Brothers Wanqing Huang and Xiong Huang with their family in China. (Courtesy of Xiong Huang)Brothers Wanqing Huang and Xiong Huang with their family in China. (Courtesy of Xiong Huang)

Every time Huang Wanqing walks past a promotion of “Body the Exhibition” he may wonder if it’s the mutilated body of his brother staring at him from the posters.

Mr. Huang’s brother, Huang Xiong, was persecuted by communist authorities in China for his beliefs. He was held at a labor camp and monitored after release. In 2003, he disappeared in Shanghai. Huang believes his brother was kidnapped by the regime and likely died in custody.

Huang Xiong practiced Falun Gong, a traditional system of self-cultivation involving meditation exercises and based on principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. Falun Gong has been hugely popular in China during the 1990s and praised by authorities for its health benefits. By 1999, about 70-100 million practiced it, based on government estimates at the time.

Some in the regime’s leadership, however, especially the Communist Party head Jiang Zemin, treated Falun Gong’s rising popularity as an ideological threat to the party’s doctrines and in 1999 launched a statewide campaign of repression and propaganda against Falun Gong.

Human rights organizations have estimated millions have been imprisoned as part of the campaign and, conservatively, thousands have died, usually as a result of torture in detention.

More than a decade of investigations have also uncovered the regime has been killing detained Falun Gong practitioners, as well as other prisoners of conscience, and stealing their organs for a massive state-sanctioned transplant business.

“Body the Exhibition” displays actual, plastinated (silicone-preserved) human bodies. It caused controversy for lacking documentation of the source of the bodies and consents of the deceased or their relatives regarding their posthumous public display for profit.

Tom Zaller, chief executive officer of Imagine Exhibitions which is currently presenting the exhibition in Prague, told Nevada Public Radio that he worked with a doctor in China who gathers unidentified bodies to plastinate.

JVS Group, the company that invited the exhibition to Prague, thanks Zaller and a Chinese plastination company Dalian Hoffen Biotech in its promotional materials.

Dalien was a hub of the plastination industry. Bo Xilai, who was Dalien Party boss at the time and was later handed a life sentence for corruption, was involved in a scheme that supplied killed Falun Gong practitioners to transplant hospitals as well as plastination facilities, based on The Epoch Times investigation.

Many of the detained Falun Gong practitioners refused to provide their names to the authorities to protect their families from persecution. Huang’s brother was one of them. That allowed the regime to declare their bodies unidentified.

Xiong Huang was arrested in China for telling others about the persecution of Falun Gong. (Courtesy of Wanqing Huang)

Xiong Huang was arrested in China for telling others about the persecution of Falun Gong. (Courtesy of Wanqing Huang)

Huang, who lives in the U.S., has recently filed a criminal complaint against the exhibition in Prague, Czech Republic. He’s asking authorities to identify the bodies, such as by DNA tests, to determine if his brother’s body is or isn’t among them.

The exhibition has run into significant resistance in Czech, where law requires deceased human bodies to be treated with respect and properly buried.

Czech Ministry for Local Development has asked Prague officials to confiscate and bury the bodies on display, but police has refused to act on the request without a court order. Jan Čižinský, mayor of the Prague municipal district where the exhibition takes place, intends to take the matter to court.

“It is necessary to turn to court so it becomes clear, once and for all, that such unethical exhibitions can’t be in our country and that respect for the deceased isn’t just an empty phrase in an unenforced law,” Čižinský said.

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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, China.  (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, China.  (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 billion) 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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Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer. (Epoch Times)Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer. (Epoch Times)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently took out yet another key member of a rival political faction — one whose name, incidentally, somewhat resembles his own. The downfall of Xin Jiping (not to be confused with Xi Jinping) was so low key and swift that less discerning observers would easily miss both the event and its larger significance.

In April, the anti-corruption authorities in Shanghai issued a one-line statement concerning the investigation of Xin, formerly a senior executive at two private property developers.

Three months later, Chinese state mouthpiece Xinhua announced in a one paragraph and one line notice that Xin had been found guilty of taking bribes and defrauding the state. Xin’s case had also been transferred to the procuratorate to await formal prosecution. Missing from Xinhua’s notice, however, was the customary professional biography.

Xin being prosecuted is “very important news” because of his political allegiances, according to Shanghai-based human rights lawyer Zheng Enchong.

Xin was originally a senior official in the Shanghai municipal government before he joined the private sector, Zheng said. That Xin would eventually become assume top executive positions—Xin was vice president of Shanghai Real Estate Group and board chairman of Shanghai Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone Joint Development Co., Ltd.—showed that he was “from the very beginning a trusted crony of the Shanghai Gang.”

The Shanghai Gang refers to a notorious political clique helmed by former Chinese Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin. Zheng continues to suffer persecution from having tussled with the Shanghai Gang in the early 2000s while defending local residents.

“Xin Jiping once controlled land resources in Shanghai,” Zheng said. “That means Xin worked with Jiang Miankang, and can be considered Jiang’s lackey.”

Jiang Miankang, the younger son of Jiang Zemin, was once Inspector of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Construction and Administration, a vaguely-defined position that gave Jiang Miankang oversight of land use, demolition, zoning, as well as planning and construction in Shanghai—a highly lucrative portfolio.

The Jiangs, however, have been losing influence in recent years.

In December 2015, Jiang Miankang was dismissed from his Inspector post, and became principal of the Shanghai Urban And Rural Construction And Traffic Development Academy.

In early April, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that Jiang had quietly resigned from his latest post and is now in retirement. And Xin Jiping, Jiang’s associate, was officially investigated for corruption a few days after the Journal’s story.

Zheng Enchong believes that Xin being prosecuted shows “very clearly” that Jiang Miankang is in trouble, and that Xi Jinping is “moving step by step closer towards the Jiang faction.”

Jiang Zemin’s faction ran China during his rule (1989-2002) and then exerted outsize influence behind the scenes during that of former Chinese leader Hu Jintao (2003-2012). Many Jiang faction members became immensely wealthy through corruption, and were rewarded with promotions for their pursuit of Jiang’s favored political crusade, the persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline.

Shortly after taking office, Xi Jinping sought to dislodge Jiang’s faction and consolidate his control over the Chinese regime through an anti-corruption campaign. Although many elite faction members and their associates have been purged, the Jiang faction still appears to wield influence in key regime apparatuses like propaganda and domestic security. With the regime’s “deep state” being swayed by the Jiang faction, the Xi leadership has appeared to be erratic and inconstant in implementing reform-oriented policies.

Zheng Enchong the rights lawyer anticipates the arrest of Jiang Zemin’s two sons, Jiang Miankang and Jiang Mianheng. “Xi Jinping has stripped Jiang’s sons of their official posts, frozen their assets, and now appears to be discrediting them,” he said. “As for how to handle Jiang Zemin, Xi still needs to figure out a tactful and orderly solution.”

