens, or even cups for water—a stark contrast to the typical scene of hunchbacked notetaking.

According to Ming Chu-cheng, head of National Taiwan University’s political science department, the last time a secret Party meeting was held under similar circumstances came soon after Lin Biao, China’s top military commander and a designated successor to Mao Zedong, died in a plane crash when fleeing to the Soviet Union.

Hu Ping, chief editor of the overseas magazine Beijing Spring, believes that Xi convened the conference to further consolidate power. He notes that the timing of the conference was close to the purge of prominent Chongqing official Sun Zhengcai, on July 24.

Xi, Hu said, might have wanted to provide some explanation for the recent political reshuffling and rally the Party around him.

Sun Zhengcai was the youngest member of the Politburo and headed the municipality of Chongqing in Southwest China. Similar to Lin Biao, Sun was promoted as the most promising candidate to succeed Xi as the next Communist Party leader, before he was suddenly removed from his post on July 15. In a little over a week, he was investigated for corruption.

Chinese experts have seen the ousting of Sun as a move for Xi to secure his power, as shown by the scores of officials who immediately demonstrated their loyalty to the Party following Sun’s downfall.

“Everyone has to make their position known,” Hu said.

The day after the gathering, Hu Chunhua, the provincial Party secretary of southern China’s Guangdong Province and another possible successor, also voiced his support for Xi’s leadership. Similar declarations were seen after two key allies of former Party chief Jiang Zemin—Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang—were felled in the Xi administration’s anti-corruption campaign.

Bo, the disgraced Chongqing Party chief, and Zhou, the former head of the regime’s national security, were sentenced to life in prison for corruption in 2013 жана 2015 respectively.

People’s Daily and Xinhua, two major Chinese state-controlled news agencies, both issued commentaries near midnight after the purge of Sun Zhengcai, stressing “zero tolerance” for corruption or “special Party members.”

“Regardless of position, experience or accomplishments, no one is immune from serious investigation and punishment for violating party discipline and the law,” the article said. “No one should take any chances.”

Zang Shan, a veteran journalist based in Hong Kong, believes that the timing of the meeting before the Beidaihe meetings portends trouble for rival Party elders who are still at large. ‘It is not inconceivable that Xi Jinping will take measures against Zeng Qinghong or Jiang Zemin,” Zang told the Epoch Times. “Something should happen in the next two or three weeks.”

The choice of the conference was also noteworthy. Unlike in the previous years when similar conferences was commonly held in the Party School of the Central Committee, Xi chose to hold it in the heavily guarded Jingxi Hotel, a conference hall reserved exclusively for the top political conferences.

The Party School, meanwhile, is headed by Liu Yunshan, an ally of Jiang Zemin and alongside Xi Jinping a member of the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee.

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Former Chongqing boss Sun Zhengcai, 53, was put under investigation on July 24. (bowenpress.com)Former Chongqing boss Sun Zhengcai, 53, was put under investigation on July 24. (bowenpress.com)

A number of Chinese officials from several provinces have hastened to show their support for the investigation into Sun Zhengcai, a powerful cadre who headed the Communist Party organization in the city of Chongqing before his recent ousting.

Sun is one of the highest-ranking officials to be purged by Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign. At 53, Sun was one of the youngest members of the Politburo, the Chinese regime’s 25-person ruling body, and he was seen by observers as a potential successor to Xi Jinping as China’s next leader.

On July 15, Sun was removed from his position and a week later, put under investigation for “severe violations of discipline,” a phrase synonymous with corruption.

In ousting Sun Zhengcai, Xi Jinping has strengthened his position, evidenced by the multitude of officials—including from the cities of Beijing, Байкал, and Shanghai and the provinces of Jilin and Hunan—who have eagerly “demonstrated loyalty” to Xi and his anti-corruption campaign.

Their eagerness to distance themselves from Sun suggests that Sun’s crimes, although unclear, are particularly grave.

On July 26, an emergency meeting of provincial officials was held in Zhongnanhai, the Beijing compound that hosts the Communist Party leadership. Observers believe this meeting was convened as a means of weakening internal opposition to Xi Jinping.

The fall of Sun and the expressions of support for his investigation indicate that Xi is gaining the upper hand against the powerful opposing faction helmed by former Party chief Jiang Zemin, in the months leading up to a major Party reshuffling later this year.

During his time in power from 1993 үчүн 2003, Jiang fostered a culture of kleptocracy, corruption, and abuse of power in China. He maintained strong informal networks in the communist regime even after being superseded by Party head Hu Jintao, and many officials remain tied into Jiang’s faction.

Янг, a provincial-level city with a population of some 30 million, is a major commercial and industrial hub. Prior to Xi’s ascension to power in 2012, it had been run by Bo Xilai, a prominent Jiang ally. Bo was sentenced to life in prison in 2013.

Sun Zhengcai was once the top aide to two allies of Jiang Zemin and succeeded Bo as Party boss of Chongqing. Before this assignment, he had been a Party secretary of Jilin Province in Northeast China, where the Jiang faction also enjoys influence.

Февралда, the Party’s disciplinary agency, which carries out the anti-corruption campaign, reprimanded the Chongqing administration for failing to thoroughly cleanse itself from the corrupt influences of its former boss, Bo Xilai, and his right-hand man, Wang Lijun.

“When Sun Zhengcai came to office in Chongqing, he was supposed to purge the ‘residual poison’ of Bo Xilan and Wang Lijun, but he not only failed to do so but also colluded with the ‘residue poison’,” said one Beijing princeling—a term for the children of revolutionary Party leaders—in an interview with the Epoch Times. He asked to remain anonymous to protect his identity.

“Sun’s wife set up a lady’s club in Beijing and had close relations with Gu Liping, the wife of Ling Jihua,” he added. Ling Jihua is part of the Jiang faction and the former top aide to the Chinese Communist Party. He was purged for corruption in July 2015.

The Beijing princeling added that Sun also sought to gain personal profits from the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative that has been marketed as a cornerstone of Xi Jinping’s foreign policy.

The timing of Sun’s purge notably coincides with an annual gathering of top Party leaders at Beidaihe, a seaside resort town a few dozen miles away from Beijing. They will delineate future plans for the Party and configure the roster of the new Party leadership, which will be determined at the 19th National Congress at the end of this year.

“Sun Zhengcai was basically Jiang Zemin’s designated, cross-generational successor,” said the Beijing princeling. “Sun Zhengcai’s fall cuts the Jiang faction off from their escape route. It is impossible for him to succeed Xi Jinping in the future.”

Xi Jinping decided to oust Sun to avoid a replay of a 2012 coup attempt by Bo Xilai and security czar Zhou Yongkang, said independent political commentator Hua Po.

A Xi loyalist, Chen Min’er, has taken Sun’s place as Chongqing’s chief. Chen worked with Xi Jinping when Xi was Party chief of Zhejiang Province from 2002 үчүн 2007 before being sent to lead the impoverished province of Guizhou. As Chongqing chiefs typically sit on the elite Politburo, Chen’s placement gives Xi the opportunity to nab another seat on the 25-member body during the 19th National Congress.

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Former Chongqing Party secretary and Politburo member Sun Zhengcai in the Great Hall of the People on Mar. 6, 2016. Sun was officially investigated for corruption on July 24, 2017. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)Former Chongqing Party secretary and Politburo member Sun Zhengcai in the Great Hall of the People on Mar. 6, 2016. Sun was officially investigated for corruption on July 24, 2017. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Midway through 2017, the trajectory of high-ranking Communist Party official Sun Zhengcai suggested that he would have a bright future in the regime.

Sun ran Chongqing, an important commercial and industrial hub in southwestern China. At age 53, he was also one of the youngest members of the elite Politburo. Observers considered him to be a potential successor to Xi Jinping as leader of China.

But Chinese state-run media announced in the morning of July 15 that Sun had been removed from office. He did not appear on the evening broadcast as the new Chongqing boss, Chen Min’er, was introduced to city officials. Chinese and Western media reports note that Sun was in Beijing being questioned.

On July 24, Sun was officially investigated for “severe violations of discipline,” a phrase that has come to mean corruption under the Xi leadership.

The abrupt dismissal of Sun Zhengcai with four months to go before a key political conclave is the latest demonstration of Xi Jinping’s current grasp of power, a hint at his political ambitions, and a flash of his determination to root out internal obstruction to his leadership.

Ultimately, Xi appears to be denying a rival political faction helmed by former Chinese Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin a successor to the throne while consolidating his own authority.

Compromised ‘Successor’

The Xi leadership and the Jiang faction have been embroiled in political warfare since Xi took office in late 2012. Two Jiang lieutenants, former Chongqing boss Bo Xilai and security czar Zhou Yongkang, had plotted a coup to replace Xi; Xi has alluded to the plot in several public speeches. Since the failed coup, Xi has purged many Jiang faction members and associates under a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

Sun’s career biography shows that he was once top aide to two Jiang allies, former Politburo Standing Committee member Jia Qinglin and ex-Beijing mayor Liu Qi. Sun was later appointed Party secretary of Jilin Province and Chongqing City, two regions where the Jiang faction is particularly influential.

Sun’s career path lends some credence to an essay on Vancouver-based Chinese news website Creaders.net that claims that Sun was acquainted with Jiang Zemin himself and was in fact being groomed to continue representing their interests at the apex of power.

Sun’s links with Jiang might suggest why informers inside the Chinese regime cite political indiscretion as the reason for his removal. For instance, one source told Reuters that Sun was being investigated for “violation of political discipline,” while another source said Chongqing officials were told during the meeting announcing Chen Min’er as the new Chongqing boss that Sun had made “political mistakes.” The sources Reuters on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to foreign media.

Further evidence of Sun’s political allegiances can be seen from the anti-corruption agency’s critique of Sun’s Chongqing administration in February. Sun’s administration hadn’t removed the “residue poison” of Bo Xilai and his right-hand man Wang Lijun, and failed to curb corruption in local businesses and the bureaucracy, according to anti-corruption investigators.

While it is unclear if Sun is a card-carrying member of Jiang’s faction, his political career is effectively over with the announcement of a formal investigation on July 24.

Си Цзиньпин, on the other hand, appears to have strengthened his political position by keeping or promoting loyalists.

With the dismissal of Sun, the only other possible candidate for Chinese leader is Guangdong Party secretary Hu Chunhua. Hu’s political position seems secure for the moment because he is a protege of former Chinese leader Hu Jintao (no relation to Hu Chunhua), and Hu Jintao seems to have been in a tacit alliance with Xi against the Jiang group.

Ошол эле учурда, new Chongqing boss Chen Min’er worked with Xi when Xi was Party secretary of Zhejiang Province from 2002 үчүн 2007. Chen’s promotion also allows Xi to stack the 25-men Politburo with loyalists at the Party’s 19th National Congress because Chongqing chiefs usually sit on the Politburo.

Xi’s Political Ambitions

Around the time of Sun’s dismissal, state media started referring to Xi as “commander-in-chief, supreme leader, and chief architect” of the Chinese regime. Xi is already the regime’s “core” leader, a symbolically significant title that suggests Xi is, in theory, first among equals.

If Sun is later officially investigated for corruption, this would indicate an escalation of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign because he was at the time of dismissal an active Politburo member (only four sitting Politburo members have been expelled since 1990).

The fact that he made the arrest also indicates that he is confident in his ability to withstand pushback.

Surrounded by loyalists and with one less potential political rival to contend with, Xi seems to be paving the way to try for a third term as Chinese leader in 2022—or something even beyond that.

A source close to Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the Communist Party, told The Epoch Times that Sun Zhengcai’s removal is not merely Xi’s attempt to scare off rivals with a show of strength, but is a part of a broader power reorganization inside the Chinese Communist Party.

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Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan attends the Chongqing delegation's group meeting during the annual National People's Congress on March 6, 2013 in Beijing, Кытай.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan attends the Chongqing delegation's group meeting during the annual National People's Congress on March 6, 2013 in Beijing, Кытай.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Chinese official Huang Qifan holds the distinction of having served as mayor or vice-mayor of China’s southwestern megalopolis of Chongqing across the successive terms of six Communist Party secretaries overseeing the provincial-level municipality.

Last December, Huang was demoted and made to serve as vice-head of a financial committee in the largely powerless National People’s Congress.

On July 10, Huang and six other members of the Three Gorges Construction Committee were removed from this posting as well. Huang still retains his seat in the national legislature.

What likely brought Huang down a notch were his connections to ex-Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai, once the Party secretary of Chongqing.

In 2012, Bo Xilai’s head of police, Wang Lijun, defected to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, causing a scandal that dashed Bo’s chances at being chosen to serve in the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee that leads the Communist Party.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who came to power later in 2012 after the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress, quickly moved to purge Bo. His suspended death sentence in 2013, which effectively amounted to life in prison, was the first blow in Xi’s anti-corruption campaign against Bo’s backers—the informal Party faction associated with former leader Jiang Zemin.

Since the beginning of the campaign, state-controlled media say that over 1 million Chinese officials have been disciplined, including hundreds of high-ranking Party cadres. The Jiang faction, which had influence from the 1990s up through the 18th Party Congress, is Xi’s main target in this political endeavor.

Huang’s links to the Jiang faction are apparent. According to China News Service, Huang publicly boasted of his political affinity with Bo Xilai during the high-profile “Two Sessions” political conferences in 2010, claiming that their partnership was “as fish to water.” It was in 2010 that Huang was promoted to mayor of Chongqing and became vice secretary of the municipal committee. Many other titles, like “scholar-official,” “CEO of Chongqing,” or “economic expert” appeared on his resume.

Bo trusted Huang so much that during Wang Lijun incident, Huang was entrusted to negotiate with the U.S. and take Wang back. The mayor deployed 70 police cars and surrounded the U.S. consulate at Bo’s command.

In addition to his work in Chongqing, Huang spent 18 years working in Shanghai, where Jiang Zemin made his own political career and still has some lasting influence.

Not Yet Investigated

After Bo Xilai’s downfall, Huang Qifan was not targeted immediately, and to date he has not been placed under investigation, unlike many other Jiang Zemin associates. His current posting in the National People’s Congress is in line with what is common for other officials reaching the ends of their careers.

In the eyes of his supporters, Huang was energetic, erudite, and could speak for hours without referring to script while citing an impressive amount of data, Hong Kong-based HK01 reported. When he was in office, Chongqing experienced rapid economic development. In 2015, Chongqing’s GDP growth was 11 percent, the highest in the country.

But this February, the Communist Party’s disciplinary commission said that upon investigation, Chongqing was found to have problems with corruption in state-owned companies and “residual poison” was still left over from the time of Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun.

