DCB #119: The Strangeness of A Political Gang Case of CCP

To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingTalking About China NowIssue 119 – November 1, 2022In This IssueThe articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of the briefing or Dialogue China. All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.I. Dialogue China Viewpoints1. The Strangeness of the Sun Lijun Political Gang CaseII. Policy2. Three Key Issues that are Stifling China Can No Longer Be Avoided3. Factoring “History of Domestic Violence” Into Selection of Cadres? A Number of Fallen Officials are Alleged to Have Committed Domestic ViolenceIII. Politics4. Imaginary Brothers? Behind “Afro Asian Latin Solidarity,” An Important Fact Has Been Ignored5. The United States’ “Microchip Cold War” is in Full Swing. How Can China Counteract It?IV. Finance and Business6. Why is the National Property Market Starting to Stimulate Previously Owned Residence Transactions?Dialogue China Viewpoints1. The Strangeness of the Sun Lijun Political Gang CaseWang Dan – Radio Free Asia Commentary – October 6, 2022Before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China started, the Beijing political arena was swirling with dark undercurrents. The most notable of which was the Ministry of Public Security so-called “gangster case.” On September 23, 2022, the Changchun Intermediate Court in Jilin Province publicly sentenced Sun Lijun – a former deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Security – to death, suspended for two years, reduced to life imprisonment without the possibility of commutation or parole. At present, the authorities have confirmed that there are seven members of the “Sun Lijun political gang.” In addition to Sun Lijun, the remaining six members of the gang include Fu Zhenghua, former Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Security; Gong Dao’an, former Director of the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau; Deng Huilin, former Director of the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau; Wang Like, former Secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Political and Legal Committee; Liu Xinyun, former Director of the Shanxi Provincial Public Security Bureau; and Liu Yanping, former Secretary of the Discipline Inspection Committee of the Ministry of State Security. On September 21, 2022 Gong Dao’an, Liu Xinyun and Deng Huilin were sentenced to life imprisonment, 14 years in prison and 15 years in prison respectively. Fu Zhenghua and Wang Like were both given suspended death sentences on September 22, 2022, and Liu Yanping was indicted by the prosecutors on September 28. Since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he has in the name of fighting corruption cracked down on his Communist Party rivals, and countless officials have fallen from power. However, this Sun Lijun case is out of the ordinary. I think there are at least four suspicious aspects.
First, after the court sentenced Sun Lijun to a suspended death sentence, reduced to life imprisonment, it was specifically stated that he should be given: “life imprisonment, with no reduction or parole.” The words “never parole” have never been seen in a political case before. Even in the trial of the Gang of Four, the chief offenders Jiang Qing and Zhang Chunqiao were given suspended death sentences, there was no “never parole” wording. Both were then sentenced to life imprisonment, and Zhang Chunqiao was later granted medical parole and lived until he died in a hospital in 2005. For Sun Lijun, it seems that the authorities are determined to imprison him until he dies. What did Sun do to make the authorities envy and hate him so much that they will not even give him a sliver of hope?
Second, taking a closer look at the three charges of bribery, securities market manipulation, and illegal possession of firearms, anyone who knows anything about the political logic of the Chinese Communist Party can see that these three counts do not justify Sun Lijun’s heavy sentence, and there must be another reason for the actual situation. It is worth noting that a key member of Sun Lijun’s group, former Vice Minister of Public Security Fu Zhenghua, was given a suspended death sentence for accepting bribes, and the court announced that the amount of bribes received was ¥117 million, which is not the largest amount among corrupt officials of his rank. For example, Zhang Yue, former secretary of the Communist Party of China’s Hebei Provincial Political and Legal Committee, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2018 for accepting bribes in the amount of ¥156.9 million. Fu Zhenghua received a much heavier sentence for a much smaller amount of bribes. Thus it can be clearly seen that the heavy sentencing of Sun Lijun and others is not just for purely financial reasons, but there must be another hidden agenda behind it.
Third, if you look at the court’s verdict, you will find that it ends with the statement “It is decided after intense deliberation that Sun Lijun has rendered significant meritorious service and been given a lighter sentence.” Perhaps when Sun was being interrogated he named some higher ranking officials involved in the case in exchange for a lighter sentence. After all, Sun Lijun was the secretary of Meng Jianzhu, the former minister of the Ministry of Public Security and secretary of the Central Committee of Political and Legal Affairs, before he became deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Security in 2018. If Sun conspired to organize a political gang, his former superiors were likely to be involved. It is not known what the exact situation is. However, the verdict should have laid the groundwork for a new round of political purges after the 20th National Congress.
Finally, the most puzzling point in this case is what did Sun Lijun and others do to make Xi Jinping so mad? I’m afraid the reason for this is to be found in the official files. On September 30, 2021, Sun Lijun was expelled from the Communist Party and official position, and a Central Commission for Discipline Inspection circular announcing Sun’s “two expulsions” said his: “political ambitions were extremely inflated and his political character was extremely poor” and that he “formed a gang to control key departments.” It was also pointed out that he not only “resisted the organization’s being examined,” but even used “public security crime investigation methods.” In March this year, in Fu Zhenghua’s double expulsion notice, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection also mentioned that his “political conduct was extremely despicable; he deceived the central authorities, endangered the centralized unity of the Communist Party, and criticized the policies of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. It is not difficult to infer from this that some in the Communist Party are dissatisfied with Xi Jinping, and may have tried to take action to prevent his re-election. This shows that the rumors of a coup d’état are not entirely empty.【Back to TopPolicy2. Three Key Issues that are Stifling China Can No Longer Be AvoidedXia Bin – New Economic Think Tank – September 13, 2022Why Read This?
This year – against the backdrop of regional conflicts, global economic recession, and ongoing pandemic – “stabilizing economic growth, employment, prices, and consolidating the macro-economy” has become an important objective of China’s economic policy. How should China’s current economic situation and the direction of breaking out of encirclement be viewed? We must directly face up to reality, take problems as guides, and analyze and explain the three major problems of investment, consumption, and the overall operation of the national economy in order to ensure China’s medium- and long-term economic development.(Read the full text