Zheng believes that the final take down of Jiang Zemin has already begun. According to Zheng, Hu Jintao had proposed during a high-level internal meeting in April that his and Jiang’s socio-political theories should be removed from the Chinese constitution.

“If that happens,” Zheng said, “then Jiang Zemin will effectively be dead inside the Chinese Communist Party.”

Rona Rui contributed to this article.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General
July 10, 2017

China in ContextChina in Context

Chairman Mao Zedong’s ruthless running of China might have come to a premature end if he had had a less capable right-hand man than Premier Zhou Enlai.

With Zhou around to help consolidate power, purge internal rivals, and play the suave diplomat, Mao stayed influential in the Chinese regime until his death in 1976, despite having overseen politically disastrous campaigns—including the Great Leap Forward, a mass collectivization program that killed tens of millions of Chinese, and the wrecking of China’s five-millennia-old traditions during the Cultural Revolution.

Like Mao, former Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin oversaw policies that, in the time to come, will almost certainly be condemned, such as fostering a culture of corruption and promoting kleptocracy among the Chinese officialdom and launching a brutal persecution campaign against the peaceful practitioners of Falun Gong. Jiang was fortunate to have found a most cunning consigliere in former Party vice-chairman Zeng Qinghong.

Zeng, 77, is Jiang’s longtime confidant, hatchetman, and spymaster. Jiang got to know Zeng in Shanghai, the Chinese metropolis that Jiang headed in the 1980s. Because Zeng was part of the Red aristocracy and had proven to be a very capable political enabler, Jiang decided he must keep Zeng close to him in Beijing when he was appointed as paramount leader by Deng Xiaoping. Jiang was chosen to succeed Zhao Ziyang, the liberal-leaning Party leader, in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

Jiang Zemin. (Minoru Iwasaki-Pool/Getty Images)

Jiang Zemin. (Minoru Iwasaki-Pool/Getty Images)

For nearly two decades, Zeng helped Jiang dispose of problematic political rivals and grow Jiang’s own political faction. Hong Kong became a Jiang bastion after Zeng became overseer of the semi-autonomous city in the early 2000s. Former Party elites like Politburo member Bo Xilai and security czar Zhou Yongkang were widely considered untouchable because of their association with the Jiang faction.

However, the attempted defection of Bo’s right-hand man, Wang Lijun, in 2012 marked the beginning of the end for Jiang’s faction. Given their propensity for malfeasance, members of the Jiang faction became natural targets of the internal police officers tasked with executing Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

Speculation that an investigation of Zeng Qinghong was imminent first surfaced in 2014, following the arrest of Zhou Yongkang. Hong Kong magazines started reporting stories of Zeng’s corruption, and Zeng’s senior associates got picked up by anti-corruption investigators.

The Xi leadership appears to be going full throttle for Zeng this year. Zeng’s cronies in the Chinese financial industry have gotten into trouble—think missing billionaire Xiao Jianhua, detained Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui, and purged deputy state asset regulator Zhang Xiwu. Other lesser cronies have been rounded up as well.

Because Zhou Enlai died eight months before Mao, he never had to worry about preserving his boss’s legacy. Zeng Qinghong, however, will almost certainly have to confess to assisting Jiang’s crimes and witness the crumbling of all that he helped Jiang to achieve.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

(Don Tse/China Decoding)(Don Tse/China Decoding)

Lin Shangli, a former deputy principal of the prestigious Fudan University in Shanghai, was recently promoted to Secretary-general of the Central Policy Research Office, according to a July 6 notice by the General Office of the State Council of China.

Lin, a former student of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s top adviser Wang Huning, seems set to play a prominent role in Xi’s new administration after the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress at the end of the year.

Wang Huning is the director of the Central Policy Research Office and a member of the Politburo. Wang served as top political theoretician to two former Communist Party secretary-generals—Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao—and reprises the role of “Zhongnanhai’s chief strategist” under Xi. To draw an imperfect analogy, what Wang Huning is to Xi Jinping is somewhat similar to what White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is to President Donald Trump.

Wang is widely tipped for a seat in the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, the top decision making body in the Chinese regime, at the 19th Congress.

The Central Policy Research Office is responsible for top-level analysis work and policy formulation. The Research Office, or “Zhongnanhai’s Think-tank,” also issues important documents, legislation, reports, and theoretical work.

New Research Office secretary-general Lin Shangli served as Fudan University’s vice-principal in April 2011. In March 2013, Lin concurrently held a professorship at Tongji University.  On May 24, 2016, an official notice indicated that Lin was stepping down as a standing committee member at Fudan University’s school committee; the official notice didn’t indicate if he was taking up a new post.

But Lin’s recent promotion and his serving on a new 27-member State Council committee that oversees educational material suggest that he is in fact being considered a valuable asset by the Xi Jinping administration.

China Decoding believes that Lin’s recent rise to prominence is due to him being the former student of Research Office director Wang Huning when they were both at Fudan University.

In the 1980s, Wang was a Fudan political science and international politics lecturer, and later international politics department head and law school dean. Meanwhile, Lin was doing his undergraduate and doctoral studies in Fudan’s political science and international politics faculty.

After graduation, Lin served on Fudan’s school committee. He later became director of the international politics department, as well as associate dean of Fudan’s School of International Relations and Public Affairs.

Going by their CVs, Lin and Wang almost certainly have a student-teacher relationship, and are also former colleagues. Thus, there is a distinct possibility that Wang was behind Lin’s promotion.

Wang himself appears to be one of Xi Jinping’s most important confidants. For instance, Wang is usually seen by Xi’s side during diplomatic trips. Chinese state-run media often feature photos of Xi with Wang on his right and General Office head Li Zhanshu on his left—a telling sign that Xi considers Wang and Li to be his closest administrators.

China Decoding has observed that Wang is helping Xi set the political direction for the post-19th Congress China—many of Wang’s political views appear to be paving the way for Xis new policies.  

If Wang Huning makes the Politburo Standing Committee at the 19th Congress, he will likely be put in charge of ideological and propaganda work.

There isn’t much information available about the Central Policy Research Office. The Research Office’s top management includes one director, three deputy directors, and one secretary.

The Research Office personnel has been reshuffled multiple times since Xi Jinping took office in 2012.

In 2013, Research Office executive deputy director He Yiting was transferred to the Central Party School to serve as executive vice-principal.

In 2014, Propaganda Department deputy minister Wang Xiaohui was appointed as a deputy director of the Research Office. This year, Wang was promoted to executive deputy director.

In June 2016, Research Office deputy director Jiang Jinquan was made team leader of a Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) team stationed in the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the world’s largest controlling company that oversees over a trillion dollars in assets.

In March 2017, Zhang Wei, the Research Office’s office manager, was promoted to Research Office deputy director.