Huang’s son, Huang Yi, monopolized the steel reselling business as a middleman for the state-owned Chongqing Iron and Steel Company. Huang Yi imported iron ore from Australia and resold to the company, taking a high commission for boosting employment. By the time Huang left Chongqing in 2016, the company had become known as the city’s largest “zombie firm.” It was sustained by government subsidy and had incurred losses of 13.2 billion yuan ($1.94 миллиард) over five years.

Recent removal from the Three Gorges Construction committee also comes at a politically sensitive time: the 19th Party Congress coming up later this year provides the Xi administration with an opportunity to appoint and change personnel, and further sideline political opponents from positions of influence.

Huang may have seen this coming. After Bo Xilai’s downfall, Huang was quick to denounce his former ally, declaring that he would “firmly support all actions of the central authorities” and calling for “consideration of the overall situation.” Huang also claims that he was familiar with Bo’s aspirations for national leadership.

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China's President Xi Jinping waits to meet FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 14, 2017.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino on June 14 as the football world watches for signs that the Asian giant will make a bid to host a World Cup. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Fred DUFOUR        (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)China's President Xi Jinping waits to meet FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 14, 2017.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino on June 14 as the football world watches for signs that the Asian giant will make a bid to host a World Cup. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Fred DUFOUR        (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

In recent weeks, many senior officials in the Chinese regime’s security apparatus have been reshuffled or suddenly dismissed from their posts. Most significantly, all provincial security leaders who took office with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2012 have now been replaced.

To those more familiar with the conventional view on Xi and the operations of the Communist Party, Xi’s motivation for making the personnel changes might seem imponderable—why fix a security apparatus that appears to be doing a good job in suppressing the populace?

Analysts of elite Chinese politics, Бирок,, see a noteworthy development. They argue that Xi is finally making progress towards fixing a security bureaucracy that does not listen to him, though also note that the changes sought would not result in a liberal, rule-of-law judicial system, given the nature of the Chinese regime.

‘Deep State’

Developments in Chinese politics are notoriously hard to read owing to the opaque operations of the Chinese leadership. Reading the Xi era is tougher, given several instances where what Xi says and how the Chinese bureaucracy responds are at odds.

A recent and high-profile example is the so-called “Lei Yang incident.”

Early last May, five Beijing police officers wrongly arrested young Chinese environmentalist Lei Yang. The police beat him, and he later died in custody.

The “Lei Yang incident” sparked a huge public outcry. Xi openly called for a “fair and just” handling of the case.

Following the conclusion of investigations, Бирок,, a Beijing procuratorate found the five police officers not guilty.

A cynical reading of the procuratorate’s failure to press charges on the police would be that Xi, who is considered by some to be the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, had been insincere with his words. Yet this reading becomes problematic if Xi is far less powerful than presumed, and isn’t even fully in charge of the Party.

Xi has long been wresting control over the Chinese regime from the political faction of former Party boss Jiang Zemin. Jiang’s faction was able to sink deep roots inside the regime’s bureaucracy, particularly in domestic security, the military, and propaganda, over the last two decades before Xi took office.

Given the Jiang faction’s influence over the “deep state” and the Party’s natural inclinations toward repression, Xi runs into huge resistance whenever he tries to reform key Party and state organs, particularly the security apparatus.

Cleaning up the Security Apparatus

On June 2, an official website in Jilin, a province in northeast China, announced that Jiang Zhiying was replacing Jin Zhenji as provincial head of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC). The PLAC is powerful Party organ that oversees the regime’s security enforcement authorities, including the courts, the police and armed police, as well as prisons and detention centers.

The changing of security leadership in Jilin meant that all PLAC chiefs from China’s 31 provinces and regions who took office with Xi Jinping in 2012 have been replaced. Eleven replacements were carried out in the first half of this year alone.

On June 9, Chen Zhimin, a vice minister in the Chinese regime’s Ministry of Public Security, was “removed from office.” Days later, He Ting, the public security chief of Chongqing, a provincial-level city, was suddenly dismissed.

On June 15, Caixin, a respected Chinese financial magazine, reported that 14 senior People’s Armed Police from a dozen provinces and regions were replaced over a six-day period in June.

There have also been several changes in the top leadership level of the police and armed police since 2012.

Analysts say that Xi Jinping is trying to regain control over the security apparatus with the recent personnel changes.

“The PLAC needs to undergo a substantial cleansing because it has long been helmed by Luo Gan and Zhou Yongkang, two key members of Jiang Zemin’s faction,” said Shi Cangshan, an independent analyst of Communist Party affairs based in Washington, D.C.

Shi continued: “Under Zhou and various provincial PLAC Party secretaries, the PLAC was very unrestrained in handling its affairs. There were many miscarriages of justice and suppression of activists and regular citizens. Zhou and the others were also very corrupt, and they tried to influence elite Chinese politics.”

When Zhou Yongkang was security czar from 2008 үчүн 2012, the PLAC received a budget higher than that of the military, and routinely suppressed dissidents, ethnic minorities and practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong.

Zhou and Bo Xilai, a disgraced Politburo member and Party boss of Chongqing, are among a handful of purged officials Xi has accused of planning a coup against him—a plot that was earlier leaked by insider sources. In 2015, Zhou was found guilty of abusing his position and taking tens of millions in bribes, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Shi Cangshan the China analyst says that Xi Jinping must rectify the security apparatus because it is the root cause of many societal problems in China today.

‘The First Step’

But Xi’s recently sweeping personnel changes is “merely the first step” in what will be a complicated and drawn out process, Shi said. “Reforming the security apparatus is unlike reforming the military, which is a relatively closed system where personnel changes have minimal impact on society.”

Don Tse, a China expert with China analyst and research company China Decoding, concurs with Shi’s assessment.

“The Chinese communist regime is an authoritarian system that relies on heavy-handed suppression to safeguard its political power,” Tse said. “The regime will run into trouble if rectification of the security apparatus is too vigorous, especially given how tensions between officials and the people have reached a tipping point as a result of problems accumulated from Jiang Zemin’s era.”

Tse says that Xi Jinping’s troubles with the security apparatus are further complicated by the available personnel and the Communist Party’s repressive tendencies.

Because many security officials are loyal to Zhou Yongkang and the Jiang faction, Xi originally broke with the norm of promoting provincial police chiefs to head the provincial PLACs, instead choosing officials from outside the security and legal apparatus.

But since 2015, eight police chiefs have become provincial PLAC boss.

Tse explains: “Many local officials are disobeying Xi Jinping, and have escalated tensions with the people. When things come to a head, the Chinese regime will resort to suppression because it will never admit to making mistakes. Since it’s tough for PLAC chiefs with no law enforcement background to control recalcitrant police forces, it would seem more ideal to select police chiefs for the top provincial security job.”

“And ultimately, Xi will be blamed when problems happen.”

Currently, about 70 percent of provincial PLAC chiefs are linked with or are members of Jiang’s faction, according to Tse’s estimates.

Don Tse anticipates that prior to the 19th National Congress, a key Party meeting that will be held near the end of the year, Xi will replace the top two officials in the Ministry of Public Security, Guo Shengkun жана Fu Zhenghua. Both are known members of Jiang’s faction.

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A vendor chops dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.
China's most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21 with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)A vendor chops dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.
China's most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21 with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Yulin’s annual dog meat festival kicked off on Tuesday (Июнь 21) with animal rights activists voicing their opposition and locals and visitors saying celebrations are low key this year.

But at a popular morning market, it was business as usual as vendors had dog meat on display for customers to choose.

“They are a lot, a lot of people who like (eating dog meat). It’s your habit, it’s my habit,” said Zhou, a dog meat vendor.

Many restaurants did not have the Chinese word for “dog meat” on display.

Vendors prepare dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017. (Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Vendors prepare dog meat at the Nanqiao market in Yulin, in China’s southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017. (Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

“Why won’t they (let us openly celebrate the festival)? The city government came out and told (the vendors) not to let restaurant owners sell (dog meat). The city government is always (handling this issue) this way. If there was no city government to mess with them then they of course could let the meat out,” said Ms. Min, a Yulin resident.

Animal activists were doing their best to save dogs from the pot.

“Dogs are man’s best, the most loyal friend. How could we eat our friends? You tell me,” said Yang Yuhua, an animal rights activist who flew from south-western Chongqing to purchase dogs sold at this year’s festival.

Dog meat is served at a restaurant in Yulin, in China's southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Dog meat is served at a restaurant in Yulin, in China’s southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017.(Becky Davis/AFP/Getty Images)

Yang spent over 1,000 yuan ($151.5) to buy two caged dogs at the market from the vendor.

Animal welfare NGO Humane Society International says that it has organised a petition against the festival which already garnered over 11 million signatures.

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Июнь 18, 2017

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1

My father was born into an ordinary peasant family in Chaozhong village, Zhongjiang County, Sichuan Province. It was said that my grandmother had given birth to 12 children, but only 9 survived. My father was the second eldest son in the family. With numerous younger brothers and sisters to look after, he was naturally expected to share the responsibility of supporting the family.

I didn’t have a chance to visit my father’s home village until the 1980’s, when I was already a high school student. Several of my uncles were still living in the shabby, old mud wall houses inherited from our ancestors, with literally no furniture inside, nor electricity. People still relied on dim kerosene lamps in the night.

To me, this kind of family should have fallen into the “absolute poverty” category. Бирок,, боюнча 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) categorized everyone in China into different classes after coming into power, my father’s family was classified as a “small land lessor.”

Jennifer Zeng (туура) with her two sisters in the 1980's at Chaozhong village, Zhongjiang County, Sichuan Province in China. The mud wall house behind them was the family house passed on to many generations from their ancestors. Some of Jennifer's uncles and many of her cousins are still living in this house and village today.  (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Jennifer Zeng (туура) with her two sisters in the 1980’s at Chaozhong village, Zhongjiang County, Sichuan Province in China. The mud wall house behind them was the family house passed on to many generations from their ancestors. Some of Jennifer’s uncles and many of her cousins are still living in this house and village today. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

I learnt the term “small land lessor” in 1973, when I was required to fill in the “personnel archive form” while enrolling into elementary school. One of the items to be filled was the “family class category on your father’s side.”

At that time a “personnel archive” was set up for everyone when you first enrolled into elementary school. All personal information was included in the archive files including all exam scores in the school, all the comments your teacher wrote about you, all your family situations, and all the good and bad things about you.

Everywhere you went, this archive followed. But you were not allowed to view the contents or know what was actually inside. It was only meant for the Party to know everything about everybody.

As a 6-year-old, grade-one student, I already knew that there were a “class of landlords” and a “class of poor and the lower-middle peasants,” but I didn’t understand what a “small land lessor” was. I then asked my mother, who immediately said indignantly, “It was unfair! There were so many brothers and sisters in your father’s family. Overall, they didn’t own much land. If it were calculated based on the average land area per person, your father’s family should have been categorized as ‘middle peasants’ at most. Only because they had hired people to help farming the land, they were categorized as a ‘small land lessor,’ which was unfairly high!

In the 1990s'Jennifer revisited her relatives who still lived in the village. The old family house remained unchanged. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

In the 1990s’Jennifer revisited her relatives who still lived in the village. The old family house remained unchanged. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

I didn’t fully understand mother’s explanation. Бирок,, I somehow already knew that it was a terrible thing if you were ranked “high” in the “class category.” At that time, the grandfather of a girl in our class was a landlord; and the entire class looked down upon that girl.

Once I went to her home, and unintentionally saw an old man in a black cotton-padded coat sitting in the corner quietly. I realized that this must be her landlord grandfather. Immediately I was struck with fear, as if having seen a monster. I hastily made up an excuse and fled her home as fast as I could.

Fortunately enough, the social class category of my mother’s side was “poor people in the city,” which was part of the “proletariat.” This gratefully evened up my father’s “high category” a little bit.

My mother’s parents got divorced soon after she was born; and she was adopted by another family. Actually, my mother’s foster father was once a “capitalist,” who owned a brewery and a shop in Zhongjiang County. My father actually came to know my mother when he worked in that shop as an apprentice.

Later on, my mother’s foster father became addicted to opium. As a result, he spent all his wealth. When the CCP took power in 1949 and gave everyone a “social class category,” he was therefore classified as “poor people in the city.”

From then on he often boasted in front of my mother and my grandmother, “Do you think it would have been so easy for you to become part of the ‘proletariat’ if it weren’t for me?

2

My father had some private schooling when he was young. When he was older, he had to attend school, which was very far from home. Every day, he needed to finish all his homework at school, as his time after school belonged to family duties, including weaving a certain amount of fabric, which was to be sold at a farmers’ market every ten to fifteen days.

When he became a teenager, my father insisted on going to the capital city of the county to study. My grandmother didn’t want him to go, as he was much needed at home. She figured: if we find him a wife and get him married, he would then stay, become a strong farmer for the family, and then raise his own children to carry on the family line.

Therefore, they managed to find a girl for him. When he went on an arranged blind date, my father saw that the girl had a “pig-belly” shaped face, and instantly disliked her. With much determination, he refused this marriage arrangement; and overtook many difficulties before he was finally able to go to the capital city, where he eventually met my mother.

When my father told me this story, there was always an unnoticeable trace of contempt on his face. I always thought to myself: How lucky! If father had married that “pig-belly” faced woman, wouldn’t he have been “trapped” in the countryside? If that were the case, there would have never been such a person as me in this world. Therefore, I have never thought highly of anybody who had a “pig-belly” shaped face, no matter how others praised her for being beautiful.

Бирок,, I had never figured out: as a mere teenager, why my father could be so determined about gaining more education when the entire family was against this.

Profile photo of Jennifer Zeng's father at university. Ever since Jennifer's childhood, she has believed that this is how a handsome man should look like. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Profile photo of Jennifer Zeng’s father at university. Ever since Jennifer’s childhood, she has believed that this is what a handsome man should look like. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

My mother later told me that my father was the eldest student in his class. As a fourth grader at the elementary school, he was already 18 years old. He studied very hard and showed various talents in different areas. He was good at singing, playing musical instruments, basketball, swimming, calligraphy and writing. The essays he wrote were spread amongst the students in the entire county as good examples; and my mother had also read them in school. So, my father was quite a figure even then!

3

In the 1960’s, at the age of 27, my father was admitted to the Southwest University of Political Science & Law in Sichuan Province; and thus became the first ever university student in his village. This caused quite a sensation among all the villagers.

As far as I can remember, father only told me one story about his university life, and that was about a secret skill for obtaining one more bowl of rice.

When my father was attending university, China was experiencing the so-called “Three Years of Natural Disasters.” It should actually be called “The Three Years of the Great Chinese Famine,” when 20-43 millions were starved to death, according to some scholars.

