Jiang Zemin, former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and former President of the People’s Republic of China (1989-2002), is denounced in the world by several human rights groups and religious movements for being the leading architect and responsible for the most terrible persecutions and crimes against people for their faith in recent times. Zemin has become the former leader with the most accusations of corruption in the Asian country. This ruler managed to establish himself in power after the ruthless assassination of young pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Jiang was born in 1926, amid a civil war in China between the Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). His father, Jiang Shijun, was a senior official in the Japanese occupation army’s anti-China propaganda department in Jiangsu province, tasked with delivering information about China to the Japanese, according to The Nine Commentaries of the Chinese Communist Party.
At the age of 17, the young Jiang began studying in Nanjing district at the Central University, established in 1942 by Wang Jinwei, the head of state with Japanese ideology, during the Second Sino-Japanese World War.
Eventually, the CCP won a victory in the long civil conflict and established itself as China’s government. Jiang, for his part, began to move closer to the party and to get in and interact with politicians of higher status; he invented a story: that he had been adopted and raised by his uncle Jiang Shangqing, who had a long career in the CCP and since the man had been assassinated, no one questioned his story. In this way, he rose from a low-ranking official to vice-minister of the Electronic Industry within a few years.
To continue his rise, Jiang spared no effort and did everything to win the support of party magnates such as Li Xiannian and Chen Yunno. When he was secretary of the CCP in Shanghai, he ordered the most terrible campaigns to “eliminate any factor of instability” until it was reduced to zero.
The Tiananmen Massacre as a springboard to power
The Tiananmen Massacre in June 1989 gave Jiang Zemin access to the highest position a Chinese official ever hoped to achieve.
Sometime before the Tiananmen Massacre occurred, as student demonstrations flooded the country, Jiang Zemin, revealing his cruel nature, sent a secret letter to Deng Xiaoping calling for “definitive measures” to be taken against the students; otherwise, “the Party and the nation will be brought to their knees.”
Deng Xiaoping, then the top leader of the Asian giant, welcomed Zemin’s “successful and repressive actions” in countering the student protests in Shanghai. And he slammed the leading officials who failed to prevent the protests and refused to apply a stricter hand against the students.
Jiang Zemin was also responsible for concealing all information about the number of dead and wounded in the Tiananmen Massacre. According to investigations, the Chinese Communist Party killed around 10,000 pro-democracy demonstrators. The people were unarmed, and the vast majority of them were run over by tanks in the streets or died in hospitals from serious injuries, Breitbart reported.
Jiang Zemin’s instigation of Xiaoping as a leader capable of controlling, repressing, and even killing to preserve the country’s political stability helped him emerge as his successor.
Thus, Jiang Zemin’s rise to power took place almost immediately after June 1989. That same year, Jiang became General Secretary of the Party, and in 1990 he was appointed Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China, that is, head of the armed forces.
And in 1993, he was appointed President of the People’s Republic of China.
Jiang Zemin and his unbridled enrichment
Jiang established Grace Microelectronics Company in 2000 for his son, Jiang Mianheng, with billions of dollars obtained, apparently illegally, from the Shanghai branch of the Bank of China and facilitated by Liu Jinbao, chairman of the State Bank. The Central Commission for Discipline Control has investigated the scam of $6400 million in bank loans with which Jiang set up the company, Apollo News reported.
The billionaire, Wang Wenyang, revealed that the Jiang family asked him to be an “investor” in a joint venture, but he was not required to contribute money. The billions to open this venture came from the CCP leader.
Another act of corruption attributed to Jiang was the policy of enterprise restructuring, which allowed him and the CCP to appropriate and distribute the collective private enterprises of the citizens. Two hundred million workers were left in ruins. Apollo News reported that the former Chinese leader and the CCP took over some 571.000 enterprises over the years.
Jiang’s family has swiftly enriched itself since he took over as secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee. His goal was clear; to make money. So he asked his eldest son, who was studying in the U.S. at Harvard, to return to China to make money, reported Apollo News.
In 2010, Jiang’s grandson Jiang Zhicheng, 24, with U.S. citizenship, founded Boyu Capital, a private equity fund in Hong Kong, one of the largest in China.
In 2011, Boyu took a majority stake in Sunrise Duty-Free, which manages all duty-free stores at Shanghai and Beijing international airports. They believe that deal provided evidence that Jiang Zemin’s grandson could gain access to state money to turn into assets, Reuters reported.
Human rights abuses
Since its inception, the Chinese Communist Party has repressed and persecuted its people for their spiritual beliefs. However, under the leadership of Jiang Zemin, the CCP’s repressive machine was perfected and intensified.
In the 1990s, Christians, Buddhists, Tibetans, Uighurs, and Falun Gong practitioners were subjected to the most vicious persecution. The CCP always feared that religions could overthrow their governments.
“Western” religions were considered “hostile elements from abroad,” and destabilizing, according to Human Rights Watch.
During Jiang’s tenure, the Catholic Church was considered a destabilizing element that served to overthrow communist authority in Eastern Europe in 1989.