Back to topPolicy3. Factoring “History of Domestic Violence” Into Selection of Cadres? A Number of Fallen Officials are Alleged to Have Committed Domestic ViolenceWei Cuicui – Southern Weekend – September 23, 2022Why Read This?
In April 2022, Jiuquan City, Gansu Province, China, launched the “Prevention and Resolution of Marital and Family Disputes and Special Action Against Domestic Violence Program.” The program requires that the discipline inspection and organization departments find out “whether there is domestic violence and infringement of women’s and children’s rights among Communist Party members and leading cadres in Communist Party and government organs, enterprises and institutions.” The program should furthermore serve as a “reference guide” for the selection and promotion of cadres. However, since the implementation of the program, in the process of selection and appointment of cadres, not once was a cadre rejected for domestic violence. “No information has been received about domestic violence by Communist Party officials.”(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics4. Imaginary Brothers? Behind “Afro Asian Latin Solidarity,” An Important Fact Has Been IgnoredLi Xiaoyun, Zhang Chuanhong – Beijing Cultural Review – September 19, 2022Why Read This?
This article argues from the perspective of China – Africa relations. Under the encirclement of the West, China can no longer naively regard the imaginary Third World “revolutionary brothers” – historically constructed by anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism – as the basis for China – Africa relations today. On the one hand, after the Cold War the “brotherhood” born of revolutionary ideals and survival needs no longer exists. On the other hand, most African countries have entered a stable development process, and their experience of colonialism is diminishing, so they tend to develop partnerships that can benefit them based on realistic interests.(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics5. The United States’ “Microchip Cold War” is in Full Swing. How Can China Counteract It?Wang Mingyuan – Phoenix Grand Reference – September 21, 2022Why Read This?
How big is the impact of the United States CHIPS Act* on China? Beyond the bill, are there additional provisions and quadrilateral alliances to be wary of? How should China respond to this attack beginning with the microchip industry, and take advantage of it to adjust its thinking on the development of the national microchip industry? The author argues that a weak China should adopt a different strategy from the United States. The more the United States strives to subvert the values of the global economy, the more China will continue to maintain globalization, open trade and free markets. If China follows the same conservative, isolationist path of the United States, it will eventually be unable to counteract the United States.(Read the full text
*The CHIPS and Science Act is a U.S. federal statute enacted by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 9, 2022. The act provides roughly 280 billion dollars in new funding to boost domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States. The law does not have an official short title as a whole but is divided into three divisions with their own short titles: Division A is the CHIPS Act of 2022 (where CHIPS stands for “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors”); Division B is the Research and Development, Competition, and Innovation Act; and Division C is the Supreme Court Security Funding Act of 2022. It channeled more than $52 billion into researching semiconductors and other scientific research, with the primary aim of countering China. The bill passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 64–33 on July 27, 2022. On July 28, the $280 billion bill passed the U.S. House by a vote of 243–187–1.

Back to topFinance and Business6. Why is the National Property Market Starting to Stimulate Previously Owned Residence Transactions?Xie Jiu – Sanlian Life Weekly – September 28, 2022Why Read This?
Recently, major cities across the country have introduced many policies to stimulate previously owned residence transactions. In the past, the stimulation of the domestic property market was mostly focused on the sale of new houses. But recently many cities – including first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, etc. – have started to coincidentally stimulate previously owned residence transactions, which is not common in the domestic property market. The main direction of this round of policies to stimulate previously owned residence transactions is to simplify the procedures, reducing the time and financial costs of all parties involved in the transactions, which can indeed have a convenient effect on the one hand, and at the same time can also stimulate and enliven the previously owned residence market.(Read the full text

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