My father said, when it was mealtime in the university, everybody ate in the dining hall, with eight people sitting at each table. Rice was supplied in a big pot for everyone to share.

At that time every student was so hungry and was ready to fight for food like a wolf. As soon as the pot was placed on the table, everybody immediately put as much as rice as possible into his own bowl, and then ate with all their might. Бирок,, my father only filled half of his bowl, so he could always finish earlier than others. Then he would fill his bowl with rice as much as he could, and enjoyed it with ease and leisure. In this way, he could eat half a bowl more rice than others.

When he told me this story, my father smiled with pride, and an almost unnoticeable trace of cunning, which one could only see on the face of a Chinese peasant.

Бирок,, I doubt how successful my father was with this kind of tactic. Mother told me that he suffered from hunger edema because of starvation and almost died in the hospital.

Jennifer's father in university. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Jennifer’s father in university. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

My mother also told me that life was extremely hard for my father then. His family couldn’t offer him any financial support. Every weekend he had to work very hard as a loader at the Chaotianmen Port in Chongqing City, to earn some money to cover his most basic expenses.

In 1964, my father graduated from university and was assigned to work as a teacher at Mianyang Finance and Trade Cadres Training School in Sichuan Province. At that time my mother had been teaching for several years in a remote village primary school.

4

Although my mother’s foster-parents were “proletariat,” her biological mother later married someone who was classified by the CCP as a “thug.” As a result, my mother also became an outcast. She wasn’t allowed to go to high school after graduating from junior middle school. Going to university was even less possible for her.

As a very proud young girl, my mother felt too ashamed to face anybody. So she ran away from the city, hid in a remote village, and became an elementary school teacher there. At that time she was only 16 years old.

In 1965, my parents married each other, but they weren’t able to move to the same place. Their work places were about 100kms (about 62 miles) apart from each other. At that time, everything was controlled by the party; and nobody could just move to another place or change their jobs freely.

In 1966, I was born as their first child. And exactly at that year, the unprecedented “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” began.

In 1967, when I was only one year old, my father was accused of being a “black pawn of reactionary capitalist-roaders.”

At that time he had developed acute hepatitis and was hospitalized. Бирок,, nobody cared about his illness. He was dragged from the hospital to the big stage to be publicly denounced. His hands were painted with black ink to indicate his identity as the “black pawn of reactionary capitalist-roaders”.

After the public denunciation, he was ordered to write dozens of copies of “self-criticism,” and to post them at appointed places.

In 1965, Jennifer's parents married each other; but were not allowed to live together. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

In 1965, Jennifer’s parents married each other; but were not allowed to live together. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

As father was too weak to move at all, this grand task had to be accomplished by my mother, who was having maternity leave and staying with my father in Mianyang then. She tied me to her back with cotton tape, with a bucket of self-made flour paste in one hand, a big roll of dozens of “self-criticism” letters, which had been hand copied with a big brush pen in the other hand, and went out to post the letters. It took her the entire night to post them all.

When I was two or three-years-old, my father was relocated to a remote township called Hanwang in Mianzhu County, Sichuan Province. There were only about 30,000 people in the town, and it was also about 100 kms away from my mother’s school. The workplace for my father to “settle down to be reformed” was a cereal processing machinery factory, which was newly built on a barren floodplain, with barely anything inside it yet.

Jennifer's mother holding one-year-old Jennifer. In the same year this photo was taken, Jennifer's father was publicly denounced as a

Jennifer’s mother holding one-year-old Jennifer. In the same year this photo was taken, Jennifer’s father was publicly denounced as a “black pawn of reactionary capitalist-roaders” during the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” and Jennifer’s mother had to tie Jennifer to her back and go out to post the “self-criticism” letters of Jennifer’s father, as required. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

5

My first sister was born when I was four years old. My mother couldn’t take care of two children on her own, as she also needed to work. So I was sent to my father, and started living on that barren floodplain with him

Every year my father would take me to visit my mother and sister. One hundred kilometers seems nothing for today. Бирок,, it felt very, very far at that time, especially because my mother’s school was located in deep mountains.

We needed to transfer between long-distance buses several times; climb over several mountains; and walk long mountain tracks before we could reach our destiny.

My mother told me that she nearly cried when she saw me for the first time after I had left her. My lovely, round face shrank so much that it seemed that only two big twinkling eyes were left.

What my mother couldn’t bear was that my father only knew to wash and wipe my two cheeks; and left all other parts uncleaned. As a result, my neck and the skin behind my ears were left very dirty. My two sheep horn shape braids were also unbalanced, with one higher than the other. My mother felt extremely upset upon seeing her lovely daughter changed like that.

Jennifer's mother, her two friends and two-year-old Jennifer. As the first child in the family, Jennifer enjoyed some

Jennifer’s mother, her two friends and two-year-old Jennifer. As the first child in the family, Jennifer enjoyed some “special” treatment such as having a doll of her own. After her two younger sisters were born, her parents no longer had the ability to buy more dolls for her sisters. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Once after we had finished our stay at mum’s place and were about to leave, my mother gave me a letter, and asked me to give it to my father when we arrived at our other “home” at Hanwang.

I felt extremely excited at being entrusted with such an important task; and didn’t know how I should carry the letter to match its importance. The excitement went on for quite a while, before I finally couldn’t bear such a big burden or hide such huge a secret any more.

And the consequence was that I couldn’t help revealing the secret to my father after we walked along the mountain road and were waiting for the long-distance bus.

After reading the letter, my father didn’t say a word. He abruptly put me onto his back and started walking back. Upon arriving at mum’s place, my father still didn’t say anything. He lied down in bed with a very stern and pale face.

Jennifer still lived with her mother when she was three years old. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Jennifer still lived with her mother when she was three years old. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

I was really terrified, not knowing what had happened. I also feared that my mother would scold me for not listening to her and giving the letter to my father too early.

Only after many years did I learn vaguely what had happened on that day. My mother actually asked for a divorce in that letter, as she couldn’t bear the hardship of not being able to live together any longer.

I heard that my father tried everything, including a suicide threat, to have my mother abandon the thought of divorce.

Mother was very well known for her beauty in Zhongjiang County when she was young, and had a lot of admirers. My father was just one of them.

When he was in university, he kept writing beautiful letters and poems to her. Each time he wrote, he used a different font style. His handwriting and poems were both extremely beautiful and touching; and full of talent. His persistence and brilliant literary skill finally won my mother’s heart.

Бирок,, my mother had never expected that one day this brilliant talent would become a “black pawn of reactionary capitalist-roaders” overnight. How long did she have to suffer as the wife of a “black pawn of reactionary capitalist-roaders”?

6

My mother was finally allowed to move and live with my father and me when I was in grade two at elementary school. At that time, I already had another younger sister. The five members of our family were finally able to live together in a small and crude bungalow type of house built on top of the floodplain.

Jennifer began living with her father when she was four. Her uneven braids and band in this photo were all the

Jennifer began living with her father when she was four. Her uneven braids and band in this photo were all the “artistry” of her father. The dress she wears was also hand-made by her father. Throughout Jennifer’s childhood, all the three sisters’ clothes were home-made. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

It was a time when people’s material and spiritual lives were both extremely lacking. My father was the only university graduate in his factory, while my mother taught at the primary school in the town. As an intellectual family, we belonged to the “five black classes.”

In a time when the “working class” was in charge of everything, our family was an “outcast” from whatever angle one looked at us.

To avoid possible trouble my mother didn’t encourage me even to play with other kids. If I became involved in a fight with other kids, this could be interpreted as a “class struggle” and implicate my parents. The whole family would then have an even harder time.

During many hot summer nights, when other kids were playing and enjoying the cool air outside, I shut myself inside alone at home. As there were way too many mosquitos in the still “wild” floodplain, I had to hide inside the mosquito net to read in the suffocating heat, while watching my perspiration dripping and leaving wet circles on the pages.

Reading was the only enjoyment during my childhood. Бирок,, there were too few books to read. Many literary classics had been burnt as “poisonous weeds” before and during the “Cultural Revolution.”

In order to satisfy my desire to read, my father started writing children’s stories for me, and then gradually expanded his writing to other literary works such as novels. He was a great lover of literature.

My father wrote all his stories and novels on lined manuscript paper, and then bound them neatly with cotton thread, making them truly “thread-bound books,” with each of them absolutely the “only copy” in the world.

Most of the time, I was the first and only reader of my father’s literary works. Whenever my mother found out about my father’s writings, she would throw them into the fire, even if the stories were “pro-revolution” and catering to “the tide of the times,” such as “Little Red Guards Catching a Spy.”

My father never said a word when my mother burned his writings. Бирок,, he would always bite his lower lip in a unique way with an expressionless face, and this would always make me feel extremely anxious and scared.

The only happy time then was Chinese New Year. My father’s calligraphy was very beautiful, and all the big banners in the factory were all hand-written by him. Many people would also ask him to write couplets for them to hang on their doors. Every year when Chinese New Year was approaching, he would definitely write a couplet for our own house.

He was also a very smart craftsman. Apart from knowing how to sew clothes, he also knew how to do carpentry work and make furniture. Many small pieces of furniture in our home were all made and painted by him, such as tables and stools.

When it was Chinese New Year, he would make beautiful things such as red lanterns or a rabbit shape light, with four small wheels underneath. My sisters and I would drag this rabbit light and swaggered through the street to show off this beautiful piece of artwork. All the children would look at us in admiration and awe, as they had never seen such a pretty rabbit light, nor could they ever dream about buying one from anywhere. Surrounded by those envious eyes, we felt extremely proud and wonderful!

7

One day when I was in the fourth grade in elementary school, a classmate suddenly whispered to me, “Jiang Qing is a big bad egg!

I was really frightened by this “outrageous” claim. Isn’t Jiang Qing the “closest comrade-in-arms” and wife of “our Grand Leader Chairman Mao”? How can she be a “big bad egg”? How dare my classmate make such a frightening statement? Wouldn’t she be immediately regarded as an “active counter-revolutionary”?

But this frightening rumor turned out to be true very soon. The “Gang of Four” headed by Jiang Qing was really brought down. I didn’t know that this also meant that “the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution,” which had brought endless disasters to millions of families, and which had caused more than 7 million deaths, had finally ended.

I only remember that as a member of the performing arts group in school, we were required to stand under the scorching sun to wait for the arrival of the “Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. 5, which would come from the faraway capital city of the county with big fanfare, loaded in big trucks and decorated with many red flags.

It was an extremely hot day. The sun was so fierce that even the tar on the road was melting. When the long convoy carrying “Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung” finally arrived, we were asked to sing and dance to show our joy. Бирок,, my shoes were glued by the melted ta,r and I couldn’t dance or walk at all, making me feel like crying.

8

After a period of time, I suddenly heard that the legal system, including the public security organs, procuratorial organs, and people’s courts, which were all “smashed” during the “Cultural Revolution,” were all to be restored, and that people with professional knowledge were highly demanded. As a result, my father, who graduated from the Southwest University of Political Science & Law, was going to be transferred back to Mianyang and work at the newly established Justice Bureau!

Mianyang! That was the capital city of the region, second only to Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. I heard about this city a lot, but had never had the chance to visit it since childhood. I felt very excited.

Бирок,, the Party didn’t arrange for my mother to go as well, as there was no “manning quota” for my mother in Mianyang.

Although my parents absolutely didn’t want to be separated again, it was a good thing to be able to return to the bigger city from the remote small town, and to do a job that suited my father’s professional training. Isn’t there an old saying in China that “people should walk towards higher places”?

Furthermore, my parents believed that if my sister and I could go to Mianyang to study, we would have a better opportunity to attend a good university in the future.

For the

For the “bright future” of two generations, Jennifer’s family once again split into two parts. Jennifer and her eldest younger sister went to Mianyang with her father; whilst her mother and youngest sister stayed at Hanwang. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

On the contrary, if we stayed at such a small town as Hanwang, we wouldn’t get very far in society. In my mother’s words, the only street in town was so short that one could even cover it from the start to the end when one fell down to the ground.

Although I had always been the No. 1 student in Hanwang Elementary School in terms of exam scores, my mother never failed to remind me, “It’s just like being a general amongst a group of dwarfs.” She would also always remind me to remember that “there are higher heavens beyond this one, and there is always someone better.”

So, in order that two generations of our family could have a better future, after just being reunited for several years, our family was once again split into two: my older sister and I went to Mianyang with my father; whilst my younger sister stayed at Hanwang with my mother.

9

The Justice Bureau in Mianyang had just been established. It had neither its own office building, nor dormitories for the staff. Instead, both its office and dormitories for staff were rented from a hotel building. My father lived in the male dormitory; my sister lived in a dormitory for female staff, whilst I became a boarder and lived in the student dormitory of Mianyang Nanshan High School. So the three of us lived in three different places.

Nanshan High School is located halfway up on a hillside, and is somewhat isolated from the world. It was said that in the Qing Dynasty the imperial examinations were held there, so it has quite a long history.

When I returned “home” on the weekends, I squeezed into and shared the same single bed with my sister. There were many other female colleagues of my father in the same dormitory room.

Occasionally, my father would cook some food for us in his office with an electric cooker, and this would be our special treat. My sister and I could only “fight” to get our food at the school canteen, which only supplied terrible food.

Thus, until I graduated from high school, for more than three years, my mother hadn’t managed to move to Mianyang and join us. We could only travel back and forth to visit each other during our school breaks. My mother often said, “It’s so hard to earn money, and we only end up spending it all on the road!

10

The good news was, my father’s career seemed to have taken off. биринчиден, I heard that a law firm was set up underneath the Justice Bureau, then I heard that my father was transferred to the law firm and had become a lawyer. Then one day I suddenly heard that he had been ranked as one of the “Top 10 Lawyers in Sichuan Province”!

I heard that my father’s most brilliant performance was that he fought three lawyers on the other side alone. The other party he had to fight was an Honored Teacher with national recognition and was very famous. That was why he was able to hire the three very good lawyers at one go to defend himself. Бирок,, my father defeated them all and won that case brilliantly.

These “legends” made me very proud. On the one hand, I really wanted to visit the court and watch my father’s heroic moments of debating with numerous persons at the same time. On the other hand, Бирок,, I could hardly imagine how a somewhat dull person like him, who could spend a whole day without saying a single word, could have become an outstanding lawyer, as a good lawyer was supposed to be very eloquent and good at debating.

Once I asked him, “I heard that you never lost any case. What’s your secret?

He replied with a secretive smile, “I never take a case that I can’t win.”

When he said this, his smile was as innocent as that of a child. At the same time, it was also as cunning as would usually be seen on faces of Chinese peasants. It didn’t make him look like a “Top 10 Lawyer” at all.