In June 2017, Pan Shengzhou, the deputy director of the Central Reform Office and deputy director of the Central Political Affairs Department, was transferred to head the CCDI inspection team inside the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.  

In the final analysis, it seems very likely that Xi Jinping had preemptively promoted Lin Shangli to ensure that the Chinese regime’s think-tank continues to be headed by those he can trust after the 19th Congress. Should Wang Huning move up to the Politburo Standing Committee, he would leave vacant the position of Research Office director—and also the ideal successor.

Don Tse is a China expert with China Decoding, an analysis and research company.  

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Laborers renovate a roof of a residential lane house in Shanghai on Aug. 21, 2014. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)Laborers renovate a roof of a residential lane house in Shanghai on Aug. 21, 2014. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

When the economy started to cool in the beginning of 2016, China opened up the debt spigots again to stimulate the economy. After the failed initiative with the stock market in 2015, Chinese central planners chose residential real estate again.

And it worked. As mortgages made up 40.5 percent of new bank loans in 2016, house prices were rising at more than 10 percent year over year for most of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. Overall, they got so expensive that the average Chinese would have had to spend more than 160 times his annual income to purchase an average housing unit at the end of 2016.

Because housing uses a lot of human resources and raw material inputs, the economy also stabilized and has been doing rather well in 2017, according to both the official numbers and unofficial reports from organizations like the China Beige Book (CBB), which collects independent, on-the-ground data about the Chinese economy.

“China Beige Book’s new Q2 results show an economy that improved again, compared to both last quarter and a year ago, with retail and services each bouncing back from underwhelming Q1 performances,” states the most recent CBB report.

However, because Beijing’s central planners must walk a tightrope between stimulating the economy and exacerbating a financial bubble, they tightened housing regulations as well as lending in the beginning of 2017.

Has the Bubble Burst?

Research by TS Lombard now suggests the housing bubble may have burst for the second time after 2014.

“We expect the latest round of policy tightening in the property sector to drive down housing sales significantly over the next six months,” states the research firm, in its latest “China Watch” report.

One of the major reasons for the concern is increased regulation. Out of the 55 cities measured in the national property price index, 25 have increased regulation on housing purchases.

In Beijing, for example, some owners of residential real estate can no longer sell their apartments to private buyers—instead, they have to sell to businesses, because their apartment has been marked for business use by the authorities.

Other measures include higher down payments, price controls, and increasing the time until the unit can be sold again.

“First- and second-tier cities have enacted such draconian measures that it is nigh impossible to buy or sell a property,” states the report.

Credit Tightening

Although the central bank left its benchmark mortgage lending rate unchanged at 4.9 percent, banks have increased the rates they charge on mortgages to as high as 6 percent and, in some cases, have stopped giving out mortgages altogether because they have used up their quotas set by regulators.

The People’s Bank of China wants to lower the share of mortgage lending to 30 percent of new loans, which should influence new demand for housing.

“Unlike 10 years ago, when most Chinese households made a 50 to 70 percent down payment to buy a new apartment, more than 80 percent of borrowers in the past two years have put down 30 percent or less. With reduced mortgage funding availability, we believe it is unlikely that households will be able to finance their purchase through savings,” states the TS Lombard report.

So far, the slow down in larger cities has been offset by more activity in smaller cities, which haven’t implemented as many tightening measures.

“Overall revenues and profits plunged in Tier 1 cities, with the slowdown concentrated primarily in the Beijing and Shanghai regions. Hiring stagnated, while cash flow worsened across the board,” the China Beige Book says.

However, TS Lombard expects smaller cities to follow the bigger cities with more restrictive measures for property buying, which will ultimately lead to a decline in housing transactions, if not prices outright.

“Property sales will decelerate notably in [the second half of 2017], with the monthly number of new residential housing transactions set to drop by 10 percent year-on-year, compared with a year-on-year rise of 8.3 percent in May.”

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/valentin-schmid/" rel="author">Valentin Schmid</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

15220086_587481194786303_6011597163027712910_n-115220086_587481194786303_6011597163027712910_n-1

WASHINGTON—The evidence of forced organ harvesting of large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners in China continues to mount.

Last year, two reports were published that broadened our picture of the scale and method of this atrocity. “Bloody Harvest/ The Slaughter—An Update” by investigators David Matas, David Kilgour, and Ethan Gutmann was released on June 22 in Washington, D.C. This report shows detailed evidence of the massive number of organ transplants taking place in Chinese hospitals. It analyzed hospital revenue, bed counts and utilization rates, surgical personnel and other data and reached the conclusion that China is performing 60,000 to 100,000 transplants per year, far exceeding the Chinese government’s claim of 10,000 per year.

The other report, “Summary Report of the Crime of Live Organ Harvesting in China,” by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), was published in August. It provides extensive evidence that the organ harvesting is orchestrated from the top levels of the Chinese government and is not a crime of just some rogue hospitals and unethical surgeons. The WOIPFG report claims that organ harvesting is a state sanctioned crime on a massive scale that is going on at this moment, with the aim to kill practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline, who will not renounce their faith.

Now comes WOIPFG’s second major documentary film, “Harvested Alive – Ten Years of Investigation,” which samples the key findings of their report from last year.

Hearing actual audio of high-level Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, surgeons and hospital personnel speak nonchalantly of their role in the forced organ harvesting of innocent prisoners of conscience provides a horrifying perception that the printed page of the WOIPFG report cannot come close in emotional impact. 

Mr. Li Jun (r), director and producer, Awards-Winning Documentary,

Mr. Li Jun (r), director and producer, Awards-Winning Documentary, “Harvested Alive, 10 Years of Investigation,” answers questions after the English premiere of the documentary, June 23, at a Congressional building in Washington, D.C. To his right is Dr. Peng Tao, who is the co-producer of the awards-winning film. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

The film won the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards best director and foreign documentary feature for January 2017.

WOIPFG was founded on Jan. 20, 2003. Its stated mission is to investigate and expose the criminal conduct of individuals and organizations involved in the persecution of Falun Gong. Seeking hard data to make its case, WOIPFG investigated more than 865 hospitals and over 9500 surgeons in China.

The English language premiere of the film was held on Capitol Hill at the House of Representatives’ Rayburn Office Building, on June 23. Producer and director Li Jun, co-producer Dr. Peng Tao, and Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, who narrates the film, were present at the showing and answered questions from the audience. WOIPFG officials and Ethan Gutmann, one of the principle investigators of live organ harvesting in China, also spoke before the screening.

Shortly before the U.S. premiere, the film became available for viewing online. This film and the original Chinese language version were produced by Deerpark Productions, with the latter released in Nov. 2016.

