The anti-corruption campaign of Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is entering its fourth year. Tens of thousands of CCP officials having been investigated, and several of those who formerly were some of the most powerful men in China having been purged and convicted. On Jan. 12, the first high-ranking official of 2016 was convicted and sentenced.
News reports in the West of the conviction of former Vice Minister of Public Security Li Dongsheng focused on the 15-year sentence he received for bribery. But the coverage of Li’s trial in China revealed much more, suggesting the current leadership regards the persecution of Falun Gong to be the work of the faction loyal to Jiang Zemin.
From the beginning, the charges against Li Dongsheng for corruption have been tied to his role in persecuting Falun Gong.
The charges for corruption against former Public Security Vice Minister Li Dongsheng have been tied to his role in persecuting Falun Gong.

In December 2013, when the official website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced the investigation of Li Dongsheng, it used three of 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, a.k.a. the 610 Office; and vice minister of Public Security.
That was the first time that Chinese authorities officially admitted the existence of the leading group and its 610 Office, which was established on June 10, 1999 by then Party leader Jiang Zemin to eliminate the spiritual practice of Falun Gong. The exposure of the name of that secret agency strongly suggested that Li Dongsheng’s real crime was somehow linked to it.
When Li Dongsheng was sentenced, the only title mentioned in the report by state news agency Xinhua was vice minister of Public Security, but on the same day the business magazine Caixin put Li’s crimes back in the context of his role in persecuting Falun Gong.
Li Dongsheng, former head of the secret police task force the 610 Office, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 14, 2007. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
‘Sharp Weapon’
Caixin has played a special role in China over the last three years. It regularly publishes news that seems to come straight from inside Zhongnanhai, the Party’s leadership compound. Given its scoops on the anti-corruption campaign, the magazine is widely assumed to have a close relationship with the head of that effort, Wang Qishan. Caixin is also rumored to be close to Party leader Xi Jinping.
Caixin magazine has played a special role in China over the last three years. … It is also rumored to be close to Party leader Xi Jinping.

Caixin’s article bore the headline, “Zhou Yongkang’s Trusted Aide, Former Vice Minister of Public Security Li Dongsheng Sentenced 15 Years in His First Trial.” In 2009, Li was promoted to head of the 610 Office and vice head of the leading group, as well as to the position of deputy minister of Public Security. One paragraph mentions Li’s two titles related to persecuting Falun Gong, and then states that Li was formally promoted to be a high ranking ministry level official and thus became “Zhou Yongkang’s sharp weapon” in October 2009.
The phrase ‘Zhou Yongkang’s sharp weapon’ is very interesting.

The phrase “Zhou Yongkang’s sharp weapon” is very interesting. No law authorizes the persecution Li carried out. Instead, it is the Party’s political campaign. When Li Dongsheng took the positions in the leading group and its 610 Office, he should have been considered the weapon of the Party, not of Zhou Yongkang.
When Jiang Zemin started the campaign against Falun Gong, he was the paramount leader of the Party and the Party as a whole joined the campaign. During that period, Jiang and the Party were the same. Whoever in the Party leadership that did not actively join the persecution was the exception, and thus only represented himself or herself, not the Party.
When Jiang Zemin partially retired in 2002 and fully retired in 2004, there were subtle changes in how the Party was run that weakened the authority of Party head, increased the autonomy of individual Party leaders, and gave Jiang Zemin continued influence over the direction of the Party. The number of Standing Committee members of the Politburo—the most powerful body in the Party—increased to nine. The additional members were loyal to Jiang, and, combined with those incumbent members who were also loyal to him, gave Jiang a preponderant influence.
Zhou Yongkang, formerly the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, sits in a courtroom at the First Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin in Tianjin, China, on June 11, 2015. Zhou was sentenced to life in prison. (CCTV via AP)
In addition to increasing the size of the Committee, Jiang decided that each member was only in charge of his own portfolio and nobody should have veto power over others. Luo Gan, and Zhou Yongkang, who replaced Luo in 2007, became the Standing Committee members charged with carrying out the persecution, and the new arrangements gave them a free hand.
The hidden message of the Caixin article referring to “Zhou Yongkang’s sharp weapon” is that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, the top two leaders at the time, were not responsible for the persecution.
In June 2015, Zhou Yongkang was sentenced to life in prison for three crimes: receiving bribes, abuse of power, and leaking state secrets. But these charges do not comprehend all of his crimes or even the worst of his crimes. His actual crimes may be divided into at least three parts: corruption, conspiracy against Xi Jinping (now alluded to in the official press as non-organizational political activities), and the persecution of Falun Gong and other religious groups.
Caixin’s article implies that Li Dongsheng’s corruption and persecution of Falun Gong were related to Zhou Yongkang. Does Caixin also imply Li was a weapon in Zhou’s conspiracy?
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