11

After I finished my second year in high school, and was about to start the third and last year, I needed to choose between liberal arts and science as my future major. I was doing equally well with both courses.

Many people said that it was better for girls to choose liberal arts as female minds could do better in those fields. If girls study science, they can’t compete with boys. Apart from knowing that I wanted to go to Peking University to study, I really didn’t know what major to choose.

My father said with much determination, “Choose science. No matter who is the chairman of the country, 1+1 always equals 2.”

After saying “1+1 always equals 2”, my father once again bit his lower lip in that unique way with an expressionless face, just as he did when my mother had burned his literary works. This once again made me feel very scared. I silently obeyed and chose science without any second thought.

12

In 1984, my dream of going to Peking University came true. My major was of course science, and geo-chemistry in particular. At the time when I needed to leave my high school forever, I found that I had accumulated many things during the past three years. My father rode a tricycle to the school to help me move my belongings. It was very hard to ride uphill, and my father was soon wet through in sweat.

Drenched in sweat, he rode and laughed, “I am a happy pedicab-man!” And mixed in his laugh, was a very undetectable trace of effort to flatter himself.

My father was a very typical Chinese peasant intellectual, who seldom expressed or showed his emotions. Nor did he ever say any sweet words such as “I love you” to his three daughters. Бирок,, his flattering smile at that moment, when he said that he was a happy pedicab-man, has been warmly engraved in my heart ever since.

For me, that was his way of showing his fatherly love and care.

13

When I was in the sophomore class, I received a letter from my father saying that he had joined the Party. His tone was very formal, with a little bit of excitement.

I was very surprised by this. Because of the special political environment in China, I remembered that my parents never discussed politics or state affairs at home. Nor would they ever discuss their political views with their daughters. When I chose my future major in high school, my father’s “famous” sentence that “1+1 always equals 2” was the only statement I ever heard that included a little dose of politics.

Why did my father join the Communist Party? Did he still have hope for this Party? Or was it because he wouldn’t be treated as a different species afterwards? Sadly enough, I never had a chance to discuss this with him.

This photo was taken in Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace) in Beijing when Jennifer was a graduate student. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

This photo was taken in Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace) in Beijing when Jennifer was a graduate student. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

14

When I was in my junior year of university, mobilized by the political instructor, I also handed in my application to join the Party. Recalling the motivations now, I found there could have been two.

One was my father’s move to join the Party. Ever since my childhood, my mother always said that I was my father’s favorite, and that he liked me most amongst his three daughters.

Accordingly, I also held my father in high esteem. I cared a lot about what he thought and chose. I thought to myself: after experiencing so many hardships, he was still willing to join the party. It must because that he still had hope for the party.

Another reason was that I was somehow convinced by this saying: even if the Party was not good enough, it could be changed for better if more good members joined it and improved it from within.

If we explore further, there could actually be a third reason. I had always been a so-called “student-of-three-excellent-qualities” since elementary school. Living in a society where everything was under control of the Party, I had always thought that one should be excellent in everything, and to join the Young Pioneers, the Youth League, and then the Party was a “natural” path that a good student and a good citizen should take.

Thus, I became the first Party member in our class. When we graduated one year later, there were only two Party members in our class of 30 students.

15

Later on I graduated, began my career, married; and had a child. Everything went smoothly on the path that was designed and hoped for by my parents. I had not only entered the best university in China, gained a master’s degree, but also successfully entered the Development Research Center of the State Council, a workplace that many people wanted to get into but couldn’t. At the same time, I also enjoyed love and a happy family of my own.

This photo was taken on Jennifer's 17th birthday and was displayed at the

This photo was taken on Jennifer’s 17th birthday and was displayed at the “Education Achievement Exhibition” held in the People’s Park in the center of Mianyang City. Her hair in the photo was cut by her father. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

At that time my parents were so proud of me; and they had good reasons. My photo was part of the “Education Achievement Exhibition in Mianyang in Celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Establishment of PRC [People’s Republic of China],” which was held at the People’s Park in the center of the city. It was said that every day thousands upon thousands of people visited the exhibition, and my photo caused quite a sensation.

There was an old saying in China that “Inside an embroidered pillowcase was only grass,” which means that good-looking people are usually very stupid inside and have no wisdom. So people felt it was hard to believe that a girl who was as attractive as an embroidered pillowcase could actually be admitted by Peking University.

I had already left Mianyang when the exhibition was on; and didn’t know anything about all this until letters of strangers from Mianyang suddenly flooded me. Some people expressed their admiration, and some asked me to share tips on how to do well in school. I didn’t understand why all these letters arrived until my family told me about the “Education Achievement Exhibition.”

16

Июль 2, 1997 is a day that I will never forget. On July 1 of that year, China took back Hong Kong, and set that day as a public holiday to celebrate. When I went back to work on July 2, one of my colleagues put a set of books on my desk and said, “Here you are, ‘Zhuan Falun’!

It was a package posted from Mianyang by my sister. The wrapping paper was already broken; that was why my colleague was able to see the title of the book.

I had liked to read very much since I was a child. When I was studying in university, I read books on all sorts of topics, including philosophy, religion, supernormal capabilities, qigong, the Book of Changes, etc. I studied almost everything.

On the one hand, I believed that there must be some ultimate truth in the universe for it to maintain stability and harmony, and I wanted to know what that ultimate truth was. On the other hand, I was very much puzzled about what people should do with their lives. Shall we just live for the sake of living, pursue fame, self-interest and honor, and then just wait to die?

Most of the time, I didn’t know which path to follow. I didn’t want to fight my way up by all sorts of means, like many others around me were doing. I felt that path would be too tiring, and it was totally against my nature.

Бирок,, I also didn’t want to lag behind, be bullied or looked down upon by others as a result of not striving hard enough. I didn’t know what to follow or what to adhere to, and was bewildered most of the time. My success on the surface might have looked glorious for others. Yet, it couldn’t in the least solve the problems within my own heart.

To make things worse, I encountered a medical accident and experienced two severe hemorrhages when I gave birth to my daughter, and the blood transfusion caused me to contract hepatitis C, which is incurable. After that, life felt like an endless sinking into a bottomless pit of despair. I had to lie down in the hospital for years without being able to look after my daughter, or even being able to witness her growth.

In early 1997, I decided that I would not be enslaved by my diseases any more; and went back to work. I had worked for just one year when I was knocked down by my poor health. Women are usually likened to flowers, and I felt like a withered flower cast down to the ground overnight, before being able to fully blossom. I didn’t want to bury my remaining life inside a hospital, no matter how long that life would be. I wanted to “pretend” that everything was normal, and I wished to live a “normal” life.

This was, after all, just a wishful thought. In reality, my life was more tiring than that of Lin Daiyu, one of the mistresses of “Dream of the Red Chamber,” who dared not make any mistakes. Whilst Lin was afraid of being ridiculed by others in an unfamiliar environment as a helpless orphan who had to rely on her relatives, I was afraid of being humiliated by my diseases.

I was so weak that whenever I wasn’t careful enough, or whenever there was some kind of epidemic disease around, such as the flu, I would always be the first to be knocked down.

Therefore, in July 1997, after having experienced so much, I really didn’t believe that anything would help me anymore. So I opened the book “Zhuan Falun” half-heartedly and with an absent mind.

Jennifer meditating in a park in Shenzhen City in 1998. This is the only photo of Jennifer doing Falun Gong exercises taken before the crackdown on Falun Gong. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Jennifer meditating in a park in Shenzhen City in 1998. This is the only photo of Jennifer doing Falun Gong exercises taken before the crackdown on Falun Gong. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Бирок,, when I reached page 4, where the origin of human life was revealed, I suddenly felt being strongly grasped by the content. From then on, I didn’t have any time to make any judgment about any remaining part of the book. Instead, I hurriedly finished all the four books my sister posted to me in one go, which had me exclaiming again and again while reading: “Oh my god, so it is like this!!!

I could say that the inspiration “Zhuan Falun” brought to me was much greater than that of all the other books I had read combined together. I found answers to all my questions about life, the cosmos, and even human society. I was no longer puzzled, and had gained an understanding about the purpose of my coming to this world. I immediately decided to practice Falun Gong.

I also learned that my mother and sister had been practicing Falun Gong for about one month through the introduction of a friend. They felt the practice was very wonderful and so eagerly mailed the set of books to me.

17

My mother and youngest sister were only able to move to Mianyang and joined my father and eldest sister after I had left home for university. In order to be able to move to Mianyang, my mother had to give up her nearly 30 years’ career as a teacher, as well as the so-called “merit payment based on the length of teaching,” which was not a small figure for her, as none of the schools in Mianyang City would accept her due to lack of permission to hire.

After my parents’ many years’ efforts and begging for help, the leaders of the judicial system finally agreed to help and to resolve this issue “internally.” As a result, my mother was finally given a position at the Mianyang Intermediate Court, and started off as a court clerk, the lowest-level position within the court.

I always admired my mother for her toughness. As a middle-aged woman in her forties, in order to live together with the family, she was not only brave enough to start a new career from the entrance level, but was also brave enough to become a college student like her daughter. The only difference was: while I was studying in a “normal” university, she was studying in the amateur “Open National Adult College for Court Cadres.”

My mother worked very hard. It was not that easy for her; and her memory wasn’t as good as younger people. Бирок,, she did very well and successfully graduated several years later. This not only made up for the humiliation she had suffered for not being allowed to go college because of her “bad” “social class category”, but also enabled her to gradually be promoted from a clerk to a judge; and finally a chief judge.

Jennifer's mother was finally allowed to join her father after Jennifer had gone to Beijing for university. This family photo was taken during Jennifer's school vacation when she traveled back to Mianyang. The uniform worn by Jennifer's father was actually for police officers, though he was a lawyer. At that time the legal system in China was still in the initial process of re-establishment, and lawyers were wearing police officer's uniforms. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Jennifer’s mother was finally allowed to join her father after Jennifer had gone to Beijing for university. This family photo was taken during Jennifer’s school vacation when she traveled back to Mianyang. The uniform worn by Jennifer’s father was actually for police officers, though he was a lawyer. At that time the legal system in China was still in the initial process of re-establishment, and lawyers were wearing police officer’s uniforms. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

18

In 1997, my 64-year-old father had already retired. When my mother and sister first started practicing Falun Gong, he didn’t follow along, nor did he believe in it. Бирок,, he went to the park with them. While my mother and sister practiced the Falun Gong exercises, he went to do ballroom dancing as a form of exercise. He had become obsessed with dancing ever since he retired.

One day, after he finished dancing, my mother and sister were still doing their Falun Gong exercises. So he stood there and waited. Suddenly he saw a huge Falun (which should be invisible, in another dimension) as big as a swimming pool!

He was completely shocked. Amazed by the “seeing is believing” scene he observed, he began devoting himself to the practice of Falun Gong as well. He often shared with us what he had seen with his third eye: when he practiced the third Falun Gong exercise, he could see a cluster of small Faluns moving together with his arms. He said that he called it “a cluster” as they looked exactly the way copper coins used in old times were strung together.

When talking about this, my father looked as happy and as innocent as a child who was sharing his secrets. My sister and I agreed that father’s third eye was open because he had a side of well-preserved nature that had not been polluted. It was also the reason why he could see many supernormal things as soon as, or even before, he started practicing.

After a period of time, my father especially called and told me that his presbyopia (farsightedness) had gone!

He said that although he had officially retired, he was still invited to work for the law firm on some cases. One day, he saw many tiny pieces of paper on the table in his office while he was cleaning it, and thought to himself, “Who would have cut the newspaper into such small scraps?

Suddenly he found that he could see clearly the tiny characters on the classified advertisements! Those characters were so small that he could absolutely not see clearly without his presbyopic glasses before. How could he suddenly see so clearly without his glasses?

He thought it was just temporary, so he dared not tell anybody.

He tested himself on the following day to see if he could still see those tiny characters clearly without the presbyopic glasses, and yes, he could!

He tested himself continuously for two weeks until he was sure that he could now get rid of the presbyopic glasses. He only called me and told me this good news after he was 100 percent sure of the fact.

Бирок,, after he happily shared this good news with me, he added very seriously, that as a cultivator of Falun Gong, one should not develop any attachment, and shouldn’t show off or become too complacent. Therefore, he didn’t go boasting about this everywhere. Actually, he only ever revealed this in private to family members and the assistant at his practice site.

This photo taken in 1989 was the last one of Jennifer with both her parents. The hanging bridge in the background leads to Jennifer's high school, Mianyang Nanshan High School. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

This photo taken in 1989 was the last one of Jennifer with both her parents. The hanging bridge in the background leads to Jennifer’s high school, Mianyang Nanshan High School. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

19

Getting rid of presbyopia was just one of the wonderful things that happened to my father after he practiced Falun Gong. Мисалы, his blood pressure had been very high for years, with the systolic pressure often higher than 200. He had been relying on hypotensor to maintain his blood pressure, but dangerous things still often happened.

Once both he and my mother went out on bicycles. While my mother was riding behind my father, she suddenly saw him fall off his bicycle and drop onto the ground. My mother was scared to death. My father had passed out while riding because his blood pressure was too high. Since then, my mother never allowed him to ride a bicycle again.

Бирок,, my father’s blood pressure soon returned to normal after he practiced Falun Gong, and he no longer needed any hypotensor. Many other diseases including chronic pharyngitis and nasosinusitis all disappeared as well.

In the summer of 1998, I traveled from Beijing to Sichuan with my daughter to visit my parents. I was extremely surprised when I set sight on my father who was waiting for us at the platform of the train station, as he looked at least 10 years younger!

In my memory, my father had always been skin and bones; and had never put on any weight. As a result, his wrinkles were very deep. He also started going bald as early as in his thirties, and children started calling him “grandpa” when he was less than 40 years old. He always mocked himself about this.

Jennifer's father at his 60th birthday in October, 1993. The wig he wears was a gift from Jennifer. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Jennifer’s father at his 60th birthday in October, 1993. The wig he wears was a gift from Jennifer. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

After practicing Falun Gong, he had put on at least 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds). As a result, his wrinkles became much less obvious. That’s why he looked 10 years younger when I saw him.

After staying with my parents for two days, I noticed another very important change that had happened to my father, which was the way he walked. There was a scene in Thomas Hardy’s novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” which impressed me very much.

The “bad guy” in the book, Alec d’Urberville, who raped Tess years ago, later became a priest. Once while he was preaching, Tess, who was among the congregation, suddenly saw and recognized him. At that time they had not seen each other for about 4 years. It was obvious that Alec didn’t recognize Tess yet, with her appearance and outfit having changed. She wanted to walk away quietly. “But the moment that she moved again he recognized her.”