Hospital Boiler Room ‘Cremations’

The host of the film is Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, whose words are translated. Dr. Wang spent 30 years as an aviation military doctor in China and then came to the U.S. in 1995 to conduct research in cardiovascular disease at Harvard School of Public Health. He was the founder of WOIPFG, and is its president. In the movie, he says that after practicing medicine and saving lives for 30 years, he never imagined he would devote the next 10 years investigating doctors taking the lives of innocent people.

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, founder and president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), speaks at a forum held in a Congressional building in Washington, D.C., on forced organ harvesting in China, June 23. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

Dr. Wang Zhiyuan, founder and president of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG), speaks at a forum held in a Congressional building in Washington, D.C., on forced organ harvesting in China, June 23. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)

In the film, Wang said his life changed forever on March 9, 2006, when he heard allegations of large-scale organ harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners while they were alive in the Sujiatun Thrombosis Hospital in Shenyang. A woman using the alias “Annie” claimed her ex-husband, an eye surgeon driven by guilt, confessed to her that he had extracted corneas from more than 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners. 

Wang, who was skeptical, said that he and his WOIPFG colleagues decided they must investigate further. They were looking for evidence, but the doctors and nurses at the Sujiatun hospital were no help. Then Wang called the hospital boiler room and learned that corpses were being burned there. From his own experience, he thought that was most unusual as deceased patients are normally moved to the hospital morgue and sent to a funeral home for cremation.

Wang thought that [burning corpses in the hospital boiler room] was most unusual as normally the deceased patients are moved to the hospital morgue and sent to a funeral home for cremation.

Wang found this matter disturbing and so based on it and the other allegations at Sujiatun, he and his WOIPFG colleagues began a preliminary investigation. WOIPFG investigators in 2006-2007 called 23 hospitals in China asking if there were liver organs available from Falun Gong practitioners. In the movie, we hear a recording on Mar. 6, 2006 of a doctor from Shanghai Fudan University, Zhongshan Hospital Transplant Center, reply, “All we have is of this type.”

High Level CCP Officials Know

WOIPFG investigators, posing as working out of other CCP offices, elicited several statements via telephone from high level officials, who unbeknownst to whom they were really talking to, acknowledged and confirmed their involvement in organ harvesting. Here are some examples from the documentary.

Tang Junie, Vice Chairman, Liaoning Province Political & Legal Affairs Commission, was asked about orders to take organs from Falun Gong practitioners for transplant surgeries. He said, “I was in charge of this. The [CCP] Central Committee was actually managing this issue, and it had widespread impact.” Tang also said the matter was discussed at Central Committee meetings.

Li Changchun, Politburo Standing Member, was asked about Bo Xilai, who, a week before, had come under investigation by the CCP Discipline Committee. When the caller (WOIPFG investigator) asked on April 17, 2012 about Bo’s involvement in the crime of harvesting organs from Falun Gong practitioners, Li answered immediately, “Zhou Yongkang is in charge of this; he knows; go ask him.”

Zhou Yongkang was at the time a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the most important decision making body in the Chinese regime. As domestic security czar, Zhou wielded enormous power in general, and specifically over the Falun Gong detainees in concentration camps. He was later sentenced in June 2015 to life imprisonment on corruption-related changes.

When active on the Standing Committee, Zhou was once asked by investigators about the more than 20 Falun Gong practitioners who had escaped a military post (i.e., concentration camp). He was not in denial or surprised, and said he would investigate himself, according to WOIPFG’s Director for Public Awareness Dr. Charles Lee, who spoke at the Capitol forum.

WOIPFG investigators played a careful ruse on serving Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli to get him to unwittingly acknowledge Jiang Zemin’s principle role in the organ harvesting of millions of live Falun Gong practitioners. Jiang, the former CCP boss, launched the persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, and coerced the other members of the Politburo to go along with his wishes.

WOIPFG knew when Zhang would be out of the country in Kazakhstan. After Zhang arrived and checked into the hotel, WOIPFG investigator called him, posing as “Secretary Liu,” who works at Jiang Zemin’s office. The investigator told Zhang that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners had lodged criminal complaints against Jiang at the Supreme People’s Procuratorate for harvesting the organs of millions of Falun Gong practitioners, and that the subject will be brought up at the next Politburo meeting. In the recording, he asked Zhang if he could stop it from discussion and investigation. We hear Zhang’s voice reply, “Yes! Yes!”

The WOIPFG investigator repeats four times that Jiang had ordered the organ harvesting of millions of live Falun Gong practitioners and that the responsibility was very serious. Without any reservation or disagreement, Zhang promised he would prevent the investigation and told the caller to tell Jiang not to worry. He ended the call wishing Jiang a long life and good health.

All phone recordings are tagged with receipts from the telephone companies with the time, duration and phone numbers called. The voices of the high-level officials in the recordings can be compared to their voices available online and elsewhere and verified by acoustic labs, states WOIPFG.

Altogether, WOIPFG holds the recordings as evidence that organ pillaging in China is a crime that is directed by the CCP and carried out by the military, state institutions, hospitals, and transplantation professionals.

The above is only a sampling of the recordings pertaining to high-level officials’ knowledge and influence in a massive state sanctioned crime in the murder of thousands of practitioners since 2000. There is more evidence in the documentary on other aspects of the crime.

Police Guard Comes Forward

One recorded interview is especially chilling and shocking. It was from the only actual witness of the gruesome surgery in the film. At a military hospital in Shenyang, an armed security guard from Liaoning Province witnessed the killing of practitioners for their organs in 2002.

What the security guard described was “too vividly horrible,” said WOIPFG president Wang Zhiyuan, and said he suffered from insomnia and depression after hearing the testimony. In 2009, the security guard’s conscience bothered him and so he contacted WOIPFG with which he had been in contact for over a month. The security guard recalled witnessing two military doctors extracting the heart, liver, cornea, and the brain (“sucked the brain pulp out”) from a still-living female Falun Gong practitioner without the use of anesthetic.

He witnessed two doctors extracting the heart, liver, cornea, and the brain from a female Falun Gong practitioner without the use of anesthetic.

“When the knife touched her chest, she shouted, ‘Falun Dafa hao,’” which means Falun Dafa is good. The heart was carved out first. She had been tortured with electric batons for a week, he said. Wang concluded that this was not normal surgery but instead was “a continuation of torturing of Falun Gong practitioners.”

Why Premiere at the U.S. Capital

Li Jun, the director and producer of “Harvested Alive,” said after the screening that they consciously chose the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Congress to hold the English premiere. Speaking through a translator he said, “It is very apparent that this crime [of pillaging organs from Falun Gong practitioners on a massive scale] is state-sanctioned by the CCP. We want the U.S. government as the world leader, to do something about it.”

Dr. Peng Tao, the co-producer of “Harvested Alive,” hopes the film will enable everyone to “understand the crimes the CCP has committed and we have to stop it.”

Dr. Wang expressed frustration that the world does not pay much attention to what is going on in China. “It’s a shame to the human race. That’s why I wanted to tell the U.S. government and the entire world, we should really work to stop this.”