From this scene we learned that the way one walks carries more of a person’s characteristics than his/her appearance and outfit. Therefore, that’s why I was so surprised when I saw the way my father walked after he practiced Falun Gong for just one year. His steps were completely different. They were no longer heavy, slow or sloppy, like an old man’s. Instead, they became swift and as light as a swallow.

I could see that even he, himself had not realized this change. Only his family members who were very familiar with everything of his could notice this change at first sight. And this kind of change could only happen when great changes had occurred at very deep levels, levels more microscopic than the level of his body’s physical cells.

20

I also observed two photos underneath the glass on my father’s desk. One was taken before he practiced Falun Gong, in which he looked very old and as thin as a skeleton. The other one was taken after he practiced Falun Gong, in which he was meditating with very straight back, and with fair, radiant, and full cheeks.

Besides these two photos was a poem he had written. I remember the last line was, “Forever charging forward despite all the odds and hardships.” He wrote that poem to show his determination to cultivate until the very end. He said whenever there were visitors in the home, he would definitely show them the two photos as the best evidence to show Falun Dafa’s benefits.

I had never seen a happier, prouder, and more talkative father. During that summer, father had talked far more than in his entire life before.

21

Бирок,, good times did not last long. In July 1999, an overwhelming persecution was instigated against Falun Gong. Before I even had time to make any sense of it, I had been imprisoned several times for being a Falun Gong practitioner.

My parents-in-law, who lived with us, were almost terrified to death. After failing to convince me to give up Falun Gong, my mother-in-law thought of my parents. She believed that it was they who asked me to practice Falun Gong. Therefore, only they were able to make me give up.

So she called them and asked them to do so. Бирок,, it was obvious that things didn’t go as she had expected. She hung up the phone and shouted in despair: “I will go to Sichuan to fight your parents to death! I don’t want to live anyway!

I was very scared, fearing that she would really go to Sichuan to make a scene at my parents. On the other hand, I couldn’t help thinking bitterly, ” If you really don’t want to live any more, why don’t you go fight with Jiang Zemin instead! (Jiang Zemin was the head of the Chinese Communist Party who launched the campaign against Falun Gong in July 1999).

My mother-in-law was a women cadre before she retired. During the Cultural Revolution, she had been dragged onto a stage to be publicly denounced, with her arms twisted backwards and up into the air. This particular gesture had a nickname, “going by air”, which could still be seen in many pictures taken during that period of time.

After being targeted and tortured like this, she had to take the entire family to the countryside to avoid being “struggled against” again. This experience had somehow turned into a deep fear and a sense of compliance towards the CCP.

Like many other Chinese people who had been living in fear and obedience for too long, she couldn’t understand why I didn’t become as fearful as her. Nor could she forgive me for not willingly accepting the reasoning that “the arm is no match for the thigh” and therefore submitting myself to the CCP’s authority.

22

In the autumn of 1999, I heard from other Falun Gong practitioners that several former members of the Falun Dafa Research Society would be put on trial soon. One of the “crimes” they were accused of was that they had incited 10 thousand people to go to Zhongnanhai to appeal for Falun Gong on April 25, 1999. As I happened to be one of the 10 thousand people on the day, I planned to go to the court to testify that I went there of my own accord, not incited by anyone else.

After learning my thoughts, my father told me that my plan wouldn’t work at all. As one of the lawyers in the city, he had been notified the following policies regarding Falun Gong practitioners’ cases:

  1. Falun Gong practitioners are different from ordinary criminal offenders. Therefore, while ordinary offenders can be bailed out by their lawyers; Falun Gong practitioners cannot.
  2. The overall direction of Falun Gong practitioners is already wrong. Therefore, when defending Falun Gong practitioners in court, lawyers should not fight as hard with the prosecutors regarding the “trivial” issues such as whether the evidence is adequate, or whether the facts are solid enough, as they do in other cases.
  3. The attorney’s defense must be approved by the authorities beforehand. While arguing for Falun Gong practitioners, the attorney can only read from the approved defense without saying anything else.

I didn’t feel surprised by this. Nevertheless, on Dec. 26, 1999, I still went to the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, hoping to attend the trial. Бирок,, the street was filled with police, жана, like another one thousand other Falun Gong practitioners, I was arrested before I could even get a glimpse of the court.

Before being sent to the detention center, I asked the police officer at the local police station, “How long do you think we are going to be detained this time?

He replied, “I don’t know. We’ll need to wait for the instructions from higher authorities.”

“Waiting for instructions from higher authorities” was indeed the real essence of the CCP’s “rule of law.” When I was in jail, some fellow inmates once asked, “Your father is one of the top 10 lawyers of Sichuan Province. Why don’t you ask him to defend you?

As a matter of fact, not only was my father one of the top 10 lawyers in Sichuan, my mother had also become a chief judge at the intermediate court in Mianyang City by then, with my sister being the director of the Policy Research Department of Mianyang Fucheng People’s Court.

But none of these would be of any help. Not only that, but my sister herself was also dismissed from the Party and her workplace, after she went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong after the crackdown.

Furthermore, she was also on the national wanted list of the Public Security Ministry. My parents were virtually under house arrest. They were not only often summoned to their workplaces to be “educated,” but were also under 24-hour surveillance by CCP informers living just downstairs. All their movements were closely observed and then reported to the authorities.

Jennifer with her mother in early 1999. This was the last photo taken before the persecution of Falun Gong began. Jennifer never expected that the persecution would occur. Nor did she realize that she would never have another chance to take a photo with her father. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

Jennifer with her mother in early 1999. This was the last photo taken before the persecution of Falun Gong began. Jennifer never expected that the persecution would occur. Nor did she realize that she would never have another chance to take a photo with her father. (Provided by Jennifer Zeng)

23

In April 2000, I was arrested for the fourth time; and then sent to the Beijing Female Labor Camp with a one-year Re-education through Forced Labor sentence. None of the following was able to prevent this from happening: my father’s “top 10 ” status, his “1+1=2″ theory, my brilliant halo as a ” talented woman from Peking University,” as well as the fact that I once worked for the Development Research Center of the State Council.

When my father asked me to study science, he believed that studying science would help to prevent me from recommitting the same error he had made. Бирок,, he didn’t expect that “plans always fall behind changes,” and that I would end up in jail for practicing meditation and trying to be a better person—not for doing anything political at all.

Every day within the labor camp was a battle between life and death. Every day I was either experiencing for myself or witnessing all kinds of the most unimaginable, inhuman, and vicious crimes. Amidst the unprecedented barbarous physical torture, mental destruction, and a war to destroy our will power, I had been pushed to the edge of total collapse countless times.

Бирок,, with a very strong determination to survive so that I could expose all this evil, I did manage to escape the devil’s den by a hair’s breath (Please refer to my autobiography “Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong” for more details) and was released in April 2001. In order not to be sent to the brainwashing center again, I had only five days later to leave my home and live in exile.

At this stage I learnt that my sister, who was on the national wanted list, was “hiding” and working in a small bar in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province some 100 kilometers away from Mianyang. As she couldn’t apply for a temporary residence permit with her ID card, she was nearly caught several times when the police went to the bar to check residence permits. It was very dangerous for her to continue to stay there. I decided to find her a safe place so that she could leave as soon as possible.

I took the train to Chengdu to meet her. The bar she worked at was extremely small, with her as the only attendant. So she had to do everything alone, from serving the customers to acting as the cashier. Everyday she worked until midnight. As she had no other place to stay, she had to wait until all the customers left before she could push the tables and chairs to the corner to make a bed on the floor for her to sleep.

Under such circumstances, it was impossible for me to stay with her at the bar as well. So we went to a small motel nearby. At this stage, we hadn’t seen each other for more than a year; and there was so much we wanted to share with each other.

We talked for the entire night until dawn. When daylight broke, we both felt very hungry. So we walked out to get some food. At the front door of the motel, we came across a young man. His facial expression abruptly changed as soon as he set sight on my sister. Then he quickly turned back and rushed away.

My sister also recognized him: he was a classmate of my sister from ten years ago, when they were studying at the police academy. And he was currently a police officer in Chengdu city, and obviously knew very well that my sister was on the wanted list with 30K yuan (approximately US$3,600, a sum greater than the average annual income in China at that time) reward money on her head.

We immediately checked out and left the area. Having nowhere to go, my sister had to return to her bar although we both knew it was very risky. In the meantime, I decided to secretly travel back to Mianyan. I could visit my parents, after having been imprisoned for more than one year, and I could also try to find a place for my sister to go from there. I believed that I could only seek help from a fellow Falun Gong practitioner, as I didn’t think there would be any other people who would take the risk to offer assistance to a “wanted criminal.”

24

When I saw my parents after only one year’s separation, I was as surprised as I had been in 1998, when I saw the huge change in my father after he practiced Falun Gong. Бирок,, this time, the surprise was totally opposite of the one before. It deeply pained my heart.

My father had relapsed into a thin, bony, and silent old man. What was more terrifying than the change with his appearance was that, through his gloomy face, I could see that his soul seemed to have withered, without any sign of life. He was no longer the father I saw over a year ago, when his face had glowed with a youthful radiance while proudly boasting that “four out of five members of our family all practice Falun Gong!

He was obviously too scared by the overwhelming propaganda campaign and the suppression and had stopped practicing Falun Gong. He no longer talked about anything related to cultivation, either. He even failed to ask me anything about what had happened to me, how I had suffered in the detention center and the labor camp. Perhaps it was because he dared not ask, or perhaps he was not interested. For an old man whose soul had dried up, it wouldn’t make any difference anyway.

I only heard him mumble once, “I am almost 70, and can’t afford any mishaps. What if they confiscate my house? What if they stop paying my retirement pension?

As to my mother, I noticed that much of her hair had turned grey. Initially, she always talked about her three beautiful and talented daughters with much pride and excitement. Бирок,, now with two of her three daughters having become the enemy of the Party, all her pride and happiness had gone. She also looked like a lifeless plant wilted by the frost.

25

Because of the special circumstances surrounding my sister and me, it was very difficult for us to communicate with each other. I dared not use my parents’ home phone or my cell phone to call her directly, as that could bring immediate danger to her. I had to call her beeper number using a public phone, and then wait there for her to return my call.

After receiving my beeper message, my sister needed to try to find an opportunity to leave the bar first, and then find a public phone to call me back. She had to be very careful, so each time she called, she tried to use a different location.

After overcoming all sorts of difficulties and challenges, I finally found a place to go. I asked my sister to buy two train tickets from Chengdu, one for herself and one for me. As the train started from Chengdu, it was easier to buy a sitting ticket from there. When the train stopped as Mianyan, I would board from there and join her.

I did exactly as we agreed. Бирок,, when the train arrived and stopped at Mianyan, my sister didn’t come down with my ticket as I had expected.

I felt something very ominous, but still managed to get on board with my platform ticket. I went straight to where our seats should have been and found two peasant workers sitting there. I asked them whether they had seen a young woman with such and such an appearance when they first boarded the train.

They immediately cut me short in a panic and said, “No, we didn’t! We have been here from the very beginning!” I knew that they were worrying that I would say that those two seats were not theirs and drive them away.

Failing to find out any clue, I had to push my way to and fro within the very crowded train, trying to see if I could find any trace of my sister while knowing too well that the possibility was miniscule. After about one hour, the train arrived at the next stop, which was more than 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) away. I had searched from the first to the last car of the long train a couple of times, but still didn’t see any trace of my sister.

Not knowing what to do, I got off the train. It was about 3:00 am in the morning; with heavy rain pouring down. Everything was so dark, and so strange. Standing in the pouring rain, my heart kept sinking and sinking.

Finally I decided to call a taxi and go back to Mianyang. How could I leave alone without knowing exactly what had happened to my sister?

As soon as I entered my parents’ home, I saw a lot of luggage scattered everywhere on the floor. My mother was trying to sort them out; with her hair in a mess.

Upon seeing me, she didn’t ask why I ended up returning. Instead, she said to me with a dull and blank face, “Your sister was arrested yesterday. This is her luggage; your brother-in-law just got it back from the detention center. And this is the receipt of the confiscated items that were found with her when she was caught.”

I took the receipt and looked at it with a blank mind. It says, ” A number of copies of Falun Gong books; two train tickets to Taiyuan; and a storage room ticket for luggage…”

My father suddenly grabbed my bag from the ground, rammed it into my hand, pushed me out of door; and shouted loudly, “Hurry! Go! Don’t wait until the police find out who was planning to run off together with your sister!

I was dumfounded for a while. Then I clenched my teeth, took a last look at my mother’s newly dull eyes and grey hair, then turned around abruptly and quickly walked away.

26

Later on I learned from my mother that it was indeed that police classmate of my sister who had reported upon her, so that he could gain the 30K yuan reward.

After he alerted the authorities, police officers from Chengdu and Mianyang worked together and launched a blanket search for my sister, while I was trying to find a place for her to go. On the day when we had planned to leave, my sister left the bar in early morning; and stored her luggage in the train station, as the train wouldn’t leave until late at night.

She decided to utilize her spare time to visit several classmates in Chengdu, whom she dared not meet before. She wanted to say farewell and tell them about Falun Gong and why it was being persecuted. But, alas, she ended up being caught on the bus, before she ever saw any of her classmates.

All this was reported in great detail by the “Rule of Law” newspaper in Mianyang. Local police celebrated my sister’s arrest as a big achievement, since she was on the national wanted list. So they boasted about themselves in every detail in the newspaper.

I couldn’t imagine how many police officers they had deployed in order to catch my sister in a big city with a population of more than 10 million. How did they manage to locate her while she was just randomly on a bus without any previous plan? As far as I am know, she didn’t have a cell phone with her either, which might have been used to trace her. I could never figure this out.

27

Several days later, I arrived in Taiyuan alone. The friend who waited for me there still took me to Mountain Wutai, a famous Buddhist site, according to our initial plan.

Standing on top of the mountain, thinking about my sister who should have been there together with me, looking at the sacred Buddhist site being turned into a chaotic tourists’ destiny, and listening to the sutras chanting played with cassette recorders in the shop that sold travel souvenirs, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a tremendous feeling of sadness and sorrow. I couldn’t help but cry. Deep within my heart, I suddenly felt connected with a poet of more than a thousand years ago, who wrote this famous piece:

Before me, where have all the Sages of yore gone?
Behind me, where are their successors (– Tell me, m’friend)?
O Heaven and Earth, how boundless and without end!
I’m all alone, down my cheeks tears keep rolling on.

Yes, the irony and sadness was, while ancient and sacred Buddhist temples and sutras could be traded for money a million times, genuine cultivators of Buddha principles were not even allowed to exist in the vast space between heaven and earth.