If even half of the claims made by your documentary are true, we must call organ trafficking in China truly barbaric and a crime against humanity.

— Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), letter, June 23, 2017

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chair of the Congressional Executive Commission of China (CECC), wrote a letter to be read at the premiere screening of “Harvested Alive.” Observing that he held a hearing on this issue in 1998, Rep. Smith said that trafficking organs for profit has been happening in China for two decades and that the evidence in the documentary shows that not much has changed.

“If even half of the claims made by your documentary are true, we must call organ trafficking in China truly barbaric and a crime against humanity.”

Rep. Smith continued, “We need a concerted effort to stop this barbaric practice—in China and globally.”

Dr. Wang said that in this month of June, a hospital in Jilin Province is giving away free liver transplants to 10 children. (He noted that on April 28, 2006, a hospital in Hunan Province, where the persecution of Falun Gong had been particularly severe, ran a promotion announcing 20 free liver or kidney transplants.) Wang said the hospital’s “give away” could only mean an abundance of organs and a very large pool of practitioners available to be harvested and killed.

In the U.S. which has a much more mature system of organ donation, the wait time for a liver organ is two to three years. In China, however, the wait time is one to two weeks.

When asked by The Epoch Times what is behind the free organs, Wang said, “I think [the CCP] very likely wants to eliminate all the Falun Gong practitioners who still remain in the concentration camps as soon as possible.”

Data Tipping Point

Ethan Gutmann said regarding the past year, 2016-2017, that the two reports alluded to at the beginning of this article were significant for the power of raw data and have brought on a “global tipping point” in the acceptance of live organ harvesting. Referring to the emergency liver transplants discussed in the film, he said, “There is a stable of people ready to be killed.” There is no question there is live organ harvesting going on, he said.

Ethan Gutmann, investigative writer and author of

Ethan Gutmann, investigative writer and author of “The Slaughter (1914) and its 2016 updates, participates in a forum on forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience. Event took place on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., June 23. (Leo Shi/ Epoch Times)

Gutmann, who is also the author of the 2014 book “The Slaughter,” noted that both reports had received rigorous scrutiny by researchers at the CECC. After devoting two months checking over the sources, the CECC researchers authenticated the documents, which Gutmann said was a testament to their validity.

Forced organ harvesting in China has gained widespread acceptance in the past year, Gutmann said. The human rights organizations Freedom House and Amnesty International report on it now, and even the New York Times, which had ignored the issue for over a decade, is now reporting on it, he added. 

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Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer. (Epoch Times)Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer. (Epoch Times)

Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer, has been under house arrest for over a decade. Local security forces have frequently harassed and abused him during his confinement.

But early last year, Zheng, 67, found the restrictions gradually relaxed after he revealed sensitive information about various top members of a powerful Shanghai political clique to The Epoch Times.

In July 2016, the Shanghai authorities tried to buy Zheng’s silence by sending him and his wife on a staycation at a luxury villa. The security detail assigned to the Zhengs was reduced, their curfew was removed, and the police stopped tailing the Zhengs wherever they went. On Christmas day, security agents allowed Zheng, a Christian, to attend church services and other Christmas festivities.

This June, however, the Shanghai authorities reverted to repression.

In the morning of June 2, Chinese internal security agents Shi Jinrong and Zhang Xiaomin barged into Zheng’s apartment and warned him against giving interviews, supposedly because the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre (June 4) was coming up.

The agents’ behavior is to be expected. Every year, Chinese security forces go on heightened alert around so-called “sensitive dates,” or dates that the Chinese Communist Party considers to be politically sensitive. Security personnel even proactively seek out and suppress activists, dissidents, or persons of faith connected with the events that occurred on those dates.

Zheng told agents Shi and Zhang that he couldn’t make any promises to stay silent after June 11, the day close to a “sensitive date” for practitioners of Falun Gong. On June 10, 1999, the Chinese regime established the “610 Office,” an extralegal, Gestapo-like agency that coordinates the persecution of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline. Former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin officially launched the persecution on July 20.

Jiang also heads the “Shanghai Gang,” a clique of influential officials who were responsible for Zheng Enchong’s house arrest. Zheng told the internal security agents that he feels obliged to speak out about the misdeeds of the Shanghai Gang given that one prominent clique member, Chen Xu the former Shanghai chief public prosecutor, recently became the subject of an official corruption investigation.

Agents Shi and Zhang soon left Zheng’s apartment.

Around 6 in the morning of June 11, Zheng was ambushed by four police officers while taking out the trash on the ground floor of his apartment building. The officers, who were part of the security detail guarding Zheng, beat him with a steel radiator, leaving him with a bloody head injury and swelling in the left side of his face.

Zheng believes that he was assaulted “because I exposed Chen Xu” the ex-chief public prosecutor and Shanghai Gang acolyte, and not because of “sensitive dates.”

Zheng said that people whom he knew weren’t interested in politics were coming up to him in the streets to talk about his exposing Chen’s corrupt activities and political allegiance. Local residents, as it turns out, had been widely circulating Zheng’s recent interviews with The Epoch Times on the popular Chinese social media platform WeChat.

Zheng believes that the circulating of The Epoch Times articles in Shanghai is a good omen for the future—this newspaper is banned in China, and Chinese citizens could run afoul of the authorities if they are caught reading a publication that frankly addresses human rights abuses by Communist Party agents.

“That people dare to breakthrough the Chinese regime’s control and circulate my interviews with The Epoch Times shows that the authorities no longer have the situation under control,” Zheng said.

After the beating, Zheng decided to hide out at a friend’s home. But he soon ran into a Kafkaesque situation.

On June 16, the Shanghai police summoned Zheng for a chat, and announced that the four police officers who assaulted Zheng were going to be “transferred away.” Also, the Shanghai authorities decided to house Zheng and his wife in a two-bedroom suite in a big hotel for their “safety.” But on arrival at the hotel, Zheng found that the four police officers had been assigned there to guard him.

“The fact that you’re made to live here implies that we who beat you are not really going to be transferred anywhere,” Zheng recalled one of the police officers telling him.

Yi Ru contributed to this article.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Chairman of China's Wanda Group Wang Jianlin delivers a speech during the Signing Ceremony for the Strategic Partnership between Wanda Group and The Abbott World Marathon Majors in Beijing on April 26       (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)Chairman of China's Wanda Group Wang Jianlin delivers a speech during the Signing Ceremony for the Strategic Partnership between Wanda Group and The Abbott World Marathon Majors in Beijing on April 26       (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s biggest foreign asset purchasers, including Wang Jianlin’s Wanda Group, are in the crosshairs of Chinese regulator amidst a Xi Jinping-led effort to root out corruption, reduce money laundering, and curb excessive risk-taking within China’s financial sector.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) last week asked state-controlled banks to assess their credit exposure to several Chinese companies involved in overseas acquisitions, according to Caixin, a respected mainland Chinese business magazine. A few banks reduced their holdings of bonds related to these companies.