Бирок,, while I was feeling extremely concerned for my sister, I had never realized that the moment when my father pushed me out of the door would be the last time that I would ever set my eyes upon him.

28

Four months later, I was lucky enough to be able to escape to Australia, and formally begin another stage of my life in exile. With the help of local Falun Gong practitioners, I settled down quickly and continued to write my autobiography, “Witnessing Histroy: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong, to expose the atrocious CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong.

The book was translated into English by the biggest publisher in Australia, distributed worldwide, and raised a lot of attention internationally as the first book written by a labor camp survivor since the crackdown of Falun Gong began.

Several years later, New Tang Dynasty Television, the largest independent global Chinese-language television network, co-produced a documentary called “Free China: the Courage to Believe” with me as one of the main characters. This film won numerous international awards after its release, and I was invited to many cities and countries to give speeches. Because of all this, I received a lot of media coverage. As a result, my parents in Mianyang also received “extra attention” from the National Security Bureau.

In the beginning, the national security police only “invited” my parents to tea regularly. Later on they gave them more pressure by asking them to go abroad to convince me into returning to China to “take a look and see how great the motherland has turned out to be.”

I am aware that when a Falun Gong practitioner returns, they will force him or her into revealing as much information as possible about overseas Falun Gong practitioners. Ultimately, the returned practitioner becomes a spy for them thereafter.

Once, before the Middle-Autumn Festival, a time when Chinese families traditionally come together, the director of the National Security Bureau in Mianyang even personally sought my mother for a discussion.

He said to her, that they sincerely invited me back to China and would ensure my safety. He even said that he could write a guarantee statement and give it to my mother. They were actually still forcing her to contact me to pass on their “invitation.”

The police writing a guarantee statement to me? I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry. When I was detained in the labor camp, they nearly tortured us to death in order to force us to give up our beliefs by writing a guarantee statement that we would not practice Falun Gong.

Now they want to write a guarantee to me? If they were really willing to “guarantee” my safety, why don’t they just release all the countless imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners in China? Why are they still committing the inhuman crime of killing Falun Gong practitioners on demand for their organs? Even the Nazi regime has never done such a thing as forcefully mass harvesting human organs to be used as merchandise for profit. This brutality has gone far beyond any normal human’s imagination.

The police writing a guarantee statement for me? No way. I asked my mother to tell them, “Sorry, but I don’t think I will go back.”

When the police heard this, they forgot to put on their disguise; and viciously threatened my mother, “If she refuses to come back this time, never dream about coming back again!

Most of the time, it was my mother who warded off the police harassment. I learnt from my mother that father always had only one sentence for the police when they asked me to go back to China: “The time is not right yet.”

Every time when I called home, it was always my mother who answered the phone; whilst my father seldom talked with me. When he did talk, he always simply said that he was fine, and asked me not to worry about him.

Бирок,, I learned from my mother that he was not doing too well. His blood pressure went up again, he had cataracts in his eyes and his eyesight had turned very bad. Sometimes, when he tried to fill his cup, he poured the water outside of the cup as he couldn’t see clearly.

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Августта 2014, after being separated from my father for more than 13 years, I suddenly heard that he was in a very critical condition and had been sent to the hospital with heart and respiratory failure.

While the entire family was feeling extremely worried and helpless, police officers lost no time to appear at the hospital, and said to my mother in a tone as if they had just won a big war, “Need your eldest daughter to come back? Well, we can still offer help.”

Offering help? Several years ago, when I went to the Chinese Consulate in Sydney for some attestation service, instead of offering me the service, the officer gave a pile of documents and asked me to write down details including all my Falun Gong activities in Australia, as well as all the information I knew about other Falun Gong practitioners. After I did what they wanted, they would then stamp the documents for me.

Faced with this kind of scampish blackmail, what could I do except walk away? So if I really asked for “help” this time, wouldn’t they give me a thicker pile of paper sheets?

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On Oct. 27, 2014, my father passed away after living in misery for many years. When he departed from this world, none of his three daughters were able to be around him.

I wept silently in a far away and foreign land. When my father’s situation deteriorated rapidly, I once wanted very much to rush to the Chinese Consulate to see if I could get a visa to return to China. Бирок,, my supervisor stopped me and said that he didn’t think my father would want to see me return and put myself in danger.

And the police didn’t even spare my parents when my father was dying, as they thought that would be the best opportunity to force me back. Being pushed by them into a corner, my mother clenched her teeth and said: “Don’t push us. We don’t need her to come back. After her father dies, I will just incinerate the body and then sprinkle the ashes into the river! If she has filial piety, she can try to remember her father in her heart; if she has no filial piety, that is also fine! We don’t need her back!

Mother’s “ruthless” words really hurt my heart. But what could I say? Under the ruthless CCP regime, if my mother were not tough enough, how could she survive all the atrocities that could have killed her many times over otherwise?

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After more than one month, I still couldn’t get over my grief and regret. I was extremely upset that I couldn’t be at his side when he was dying. I was even more upset that I had not tried hard enough to persuade him to take up Falun Gong again, as I knew that the home phone was tapped.

I was afraid that if I did, I would bring more trouble to him. As it happened, on the night before he passed away, I had been still planning that I would overcome my fear the next day and ask him to take up Falun Gong again for his health.

Бирок,, early the next morning, the first thing I learned about was his death. If he had resumed his practice of Falun Gong, I’m sure he wouldn’t have passed away like this! I didn’t know how I could make up for all the losses.

Finally I thought about something, which was, to publish a declaration on his behalf to quit from the CCP at The Epoch Times Quit the CCP website. Although he had told me before that he had already withdrawn from the party, I was not sure how he did it. Therefore, I thought it was necessary for me to publish a declaration on his behalf.

I sincerely believe that people’s souls live beyond their physical bodies, and they will go to other dimensions. Therefore, it was necessary to help my father to clear the “mark of beast” left on him by the CCP, as he was once a CCP member.

This was also perhaps the only thing I could do for him at this stage. It really pained my heart to think that my dear father, who was once so talented, so upright, and so kind-hearted, died in such miserable circumstances. He was even denied the chance to see his daughters on his deathbed. Wasn’t all of this caused by the CCP? I was very confident that my father’s soul would want me to declare his wish to cut any lasting ties with the party.

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On Nov. 29, 2014, I published the following declaration on behalf of my father at the Quit the CCP site on The Epoch Times website. As I was still very upset because of my father’s death, I could only write a very simple, and therefore not satisfactory declaration:

Quit the CCP Declaration for My Late Father Jiang Shengzhi

My late father Jiang Shengzhi once practiced Falun Gong; but was forced to give up because of the CCP’s persecution. He died of illnesses recently after suffering miserably for many years. The practice of Falun Gong once benefited my father greatly, and he looked at least 10 years younger because of it. It is impossible to know how many people like my father have been killed either directly or indirectly by the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong!

Although my father had chosen to withdraw from the CCP before, he had not published his declaration at the Epoch Times website. Hence, I hereby solemnly declare on his behalf that he would like to quit the CCP and its related organizations, and I do believe that his soul in heaven would like to see me doing this for him.

Jiang Shengzhi’s eldest daughter Zeng Zheng

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I had always wanted to write something to commemorate my father; but always hesitated, as I didn’t know where to start.

In April 2015, the number of people who have published their declarations to withdraw from the CCP and its related organizations exceeded 200 million. To celebrate this occasion, The Epoch Times launched a composition competition and called for article submissions. I thought to myself, let me commemorate my father via participating in this competition. Apart from this, I couldn’t think of any better way.

Therefore I wrote this long article in tears.

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As for myself, I published the quit CCP declaration below on Dec. 15, 2004, about one month after the publication of “Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party.”

Quit the CCP and Become a Clear-Minded Chinese

When the CCP started the crackdown on Falun Gong, it announced that “no Communist Party members are allowed to practice Falun Dafa.” At that stage I chose to continue to practice Falun Gong without any hesitation. As a result, I was illegally imprisoned for more than one year. I had thought that as I had not paid any party dues and had not involved myself in any party activities for such a long time, I should have been considered as having automatically withdrawn from the party according to the CCP’s regulations. Therefore, I had always thought that I already had nothing to do with the CCP whatsoever.

Бирок,, after reading the “Nine Commentaries on Chinese Communist Party” recently, I was struck by so many new realizations that I felt I needed to ponder how I was “trapped” into the CCP in order to really clear away the poisonous damage it left on me. At the historical moment of “disintegrating the CCP with universal laws,” I needed to make a clear stance.

The earliest thing I remember in my life was when I was four years old. At that time, I had started trying to imitate the dancers after watching the revolutionary ballet “White-haired Girl,” one of the eight “model revolutionary ballets” during the Great Cultural Revolution, and my mother was very proud of my dancing talents.

Not until more than 30 years later, after I had arrived overseas, did I learn that the story portrayed in the “White-haired Girl”, a story about how the CCP saved this white haired girl from the “old evil society,” was a complete lie. Not only was it a lie, but it was also related to the so-called “Land Reform” campaign, in which more than 100,000 landlords were killed, with their lands taken away by the CCP. In order to glorify this “Crashing the Landlords and Sharing their Land” campaign, the CCP fabricated that story to make it look great.

I was very much astonished when I learned the truth: to realize that the first memory in my life was actually related to the huge lie and ruthless campaign that had killed more than 100,000 people.

I don’t remember exactly when I joined the Young Pioneers of China (once also called the “Little Red Guards”). According to my mother, it was when I was in the first grade of elementary school. As I did very well with my studies and was very obedient, I was among the first group who joined the “Little Red Guards.” For many years, I had been very proud of this, as I thought it meant that I was doing very well in school, and it should be regarded as an honor.

I only felt alarmed after reading the “Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party.” As a six year old child, who wasn’t even able to remember everything, I was already dragged into the evil CCP’s system, as the Little Red Guards” was officially entitled the “reserve team” of the CCP. I didn’t know how many times I had sung the Little Red Guards theme song “We are the Shining Future of Communism.” The Communist Party has established communism as its state religion, and everybody was forced into it ever since he or she was born.

The “Great Cultural Revolution” began in the year I was born, and lasted for 10 years. Therefore, throughout my childhood, what I was exposed to were all the CCP’s propaganda about how “Chairman Mao” was the great savior of Chinese people, and how “great, glorious and correct” the CCP was. Literature works, music, dance, fine arts (if those “revolutionary propaganda pictures” could be called “fine arts”), films, and so on, were all tools to propagandize that “The Great Cultural Revolution is absolutely great!

Dragged inside the Party’s cultural surroundings, I unknowingly received many things that the Party wanted to instill in me, though I was a kind-hearted and simple person by nature.

I joined the Youth League in middle school. On the surface, it seemed that this time I joined it with full awareness. Бирок,, when the entire society was tightly controlled by the CCP, when every student was made to believe that joining the Youth League was a glorious thing, and it indicated you were doing very well, could one make any better judgment?

I was admitted to Peking University in 1984, and experienced a rare and relatively open and relaxed period when different kinds of theories and philosophies were allowed to spread. Many people did manage to rethink and reflect on the “Great Cultural Revolution.” However, under the Party’s persuasion, like many other Chinese people, I also believed that since the Party had “corrected” its own mistakes, everything would be brought back on to the right track, and tragedies like the Great Cultural Revolution would never happen again.

I became the first CCP member in my junior year in the university. I think the following two reasons played an important role in this: 1. I was somehow convinced by the theory that the Party could be changed for better if more good people joined it; 2. My father was finally admitted into the Party the year before after his constant efforts for more than 20 years of trying to be accepted.

When I learned he joined the Party, I was greatly shocked. I thought, as someone who had experienced so much, including political discrimination and persecution, he still didn’t give up his efforts. He must have had a very good reason for doing so. Therefore, I should follow suit.

Now when I look back, I suddenly realized how unfounded this reason was. How could I be convinced by such a reason back then? I actually knew very little about father’s experiences, except the fact that he was labeled as the “black pawn of reactionary capitalist-roaders,” relocated to a remote small town, and re-educated there for many years.

My sister was born when I was four years old. As my mother, who was not allowed to live together with my father, couldn’t look after two children at the same time as she still needed to work to make a living, I was sent to live together with my father.

Бирок,, until I left my hometown for university, in more than one decade’s time of living together with my father, I never heard him talk about any of his experiences during the Cultural Revolution, nor did he ever make any comments about any state affairs, despite the fact that he graduated from the department of politics of Southwest Politics and Law University.

The first political comment I ever heard him make was this, “No matter who is the chairman of the country, 1+1 will forever equal 2.” On the other hand, liberal arts are too easily affected by politics. Therefore, although many people said that girls should study liberal arts, I still chose science because of my father’s insistence.

I learned a little of my father’s misfortune during the Cultural Revolution only recently through my mother. In 1967, he was hospitalized after developing acute hepatitis, but was still dragged out to be publicly denounced. His hands were painted with black ink to indicate his identity as the “black pawn of reactionary capitalist-roaders.” Large amounts of his hair were pulled out. As a result, he became bald-headed as early as in his thirties.

Ошол эле учурда, my mother had to look after my father, who was nearly tortured to death, while I was only one-year-old. She also had to put up my father’s written “self-criticism” everywhere according to the requirement of the “rebels,” with no single spot to be ignored, or any copy being put in the wrong place.

I couldn’t imagine my father’s feelings after suffering all of this. In my memory, my father seldom talked. Бирок,, when he wrote to me to tell me the news about having joined the Party, for the first time ever, I sensed his excitement. And this in turn influenced me deeply.

As my father’s family background category was “small land lessor,” he fell into the politically wrong class ever since he was born. Because of his “wrong” family class, no matter how hard working and how talented he was, he had always been struggling at the bottom of society. Perhaps being admitted into the Party could help rid himself of this inferiority complex of being politically wrong? Or did it have other meanings for him? Maybe he would never discuss this with me, as talking about politics was not safe in China, even within one’s family.

Many people don’t realize that the fear and loathing they have toward politics are in fact the terror and hatred they have toward the CCP’s history of killing. Part 3 of the “Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party,” “On the Tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party,” enables one to see more clearly and comprehensively that the CCP’s politics has been about how to kill and crackdown on people.

In democratic countries, voting is a citizen’s obligation; and that is also “getting involved in politics”. What is there to fear or loathe? It is the CCP that has imposed a connotation of suppression and killing on the term “politics,” and that is why so many Chinese people hate the mere mention of “politics.”

One year after I became a formal Party member, the Tiananmen Square massacre happened. I was extremely shocked. As many students from Peking University were very active in the movement, it was said that the Peking University would be a main target for further crackdowns. Many different and horrible rumors were passed around, such as the army would occupy the campus, and no student should sleep on the upper level of a bunk bed to avoid being hit by stray bullets, and so on. The authorities of the university strongly suggested that we don’t stay on campus.