Companies targeted by the regulator include Anbang Insurance Group Co., Dalian Wanda Group, HNA Group, Fosun International, and a unit of Zhejiang Luosen which acquired Italy’s AC Milan soccer team in April. The action caused a dramatic selloff of the stocks and bonds of the affected companies last week.

While results of this particular regulatory action are yet to be concluded, CBRC’s scrutiny of China’s biggest overseas acquirers is the latest in a string of crackdowns within the financial sector. Sources close to Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s central headquarters, told The Epoch Times earlier this year that the Xi leadership is focusing on tackling corruption in the Chinese financial industry in 2017.

In February, Xiao Jianhua, influential billionaire investor and founder of Tomorrow Group, was brought from Hong Kong to Beijing for official questioning. In April, the former head of China Insurance Regulatory Commission Xiang Junbo was placed under investigation. Earlier this month, Wu Xiaohui, chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, was detained by authorities in Beijing.

Voracious Acquirers

Anbang, Wanda, HNA, and Fosun are some of the most active and aggressive bidders for overseas assets.

Together, these four companies bought $56 billion in foreign companies over the past five years, according to analysis from the Financial Times. The massive capital flight as a result has contributed to devaluation of the Chinese currency—already pressured by a slowing Chinese economy—while increasing the balance sheets of overleveraged Chinese banks.

All four companies have something in common—they’re all privately owned.

Wang Jianlin, founder and chairman of real estate and entertainment conglomerate Wanda and one of China’s richest individuals, has bought Hollywood production studio Legendary Entertainment Group, cinema chain AMC Entertainment, and luxury hotels and residential developments across the UK, Australia, and United States. Wanda has extensive connections and influence in Hollywood and is a main conduit of China’s soft power projection.

Shanghai-based Fosun, whose co-owner Guo Guangchang models himself after investor Warren Buffett, owns Canadian entertainment group Cirque du Soleil, French vacation resort company Club Med, British hospitality firm Thomas Cook Group, and apparel and jewelry labels St John and Folli Follie.

Billionaire Chen Feng built HNA Group from a regional airline in the resort island of Hainan into one of the world’s most acquisitive conglomerates during the last few years. HNA has holdings across the aviation, tourism, logistics industries, and owns California-based technology distributor Ingram Micro Inc. HNA has large stakes in Hilton Hotels, cargo handler Swissport, and is also the biggest single shareholder (with 9.9 percent ownership) in Deutsche Bank AG, the German international banking giant.

Anbang Insurance, whose chairman Wu Xiaohui was detained by authorities earlier this month, owns the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, and has several high-profile real estate holdings across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Opaque Ownership Structures and Capital Sources

All four companies have something in common—they’re all privately owned.

And some of the companies have complex and opaque ownership structures, as well as highly leveraged capital sources.

HNA’s ownership structure is a complex web of investment trusts, provincial and local government agencies, and small business ventures. Thirteen individuals ultimately control 76 percent of the company through intermediary companies. Chen Feng, the public face of the company, controls 15 percent of HNA and has connections with former presidential candidate Jeb Bush and American investor George Soros. HNA’s biggest owner, Guan Jun (with a 29 percent stake), doesn’t work for the company and is a relative unknown. Listed addresses for Guan through various public filings and records include a side street beauty salon in western Beijing, a shabby Beijing office building, and a nondescript apartment building in southwest Beijing, according to the Financial Times.

HNA is also highly indebted. At the end of 2014, HNA had a combined debt of 196.9 billion yuan ($29.5 billion) on its balance sheet, compared to only 73.2 billion yuan ($10.9 billion) of equity, according to prospectuses filed with the Irish securities regulators in connection with a 2015 $1 billion bond offering of one of its subsidiaries.

Anbang Insurance’s funds come from sales of controversial high-yield products called universal life policies, or risky wealth management products which combine bonds and life insurance policies. These products differ from typical annuities as they promise very high returns to investors, something typical insurance companies cannot justify given the conservative nature of their asset holdings. Sales of such products have been recently banned by the Chinese insurance regulator.

Anbang’s capital base suddenly swelled in 2014, with a number of mysterious investors injecting a total of 50 billion yuan into the company. Research by Caixin found that some of Anbang’s 39 investors are obscure outfits such as auto dealerships, real estate firms, and mine operators that sometimes use shared mailing addresses, many of which are connected to Wu. There’s also a trend of major state-level investors scaling back their ownership, with SAIC Motor and Sinopec decreasing their ownership levels from 20 percent each to 1.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Intersection of Business and Politics

Business and politics in the Chinese regime have always been closely intertwined. And Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui’s detention earlier this month appears to be partially politically motivated.

A source close to high-level discussions in Zhongnanhai told The Epoch Times that Wu has close ties to the family of Zeng Qinghong, the former Chinese vice chairman and right-hand man of former Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin. 

Jiang headed the CCP for more than a dozen years (1989–2002) and continued holding sway over the Chinese regime through a network of cronies for another 10 years (2002–2012). Since entering office in 2012, Xi has sought to uproot the influence of Jiang and his faction, who oppose Xi, and consolidate his control over the Chinese regime. 

The source said that Wu used financial transactions to funnel and launder funds abroad on behalf of the Jiang faction, while at the same time using his role as a business tycoon to spy on and influence foreign dignitaries.

Whether last week’s inquiry into China’s other major overseas asset acquirers is connected to the reining in of powerful Chinese financiers ahead of a CCP’s 19th National Congress, a key political conclave to be held at the end of the year, is still unclear. For now, major Chinese state-controlled banks have declared no intention of ending relationships with or cutting credit to these companies.

Nonetheless, investors were rattled by the regulatory announcement.

HNA Holding Group stock fell 6 percent, while shares of Fosun International Ltd. fell almost 10 percent in Hong Kong on June 22. On the same day, Fosun Pharmaceutical, listed in Shanghai, fell around 8 percent, while the Shenzhen-listed Wanda Film dropped as much as 9.9 per cent in the morning and had to be temporarily halted from trading.

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FBI LogoFBI Logo

As United States and China held a joint diplomatic and security dialogue on June 21, a U.S. government contractor and a former federal officer entrusted with access to top secret information was arrested on June 22 and charged with espionage for China, according to federal prosecutors.

Kevin Patrick Mallory, of Leesburg, Virginia is facing charges of espionage for the People’s Republic of China after he transmitted classified documents to individuals suspected to be Chinese intelligence agents.

According to Department of Justice release, Kevin Mallory, a 60-year-old self-employed consultant with “GlobalEx LLC.” had previously served in a variety of U.S. federal government positions including the U.S. Army and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service. Some media also reported that Mallory had worked for the CIA, citing unnamed government officials.

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Mallory traveled to Shanghai, China in March and April 2017, where he met an individual who claimed to be working for a Chinese think tank, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). The FBI has identified SASS as one of the organizations that provide cover identities for Chines intelligence agents employed by the Communist regime’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).

Department of Justice accused Mallory of leaking classified documents containing top secret and secret information to MSS agents in exchange for money. In total, Mallory was paid $25,000USD by the MSS intelligence agents to “reimburse” for his services to the Chinese.

“Your object is to gain information, and my object is to be paid for it,” Mallory wrote to the Chinese agents, to which one of them replied, “My current objective is to ensure your security and try to reimburse you.” According to FBI criminal complaint.

Mallory is charged with gathering or delivering defense information to aid a foreign government, and making materially false statements to U.S. federal investigators. If convicted, Mallory faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“The conduct alleged in this complaint is serious, and these charges should send a message to anyone who would consider violating the public’s trust and compromising our national security by disclosing classified information,” said Dana Boente, the acting assistant attorney general for national security and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

China is known for its clandestine activities which widely target U.S. government officials, workers, and even students who might compromise valuable information. In another high profile case two months ago, Candace Marie Claiborne, a senior State Department diplomatic officer was also arrested and charged with espionage for China. Similar to Kevin Mallory’s letter to the Chinese agents, Claiborne wrote in her journal that she could “generate 20K in 1 year” by betraying classified information from her work to the Chinese intelligence agents.

Claiborne might have betrayed information concerning the world renowned Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen in 2012, according to the FBI investigation. It is speculated that such a leak might have misinformed U.S. diplomats in their negotiations with the Chinese government regarding Chen’s case.

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In total, Bai spent nearly 14 years in some form of detention before she passed away on June 15. (Minghui.org)In total, Bai spent nearly 14 years in some form of detention before she passed away on June 15. (Minghui.org)

Bai Gendi, a Chinese citizen who endured multiple and lengthy stints in detention for refusing to give up her faith, vomited and suffered severe headaches after consuming prison food last year.

As the months passed Bai became increasingly delusional, and she had to be frequently checked into a hospital as her health deteriorated. On June 15, Bai passed away at the age of 65.

Formerly a mid-level manager at a state-owned petroleum company, Bai was a healthy middle-aged woman living in Shanghai when she was first arrested in July 1999 for practicing Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline espousing the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The practice spread widely in China in the 1990’s, reaching an estimated 70 to 100 million adherents by the end of the decade, according to state and practitioner estimates.

Feeling threatened by Falun Gong’s popularity, then Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide persecution in July 1999 to eradicate the practice and force adherents to renounce their beliefs.

Over the next two decades, Bai Gendi would be arrested five more times for her faith. In total, Bai would spend nearly 14 years in some form of detention, according to Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for firsthand information about the persecution.

During a stint in a forced labor camp in Shanghai, Bai was frequently starved and forced to work 18-hour days. Once, she was handcuffed to the ceiling until she fainted from the pain. The labor camp authorities refused to allow Bai’s family to visit her, and they confiscated letters and other items her family sent.

Bai was most recently arrested on Sept. 10, 2012. After a show trial, the Xuhui District Court in Shanghai sentenced her to six-and-a-half years in prison. Bai was often locked up in an isolated soundproof room and forced to listen to loud propaganda attacking Falun Gong around the clock. Inmates who were assigned to monitor Bai often beat and abused her if she disobeyed orders.

Bai was still in relatively good health when her family visited her in prison in March 2016. But within a year, she was mentally and physically incapacitated.

Bai Gendi in the hospital in late August. (Minghui.org)

On Aug. 24, 2016, Bai hospitalized in an intensive care unit after sustaining a bleeding wound on the side of her head. Prison authorities claimed that Bai had hurt herself after falling from a chair.

Over the next few months, Bai suffered excruciating headaches and fainting spells on a regular basis, and had to be frequently checked into a hospital.

When Bai met her family in September, she said that her prison rations had been laced with unknown drugs that induced vomiting, according to Minghui.org. Bai said that she had arrived at this conclusion after her vomiting stopped when she consumed the communal rice and vegetable soup but not the rations assigned only to her. At this point, she was still lucid.  

By the end of September, however, Bai had become delusional and unresponsive. At times, she mistook her family members for prison guards, and accused them of poisoning her food.

In the months before her death, Bai slipped in and out of consciousness, frequently spoke unintelligibly, and sometimes failed to recognize her family members.

By early June 2017, Bai Gendi’s limbs had atrophied, and she suffered breathing difficulties until her death. Despite her incapacitated state, Bai was still being monitored at the hospital by security officials.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/irene-luo/" rel="author">Irene Luo</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

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, in 2013, Cai became a deputy to the provincial number two.

In the past four years, however, 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 and 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, Chongqing, 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, Chongqing, Guangdong, Xinjiang, and Shanghai, long the base of operations of Jiang Zemin.

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The Shanghai Bund on March 14, 2016. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)The Shanghai Bund on March 14, 2016. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Shanghai Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC) officials belonging to the cohort of ex-Shanghai chief prosecutor Chen Xu are “all rotten,” said Zheng Enchong. “There isn’t a single decent soul in the PLAC.”

Speaking to The Epoch Times after Chen’s expulsion from the Party for corruption on May 25, Zheng revealed details of Chen’s malfeasance, and added that Chen’s downfall will likely implicate Chen’s superiors and former PLAC elites Liu Yungeng and Wu Zhiming.

Zheng, a 66-year-old human rights lawyer based in Shanghai, has first hand experience of the sort of injustices doled out by the Shanghai PLAC, a Communist Party apparatus that oversees the courts, the prisons, and the police.

Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer. (Epoch Times)

Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer. (Epoch Times)

In 2003, Zheng was sentenced to three years in jail for defending local families who were disenfranchised by members of the “Shanghai Gang,” a power political clique headed by former Party boss Jiang Zemin. Upon his release, Zheng was immediately placed under house arrest, and has remained confined ever since. Chinese security officers would occasionally whisk Zheng away to detention facilities and brutally torture him.  

Zheng, however, has seen a relaxation in his confinement in recent years with the purge of Shanghai officials under Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

Zheng Enchong noted that the purged ex-Shanghai prosecutor Chen Xu continued to run private casinos and entertainment facilities despite Xi placing greater emphasis on Party discipline shortly after coming to office in 2012.

Chen, Zheng said, even would play a leading role in shielding the many Shanghai security officials who frequent prostitutes. Chen also used his position to block the investigation into senior Shanghai elites.

Former Shanghai People's Procuratorate chief Chen Xu. (People's Daily)

Former Shanghai People’s Procuratorate chief Chen Xu. (People’s Daily)

Zheng believes that Chen’s investigation and removal affords Xi an opening to bag even more prominent members of the Shanghai Gang.