I was very much terrified, as I couldn’t find a place to stay. In the end, I ended up sleeping on a very hard desk in the office of a friend. During the night, I opened the office door to find my way to the restroom. Suddenly I thought I heard terribly loud bursts of machine-gun shots, and was nearly frightened to death.

Бирок,, when I tried to find out where those gunshots came from, I realized that it was just the croaking of many frogs, as my friend’s office was located in the suburbs, and very close to a pond.

It took me several days and a lot of effort to be able to buy a train ticket so that I could escape Beijing-the city of the massacre, which was already under martial law. When arriving at the Beijing train station with three friends, I found it was as chaotic as if it were the end of the world. Many trains were cancelled or delayed. Dark smoke was still rising from the burnt tanks and military trucks.

We sat underneath a bridge near the train station; anxiously waiting for information regarding the departure of our train. As we had nothing better to do, we drew a portrait of Li Peng, whom we believed had ordered the army to kill the students, and then threw small pieces of stone at the portrait to see who could hit it with more precision.

After all the “noise” was suppressed, all the student party members were required to write up “thought reports” at great length with all the details about ones’ thoughts and deeds during the student movements. When trying very hard to keep myself out of trouble, I never seriously reflected on what kind of role the CCP had played in this tragedy. As a female science student, I was never very much into politics. Like many other people, I “forgot” this massacre soon enough: when all is said and done, nobody in my family was killed anyway.

Many people had tried to change the Party through joining it. Бирок,, a ruthless reality smashed all their dreams. Disappointed by the failure, many people had long since given up this kind of thought and effort. Almost everyone agrees that the CCP isn’t good, but people usually feel helpless as it still seems so “strong.”

Only after I finished reading the “Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party” did I understand the reasons: As stated in the “Nine Commentaries,” the CCP is a somewhat “abstract,” independent, foreign, and evil specter that attaches itself to people, who could only be controlled and manipulated by it. How could one change it by joining the party?

That also explains the reason why after ten general secretaries of the CCP were all “knocked down” by the Party, the Party itself still “thrives in prosperity.”

That is also the reason why within the CCP’s doctrine, the Party’s interest is always above everything. Any human being, including all the party members can only be its tools, without being able to change any part of it. Any attempts to change it, or illusions that it can be changed, will surely be proved to be a failure, and what accompany all the illusions will surely be tragedies for the Chinese people, and even the world.

I am very grateful for the Epoch Times’s “Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party.” It enabled me to reflect on my initial motivation to join the CCP, helped me see through the Party for what it is, and therefore to clear away more thoroughly its poisonous elements within me.

The best way to rid oneself of a foreign evil specter is to firmly deny its existence, and to proactively break away from its control and influence in mind as well as in its organizational forms.

The Chinese nation has been occupied and possessed by the CCP evil specter for too long and is therefore critically “ill.” For an ill person, or for somebody who is controlled by a foreign specter, nobody would ask, “What will this person do without his illness or specter?

Therefore, it is completely unnecessary to worry about who can lead China without the CCP. A China without the CCP will surely regain its vitality, just like a sick person who was suddenly cured.

Hence, I hereby solemnly declare my withdrawals from the CCP, the Youth League and the Young Pioneers, and that my applications to join the CCP, the Youth League and the Young Pioneers, all the thought reports I wrote after joining the CCP, as well as all the written materials in my profile held by the CCP, are null and void. Only by withdrawing from the CCP can I become a really clear-minded Chinese citizen.

***

Jennifer Zeng is the author of “Witnessing History: One Chinese Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong.” Before she was persecuted in China for her faith, she was a researcher and consultant in the Development Research Center of the State Council, the State Cabinet. Her story is featured in the award-winning documentary “Free China; the Courage to Believe,” co-produced by New Tang Dynasty Television and World2Be Productions. Zeng has a blog and posts to Facebook.

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Beijing Party secretary Cai Qi attends a meeting of Beijing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Jan. 12, 2017. (Reuters)Beijing Party secretary Cai Qi attends a meeting of Beijing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Jan. 12, 2017. (Reuters)

Cai Qi spent 14 years in several modest official positions in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. Finally, боюнча 2013, Cai became a deputy to the provincial number two.

In the past four years, Бирок,, Cai has enjoyed career progression somewhat similar to a multinational company employee in middle management being made chief executive officer overnight—with an additional offer to join the board of directors.

Cai was first plucked from Zhejiang to be deputy director of the Chinese regime’s national security organ in 2014. Then Cai was made acting and full Beijing mayor, and later landed the top job in Beijing municipality—Communist Party secretary of Beijing—in a span of six months between 2016 жана 2017.

As Beijing boss, Cai, 60, also seems locked in for a seat in the Politburo—a 25-member elite decision making body—come the 19th National Congress, a key Party conclave, near the end of the year.

The Xi Jinping leadership’s recent appointment of Cai and over a dozen others to senior provincial positions has turned heads because they are technically non-elites—none of the newly promoted officials are in the Central Committee, a collection of over 300 ministerial-level officials.

Xi has likely chosen to elevate Cai and others, who are either Xi’s former work colleagues or academicians and technocrats, to more fully consolidate his control over the Chinese regime.

Political Deathmatch

On paper, general-secretary Xi Jinping already appears to be very powerful, being “core” leader of the Chinese regime, the top military overseer, and head of several key policy-making groups.

But in actuality, Xi is less influential than his many titles suggest.

Even before taking office in 2012, Xi was forced to contend with a powerful political faction helmed by former Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin. Jiang’s faction has previously been dominant for about two decades, and is responsible for perpetuating corruption, kleptocracy, and persecution in China.

Jiang faction elites had originally planned to dispose of Xi, a compromise candidate between Jiang and then outgoing Chinese leader Hu Jintao, in a coup, according to sources inside the Party and an account by an Obama administration official to Washington Free Beacon reporter Bill Gertz. Xi Jinping himself appeared to allude to the attempted coup in official speeches where he accused disgraced Jiang elites of forming “cliques and cabals” to “wreck and split” the Party.

Over the past five years, Xi has sought to shift the balance of power through an anti-corruption campaign, which has led to the downfall of many Jiang allies and supporters in various governing organs and the military. More than a million officials have been investigated for corruption since 2013, of which over 200 are Party elites, according to Chinese state media.

Officials, possibly unhappy with being unable to make an easy fortune through corruption, have recently been found to be passively resisting the Xi leadership by refusing or poorly carrying out orders from Party central, according to Chinese scholars or indirect allusions in reports by the Party’s anti-corruption agency.

The result of the “deathmatch” between the Xi leadership and Jiang’s faction is stagnation in the Chinese regime—in the past five years, Xi hasn’t been able to push through substantial economic, legal, or security reforms.

Reshuffling the Provinces

In light of the current political situation in the Chinese regime, the Xi Jinping leadership’s recent elevation of Beijing boss Cai Qi and several other officials to top provincial positions despite their non-elite status seems to be born out of dire necessity rather than a willful attempt to break with the regime’s convention.

If Xi were to promote officials from among the current pool of Central Committee members, or within many important provincial-level administrations like Beijing, Янг, or Xinjiang, he runs the risk of entrenching the Chinese “deep state” that comprises lines of officials whose political patronage can be traced to Jiang Zemin’s faction.

Xi will unlikely want to go another five years being unable to properly push through his policies. Stacking the number one and two offices in key provinces with loyalists or capable academicians and technocrats with no political alignment is one way to break the impasse.

Xi’s efforts at political reshuffling is best seen in Beijing.

Beijing Party chief Cai Qi worked with Xi in the southern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang. New acting mayor Chen Jining was president of the prestigious Tsinghua University until 2015 before serving as Minister of Environmental Protection. Two new Beijing municipal Party committee members, the political advisory organ chief, and the legislature chief were all brought in from outside Beijing.

Xi has either replicated or appears to be in the process of effecting similar political appointments in the other key provincial-level administrations such as Tianjin, Янг, Guangdong, Xinjiang, and Shanghai, long the base of operations of Jiang Zemin.

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Zhang Yue, security boss of Hebei province, has been arrested for “serious violation of Party disciplineand is currently being investigated, according to news from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s website on April 16.
Zhang is the second incumbent Political Committee Secretary at the provincial level to have been investigated since the CCP’s 18th National Congress.
After Zhang was sacked, China’s media immediately published several articles that revealed the inside story of his ties to former security czar Zhou Yongkang; Deputy Minister of the Ministry of State Security Ma Jian, who has been sacked; and Guo Wengui, who controls Beijing Zenith Holdings.
The Chinese media’s coverage of Zhang’s alleged crimes was limited to corruption and misconduct, which are the stated reasons for CCP leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. Бирок,, the undertone of the story can be seen in the details; that is, Zhang’s resume.
Apparently, Zhang held a special appointment between November 2003 and December 2007 as the Chief of the 26th Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security. This department is the Ministry of Public Security’s “610 Office,” which was established to persecute the spiritual practice Falun Gong. In 2003, Zhou Yongkang held the appointment of Minister of Public Security.
The 610 Office is an illegal organisation established by former CCP leader Jiang Zemin on June 10, 1999. It is also called “the Central Leading Group for the Prevention and Handling of Cult-Related Issues”.
The 610 Office has been compared to the Gestapo, the secret police of Nazi Germany. It controls the police, Court, and Attorney through the Political and Legal Affairs Commission. It overrides the country’s laws, and is another power centre of central authorities.
For the past 16 years, the policy of persecuting Falun Gong has been passed down from the 610 Office and executed by the public security organs, based on Jiang’s verbal instructions. Бирок,, the 610 Office is a confidential unit, and many details are still unknown to the outside world.
The CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong has gone underground for the past 10 years. In order to hide the truth about the persecution, the CCP’s official media did not carry news about the 610 Office.
On Jan 12, 2015, Li Dongsheng, Zhou Yongkang’s trusted aide and the former head of the central 610 Office, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On Dec 20, 2013, Li was sacked, and official communications referred to his titles: vice head of the Central Leading Group for the Prevention and Handling of Cult-Related Issues; head of the office of the Leading Group (610 Office); and vice minister of Public Security.
The exposure of the name of that secret agency alluded to the fact that Li’s real crime was linked to persecuting Falun Gong.
Jiang’s faction of the CCP is fearful that once it loses power, it will be exposed for its crimes of persecution. On the other hand, Xi wants to run the country normally. The contradictions between the two were irreconcilable.
Due to the restrictive factors of the CCP’s system, officials in Jiang’s faction have been sacked under the name of corruption. Бирок,, if you look at the common thread among the officialsincluding former police chief Wang Lijun; former CCP secretary of Chongqing City Bo Xilai; Li Dongsheng; former CCP secretary of Qinghai Province Su Rong; former military general Xu Caihou, and Zhou Yongkangall followed Jiang’s orders and committed crimes against humanity by persecuting Falun Gong.
As such, the crimes of persecuting Falun Gong, including the live organ harvesting from adherents, have become the Achilles heel of the Jiang faction.
Uncovering the inside story of China’s media reports and understanding their signals serve as reminders for people to make a choice. In the near future, when the persecution crimes against Falun Gong are exposed, Jiang’s faction and the CCP apparatus will be disintegrated.
Translated by Benjamin Ng. Edited by Sally Appert.
Xia Xiaoqiang, is a political columnist for the Chinese edition of the Epoch Times, he is based in Norway and has written analyses of contemporary political affairs since 2009.

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The Beijing Auto Show, which begins April 25, will witness a skirmish between foreign and domestic automakers aiming to capture consumer interest amidst a downbeat growth climate for the industry.
Beijing alternates with Shanghai to host China’s flagship annual auto show. Merely five years ago, the 2011 Beijing Motor Show was an afterthought for foreign automakers as only a handful participated and Japanese car manufacturers unveiled no new models there.
Today China is the world’s biggest automobile market, and its Motor Show has gained the same significance as annual industry events in Detroit, Geneva, and Tokyo. It’s also a window into China’s massiveyet bizarrely fragmentedcar market, with foreign sports cars showcased next to their Chinese copycat doppelgangers.
This year, global automakers reserved some of their biggest launches for Beijing. The pomp and circumstance underscores both China’s importance to automakers as well as the pressure of acquiring market share in an increasingly downbeat growth environment.
China is the biggest market for General Motors, which sold 3.6 million vehicles there last year, a 5.2 percent increase. Mercedes-Benzwhich lags behind its German rivals BMW and Audi in Chinasold 373,459 vehicles there last year, a 33 percent increase from 2014. Toyota’s luxury division Lexus saw its China sales jump 14 percent to 88,500 боюнча 2015, becoming the brand’s second biggest market after the United States.
Major debuts in Beijing this year include the Acura CDX subcompact crossover, Citroen C6 (China-only), Infiniti QX Sport SUV concept, 2017 Lexus IS, Mazda CX-4 wagon, Porsche 718 Cayman, and a new Volkswagen Touareg concept.
Battle of SUVs
SUVs have become a bright spot in 2016 for the Chinese auto industry. Sales of SUVs soared 52 percent last year and helped drive overall car sales gains in March after a muted January-February period.
 
The Infiniti QX Sport SUV concept. (Photo courtesy of Infiniti)
While government tax cuts no doubt assisted, SUV sales jumped 46 percent in March versus a year ago, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Sedans, on the other hand, suffered a 3.3 percent sales drop.
Demand for SUVs is forecasted to continue in 2016, as consumers trade up from compact sedans and find low gas prices offsetting SUVstypically higher operating costs.
But foreign automakers were largely watching from the sidelines during in the recent SUV surge. The five best-selling SUVs in the first three months of 2016 were all Chinese branded. Chinese manufacturers account for 65 percent of the SUV market, and with lower prices, they dominate the lower end of the market.
“The Beijing Motor Show will be the platform for international and domestic auto makers to showcase new products, specifically SUVs in the aim to capture greater market share,” Namrita Chow, an analyst at IHS Automotive, wrote in a recent report.
New vehicle lineups at the Beijing Motor Show reflect this trend. Foreign automakers such as Honda, Mazda, and Volkswagen are bringing several crossover and SUV models to the show, hoping to carve out a larger piece of China’s SUV sales growth.
Competition is expected to be steep. Fiat Chrysler AutomobilesJeep brand will debut its China-manufactured Renegade. Honda Motor Co. plans to unveil two SUVs designed for China. Domestic brands such as Great Wall, China’s leading SUV brand, and Chery both plan to unveil at least one new SUV at the Beijing Motor Show.
Later this year, Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp., Guangzhou Auto Co. and Dongfeng Motor Co. are expected to launch as many as three new SUVs each.
Overcapacity Concerns
Foreign automakers are investing billions of dollars into manufacturing plants in China. General Motors opened a $1.3 billion Cadillac assembly plant near Shanghai this year, and will open another $1 billion factory in Wuhan next year. South Korea’s Hyundai plans to open a plant near Beijing later this year and another in Chongqing in 2017.
 
Teaser photo of the 2017 Lexus IS to debut at 2016 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. (Photo courtesy of Lexus USA)
Investment research firm Sanford C. Bernstein projects a 22 percent increase in China’s car manufacturing capacity in the next two years to 28.8 million vehicles annually. That figure approaches the sum of the U.S. (17.5 million units) and European Union (12.6 million units) automobile markets combined.
CAAM estimates that Chinese passenger vehicle sales will reach 22.8 million in 2016. If that figure holds, Chinese vehicle sales would need to increase by 26 percent in 2017 for demand to meet capacity.
China’s auto sales during the first three months grew 6.8 percent, but sales are inflated by a sales tax incentive China implemented last September on small cars, which account for 70 percent of all sales. Consumers buying cars with engine displacements of 1.6 liter or less pay 5 percent sales taxhalf of the 10 percent tax levied on all other vehicle purchasesthrough 2016.
Given the anticipated expiration of incentives, “2017 will be a very difficult year for the auto industry, probably no growth,” Yale Zhang, managing director of Automotive Foresight, a Shanghai consulting firm, told the New York Times.
In 2009 жана 2010, a similar tax incentive propelled vehicle sales. When the reduction expired, auto sales effectively flattened in 2011 жана 2012.
“Nobody foresaw how quickly demand would slow. Prices will fall. Profitability will suffer,” said Michael Dunne, a consultant on Chinese auto market strategy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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News Analysis
The enemies of Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping could be behind an online letter that leveled a potent attack on Xi’s rule and threatened his familythis is the tentative conclusion suggested by a review of the political loyalties of many of the key players involved in the Xinjiang-based outlet that published the letter, and an examination of the current landscape of politics in China.
For over a decade, the Party chiefs of Xinjiang in westmost China have been connected with a powerful Party faction overseen by former Chinese regime leader Jiang Zemin. Jiang has managed to stay influential and relevant in Chinese politics despite having relinquished all official positions over a decade ago, due to the placement of strong allies in key positions.
Xinjiang was, between 2002 жана 2014, under the purview of two staunch loyalists of Jiang, former security czars Luo Gan and Zhou Yongkang. Zhou succeeded Luo in heading a small but crucial policymaking and implementation body that oversees the region.
Jiang’s loyalists in turn brought their own cronies up the ranks. Zhou Yongkang had in 2010 strongly recommended that current Xinjiang Party chief Zhang Chunxian replace the outgoing Wang Lequan, according to Deutsche Welle, an international broadcaster funded by the German government. Both Zhang and Wang are known cronies of Zhou, according to reports in Chinese overseas and dissident news media.
While Zhou Yongkang was purged and handed a life prison sentence in 2015, Zhang Chunxian remains at large in Xinjiangand openly bristles at Xi Jinping’s efforts to assert control.
Dozens of senior Party leaders have recently acknowledged Xi as the Party’s “core”a historically significant title used to laud Party paramount leaders like Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin (but not Jiang’s successor, Hu Jintao)—but Zhang instead curtly declined the opportunity to profess fealty during an official media session at an important annual Party conclave on March 8.
Four days before Zhang Chunxian’s show of recalcitrance, a mutinous letter signed by “loyal Party membersand addressed to Xi Jinping appeared on the website of the Xinjiang-based Wujie News.
Launched in 2015, Wujie was meant to promote Xi’s “belt and roadpolicy, a new economic initiative with countries in Eurasia. After the letter, which also criticized the very policy that Wujie was supposed to promote, was taken down, Wujie carried only articles from state mouthpieces People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency.
Given the brazen nature of the letter, many speculated that Wujie had been hacked. But inspectors from the Cyberspace Administration of China said they didn’t find any trace of cyber intrusion, and wondered how a website hosted by Alibaba, one of the most secure hosting services in China, could be hacked. The inspectors then suspected an “inside job,” according to Chinese overseas media Boxun.
The two men on top of the Wujie hierarchy, board chairman Li Wanhui and chairman Ouyang Hongliang, are directly linked with the Xinjiang Party elite.
Li Wanhui holds several portfolios, including chief editor at Tianshan Net, a news portal owned by the Xinjiang government, and heads the Internet Division at the Publicity Office of Xinjiang’s Propaganda Department. According to Mingjing News, a New York-based Chinese publication that trades in political gossip from Beijing, Li is a “close aideof Zhang Chunxian, the Xinjiang chief. And Ouyang Hongliang is known to be “quite well acquaintedwith Xinjiang higher ups, according to Deutsche Welle.
As of the end of March, Li and Ouyang number among the over 20 people who have been detained over the letter to Xi Jinping, according to Radio France Internationale.
It is of course impossible to prove that the letter was a plot by Xi’s political enemiesbut it is a possibility in the context of the lethal struggle for power in the Chinese Communist Party.
As put by Xiao Qiang, the founder of China Digital Times, a website that monitors Chinese propaganda and social media: “Bluff or true, this tone sounds more like coup plotters talking to the leader they want to depose, rather than an open letter with dissenting political views.
Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has destroyed the wealth and authority amassed through an unprecedented level of corruption by powerful political families around China, many of them tied in one way or another to the network that took root during the reign of Jiang Zemin and his lieutenants.
Anyone involved in such an enterprise risks exposing themselves to the retribution reserved for those guilty of treason against Party Central.
No official in China could be ignorant of the methods employed by the Party’s secret internal investigators as they force confessions from the accused. Zhou Wangyan, a former land bureau director, told the Associated Press in 2014 that interrogators had snapped his leg, deprived him of sleep, and forced him to eat feces. A year earlier there were reports of Party officials dying from torture in custody.
If Party officials linked with Jiang were indeed behind the letter, then they were clearly prepared to stake their health and career on stealing a march on Xi Jinping. And the gamble has somewhat paid off: The international community of China watchers has ignored the likely factional origins of this letter in rushing to take it as an example of how there is genuine grassroots anger towards Xi.
Xi Jinping’s opponents have much to gain by turning the tables. If Xi feels besieged, for instance, he might slow down or even forgo his efforts at gaining full political control through the anti-corruption campaign, thus allowing Party elders and their loyalists to maintain influence, protect their remaining interestsand eventually unseat Xi.
Before Xi took office in 2012, there was talk of Jiang’s lieutenants seeking to replace or even assassinate him. This was confirmed in a 2015 speech by Xi where he singled out the lieutenantsformer security czar Zhou Yongkang, the late General Xu Caihou, scheming former General Office director Ling Jihua, and the wily ex-Chongqing chief Bo Xilaias coup plotters who sought to “carry out political conspiracies to wreck and split the Party.
A key factor driving Jiang Zemin, and his loyalists’, resistance to Xi Jinping is the desire to not

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Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has made it clear recently that he will no longer tolerate personalities in the Party with their own agendas, or factions acting independently of his direction.
The requirements, which apply to cadres in the Politburo, were promulgated by a social media account that is closely tied to Xi Jinping. The “Learning From Xi Small Group,” or “xue xi xiao zu,” which published the edicts, is a public account on the popular social media software WeChat, and is run by a wing of the People’s Daily, the official communist mouthpiece. Since 2014 it has served to directly communicate Xi’s ideas and messages.
Ten behaviorsthe “Five Musts and Five Mustn’ts”were included in the expectations for the 25 Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee members to abide by.
Most of Xi’s commandments revolve around a need for Politburo members to obey and “uphold the authority of Party Central,” and not “run their own show.The regime’s most senior leaders are also forbidden from “carrying out any sort of factional activity,” and should see that their family members don’t “abuse their position to accrue illegal interests.
The last few months have seen a number of apparent challenges to Xi Jinping’s primacy in the Communist Party. These include two menacing open letters that demand his resignation, and the open refusal by two Party cadres with high-level backers to acknowledge Xi as a “coreleader.
While over a dozen senior Party leaders have publicly endorsed Xi Jinping’s unchallenged leadership over the Party, a Politburo member and a Politburo Standing Committee member have demurred. Each of them shares some tie to the group of officials who rose through the ranks and entrenched their power under the reign of Party elder Jiang Zemin, the leader until 2002 who has retained significant influence in the regime’s affairs. At a recent annual political conclave in March, they seemed to instead register their dissent at Xi Jinping’s efforts to consolidate control.
When asked at an official press session about his position on Xi as the “coreleader, a prestigious label reserved for Party paramounts, Zhang Chunxian, the Party chief of Xinjiang and current member of the Politburo, only told reporters, “talk later.Politburo Standing Committee member Yu Zhengsheng failed to mention two of four principles Xi has recently been promoting”recognition of the coreand “recognition of consensus”during his closing speech at the March conclave. In a regime where small gestures, slights, and publicly spoken words are deeply symbolic, Zhang and Yu’s behavior in March appeared irregular and even defiant.
Given that Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has targeted many supporters of Jiangformer security czar Zhou Yongkang, ex-military vice chair Xu Caihou, former General Office chief Ling Jihua, Chongqing boss Bo Xilai, and vice chair of the Party’s political consultative body Su Rongit is very possible that his recent demands were aimed at those like them who have not yet been purged. These officials were even directly accused by Xi of having “carried out political conspiracies to wreck and split the Party.
The recent message from Xi Jinping also comes on the heels of two open letters, claiming to have been written by loyal Communist Party members, that attack his rule and call on him to resign. Significantly, a number of pieces of circumstantial evidence suggest that the first of those letters was connected with loyalists of the former security czar, Zhou Yongkang.

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China Business Journal reported on April 12 that the trial of former CCTV host Rui Chenggang and related cases would open soon. This report was quickly removed after major media in the country picked up the news.
Citing an unidentified core member within Jilin Province’s judicial system, China Business Journal reported that the hearing of the 29 cases involving CCTV, including that of Rui, are near.
Бирок,, the original report cannot be found on China Business Journal’s website now, and the reproduced versions on other mainland media have all been removed as well. This “now-you-see-it, now-you-don’tphenomenon in the news sparked widespread discussion.
Prelude to Ling’s trial?
The fact that Rui, who was arrested in July 2014, has suddenly sprung into attention has caused speculation that this may be related to the case of Ling Jihua, former Vice Chairman of the National Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Recently, overseas Chinese media have released news of Ling on and off, claiming that his case would be open for trial in the near future. This led some analysts to speculate that the news about Rui’s case is a prelude to Ling’s trial.
When he was arrested, Rui was a relatively well-known host on the CCTV financial channel, but what really brought him into the limelight was his connection with Ling’s case.
Rui was arrested just when Ling, who was then Minister of the United Front Work Department, was in a precarious state. In September 2014, some online sources claimed that he was arrested for being a “foreign spywho disseminated dark secrets of Premier Xi Jinping.
Ling was arrested on Dec 22 that year, but it is believed that he had already handed over a large quantity of confidential material to his brother Ling Wancheng, who escaped to the United States. Rui was also said to have a “special relationshipwith Ling’s wife, Gu Liping.
In addition to Rui, another CCTV staff member, Guo Zhenxi, was arrested on May 31, 2014 under the charge that he was a crucial partner of the Youth Business Program (YBC) founded by Gu during Guo’s tenure as the director of CCTV’s financial channel.
Some analysts believe that Ling will be charged in the name of corruption as well, and the “corruption dramaof the CCTV management paves the way to his case.
Guo, who had always been regarded as a heavyweight in the government-controlled TV industry, worked in CCTV for 22 years. Earlier reports revealed that Guo, under the guise of his family and friends, set up umpteen companies under his charge, amassing assets worth at least 2 billion yuan over eight years as the director of CCTV’s financial channel.
According to Sina North America and other overseas Chinese media, after Guo was implicated by Rui and others, he revealed whatever information he had on Rui, including his collusion with Ling to form the “royal troops,” billion-yuan corruption, and intelligence service, all nailing his inevitable doom.
These reports quoted Zhongguo Mibao as stating that before the downfall of former Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, Rui frequently bragged about his relationship with Bo’s son Bo Guagua, who often attended overseas activities with him.
Additionally, Rui was a close buddy of Yu Gang, secretary of former security czar Zhou Yongkang; Li Tong, the daughter of former Politburo Standing Committee member Li Changchun; Liu Leshan, the son of Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan; Zeng Wei, son of former Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong; and others of the same camp.
Rui was also a debauched companion of Zeng Qinghuai, the brother of Zeng Qinghong, who controlled the CCTV Arts Channel from behind the scenes for over a decade.
In addition to the above personnel, several more CCTV management members were arrested in 2014, including the deputy director of the financial channel, Li Yong; the former director of the documentary channel, Liu Wen; and the former deputy director of the drama channel, Huang Haitao.
Some hostesses, whose identities were exposed by the media, were also summoned to assist in the investigation but were not detained.
On Dec 22, 2014, shortly after Ling was placed under investigation, CCTV financial channel producer Luo Fanghua, the wife of Gu Yuanxu. (Ling’s brother in-law), could not be contacted. According to Chongqing Morning Post, several staff members in the financial channel confirmed that the latter had been taken away by authorities.
Shortly afterward, Gu, who was then the deputy director of the Heilongjiang Province Public Security Department, was taken in for questioning.
Dark political secrets
According to China Business Journal, due to the unique position of the CCTV staff, many movie and TV stars were implicated in the series of cases. The investigation authorities summoned them for assistance while probing the case in Beijing, but most of them were not deeply involved.
The report categorically mentioned Li Dongsheng, the former deputy director of CCTV, claiming that the investigations focused mainly on his disciples. Also highlighted was his former position as the director of the “610 Office,” the organisation set up to persecute the spiritual practice Falun Gong.
Li, who fell from power in December 2013, was closely related to Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee and a member of former CCP leader Jiang Zemin’s faction. With no background in the public security system at all, Li was transferred to the Ministry of Public Security in 2009 to head the organization in charge of suppressing Falun Gong.
Li was favored by Zhou because he actively cooperated with the propaganda campaign to smear Falun Gong during his tenure in CCTV, while turning CCTV into a harem for high-ranking CCP officials. Female anchors of CCTV became his “tributesto them, including Zhou, whose wife, Jia Xiaoye, is also regarded as a part of Li’s “sexual briberyof his boss.
Ошол эле учурда, CCTV, which holds the power to speak on behalf of the CCP, has become a power wrestling field for the top echelon of the CCP. Zhou’s lackey Li continued to control CCTV’s power to speak through personnel promoted by him, even after he was transferred to the Ministry of Public Security.
Ling, who was tied to Zhou in the

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