“Great job arresting Chen Xu,” Zheng Enchong said. “Now Liu Yungeng must be taken down.”

Liu Yungeng was once Chen’s former overall in charge, having occupied the position of PLAC chief from 2000 to 2002 before his promotion to deputy Party secretary of Shanghai. Zheng said that Liu’s swift career progression was due to his gaining the confidence of top Shanghai Gang elites, such as former vice premier Huang Ju and Jiang Zemin, through his brutal handling of local petitioners and Falun Gong practitioners.

“Liu Yungeng oversaw all the cruel torture taking place in Shanghai,” Zheng said. “Many people have died; Liu was entirely responsible for live organ harvesting and other wicked acts.”

Practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual practice that is the target of a brutal persecution campaign launched by Jiang in July 1999, form the largest group of prisoners of conscience in China today. Many practitioners suffer brutal abuse and torture in detention, and are also most at risk of being killed by the Chinese regime for their organs.

“The people of Shanghai are extremely furious with Liu Yungeng … so many Falun Gong practitioners have died at his hands,” Zheng said. “Shanghai residence won’t be appeased if Liu, the dark political backer of Chen Xu, isn’t removed.”

Chinese state media stated that Chen’s case has led to the investigations of over a hundred judicial officials. It is unclear if these officials include those in the Communist Party’s PLAC.

Zheng Enchong believes that Chen’s imminent prosecution, as well as the sidelining of Zheng Wanxin and Zheng Shanhe—both high ranking Shanghai PLAC officials—bodes ill for former Shanghai PLAC chief Wu Zhiming. Wu is the nephew of Jiang Zemin and a leading member of the Shanghai Gang.

Wu Zhiming and Liu Yungeng are both listed by the United States-based non governmental group World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong as being responsible for multiple Falun Gong persecution cases in Shanghai.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Chen Xu, the former  Prosecutor General of the Shanghai People's Procuratorate. (eastday.com)Chen Xu, the former  Prosecutor General of the Shanghai People's Procuratorate. (eastday.com)

Chen Xu, Shanghai’s former top prosecutor, was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party on May 25 following a three-month investigation that found him guilty of corruption.

Chen, 64, was found to have accepted bribes, interfered with judicial processes, violated articles of Party discipline—including joining private clubs and holding “superstitious beliefs” (the Chinese regime is officially atheist)—and abused his position for the benefit of himself and others, according to a report by the Party’s anti-corruption agency.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced an investigation of Chen on March 1. His corruption case will be handed over to the Procuratorate, who will put him on trial, where it is almost certain he will be found guilty.

A native of Shanghai, Chen Xu served on the city’s judiciary since the 1970s, and eventually became the Prosecutor General of Shanghai People’s Procuratorate from 2008 to 2016. Chen was also once the deputy head of the Shanghai’s Political and Legal Affairs Commission, a powerful Party organ that oversees the prisons, the courts, and the armed police, in China.

Chen is the second high-ranking official from Shanghai to be purged since the launch of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign in 2012. The first was former deputy mayor Ai Baojun in 2015.

According to Chinese state media, Chen Xu started meddling with judicial cases as early as the 1990s. His corruption case has also led to a probe of over a hundred individuals in Shanghai’s judicial system.

Zheng Enchong, a human rights lawyer based in Shanghai, attributes the smooth progress of Chen’s career to his close ties with the infamous “Shanghai Gang,” a powerful political clique overseen by the family of former Party boss Jiang Zemin.

As head of the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in 2002, Chen ensured Zhou Zhengyi, a corrupt Chinese businessman with close ties to the Jiang family, received light punishment disproportionate to the severity of his financial crimes, according to Zheng Enchong.

Many of the Chinese officials purged under Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign are linked with Jiang Zemin’s political faction. Some high-profile cases include the arrest and life imprisonment of former security czar Zhou Yongkang and former military vice chair Guo Boxiong.

Zheng Enchong, the human rights lawyer, told The Epoch Times in an earlier interview that the probe of Chen Xu ahead of an important political conclave near the end of the year signals the downfall of Jiang’s “Shanghai Gang.”

Li Muen contributed to this article.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/irene-luo/" rel="author">Irene Luo</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

China in ContextChina in Context

Just how much control over China does Xi Jinping have?

One view holds that Xi is the most powerful Communist Party leader in decades, taking into account the many titles (“core” leader, commander-in-chief of the military) and offices (chairman of several key policy-making groups) he has accumulated, as well as the success of his anti-corruption campaign in putting away top rivals.  

But as we’ve argued previously, far from being an unquestioned leader, Xi’s political position is much shakier than outside appearances suggest. He faces strong rivalry from the influential political faction of his predecessor Jiang Zemin, which wants to sabotage him. He also faces stiff resistance from a deeply corrupt Chinese officialdom weaned on loose regulations and policies during the the tenures of Jiang and Hu Jintao.  

At the highest echelon of Chinese politics, Xi’s position looks far less precarious today than when he first took office in late 2012, owing to the purge of key Jiang allies like the security chief Zhou Yongkang and top military official Guo Boxiong.

But things are far less certain in the middle and lower levels of the vast state and Party apparatus. The Chinese anti-corruption agency’s newspaper recently complained of “idle” officials who pay lip service but don’t carry out their duties, as well as so-called “obstructing tigers,” or officials who don’t implement instructions from the central government. The limits of the anti-corruption campaign on cadre discipline are starting to show.

A recent development could, between now and the Party’s 19th National Congress near the end of the year, more clearly reveal the Xi leadership’s control over regime affairs.

Rumors that Jiang was gravely ill, or had passed away, first emerged on May 8. Hong Kong newspapers, China watchers, and even former diplomats to China circulated the news; one version The Epoch Times learned from our sources involves Jiang’s temporary clinical death and continued existence on a life-support machine.

This isn’t the first time rumors of Jiang’s demise have surfaced and might not be the last. But if Jiang has indeed entered a vegetative state, it will certainly impact his faction and the state of elite Chinese politics in the lead-up to the 19th Congress.

If Jiang’s faction is on the ropes, Xi will be completely unimpeded as he rounds up the remnants of the rival faction and cements his control over the regime. In this scenario, Jiang-controlled elements inside and outside of China may be apt to fold, and Xi will be virtually unchallenged in his quest to stack the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee with officials who fall in line.

If Jiang’s faction still has some strength left—Zeng Qinghong, Jiang’s cunning right-hand man, is still at large—then Xi may come up against a cornered, badly wounded beast hoping to land a blow.

In the latter scenario, expect greater resistance from the Chinese officialdom; unstable financial markets (Jiang’s faction is suspected of having a hand in the 2015 Shanghai stock crash); more nuclear brinksmanship by North Korea; and rising tensions in Hong Kong. At the 19th Congress, Xi may even be forced to admit one or two token Jiang faction elites onto the Standing Committee.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General