This meant that thousands of Catholics were sentenced to prison under the Chinese Communist regime just for attending religious activities or keeping Bibles.
The CCP set itself up as the sole ecclesiastical authority by appointing bishops and priests on the premise that the Party must be above God. The so-called “underground” church has continued its link with the Vatican but with the constant risk of being arrested and repressed.
For their part, the practitioners of the Buddhist religion, after their independence movement in Tibet, were labeled as counterrevolutionaries, arrested, and tortured.
Not content with this, in 1995, Jiang imposed more control over Tibetan Buddhism and created a new appointment of the Panchen Lama. The BBC reported that a six-year-old boy named Gyaltsen Norbu is the son of two Communist Party workers, who was immediately taken to Beijing, occasionally appearing in public in carefully staged events.
The Uighurs are one of the ethnic minorities that suffer the most terrible persecution. The CCP takes them against their will to “re-education camps,” where they are detained, and some lose their lives after being tortured with methods of electrocution, sexual abuse, force-feeding and alcohol intake (acts of extreme humiliation for Muslims), and forced sterilization of women, reported the East Turkestan government.
The crime that dug Jiang Zemin’s own grave
While from his early days as leader of the CCP, Jiang Zemin handled everything with an iron fist, repressing any “hostility” towards his political stability. He had never before put the entire state machinery to persecute a minority as he did against the Falun Gong practitioners.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient spiritual discipline of the Buddha School. In 1992 it was introduced by Master Li Hongzhi in China and became widely known. Its practice consists of 5 qigong exercises, which combined with the profound teachings of the principles of Truth-Benevolence and Tolerance ( Zhen 真, Shan 善, Ren 忍). are the key to raising moral character and attaining superior health, according to Falun Info Net.
These characteristics of Falun Gong caused it to spread rapidly throughout China. By 1999, more than 70 million Chinese were practicing the discipline, making it the most popular practice in the country.
However, this popularity aroused Jiang Zemin’s anger and jealousy, as the number of Falun Gong practitioners outnumbered CCP members. According to Falun Info Net, this was reason enough for him to launch the cruelest and most brutal persecution campaign in July 1999.
To eradicate Falun Gong, three political strategies were pursued: “to damage the reputation of Falun Gong practitioners, to ruin them economically, and to destroy them physically,” states the Nine Commentaries of the Chinese Communist Party.
Jíang created the dreaded 610 Office, a sort of Chinese Gestapo that to this day serves the function of persecuting, torturing, and murdering Falun Dafa practitioners in China. The 610 Office has powers that exceed the legal and judicial system. Luo Gan, the head of the Chinese Gestapo, was the one who issued the order to torture practitioners to death, declaring the crimes as suicides and even failing to identify the bodies so that there would be no evidence, reported Minghui.org.
From 1999 to date, practitioners who refuse to abandon their Falun Gong faith lose their jobs, are sentenced to forced labor, and taken to prisons, brainwashing, and re-education camps. Thousands of people suffer extreme torture, even to the point of death: from beatings, body piercing, cutting, and force-feeding; they are burned, beaten with high-voltage electric shock batons, placed in cages, exposed to psychiatric torture, sleep deprivation, tied in painful positions for long periods until they break, exposed to freezing and extreme temperatures, and mass rape.
To ruin the reputation of the practitioners, Jiang Zemin ordered radio and television stations to defame the Falun Gong practice for hours, thus misleading society into rejecting and denouncing any practitioner, even a family member.
False reports of suicides and murders committed by practitioners circulated throughout China. A prominent example was the “Tiananmen self-immolation,” denounced by the United Nations International Organization for Educational Development, based in Geneva, which discovered that the whole event was a fabricated episode staged for the cameras of the CCP to manipulate, once again, the information broadcast by the media.
As if all this was not enough for the former Chinese leader to annihilate Falun Gong practitioners, he created the most macabre and lucrative business; the forced removal of organs from living prisoners to be sold for exorbitant amounts. According to testimonies from military hospital workers, since 2006, living prisoners have been subjected to forced organ harvesting for transplants on demand.
All prisoners of conscience in concentration camps are subjected to periodic medical tests and examinations to allow for accurate data on the compatibility of organs when there is a request.
The late former Canadian Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific, David Kilgour, and David Matas, a renowned international human rights lawyer, investigated to expose this hidden and terrible genocide in China, reported the International Coalition to end Transplant abuse in China.
At the same time, with the thousands of bodies of unidentified practitioners, another no less macabre business was created: the commercialization of unidentified corpses for their exhibition as plastinated bodies (Real Bodys).
Real Bodies is an exhibition of Chinese corpses that tour worldwide, and the firm that has provided most bodies or their parts is Dalian Hoffen Bio-Technique of China. The company has claimed that all the bodies were obtained legally and with proper consent, although it has never shown the required documentation to back up its claims.
However, Baroness Ilora Finlay detailed emails that revealed how some bodies destined for plastination in China were missing major organs. “Which suggests that these bodies are the remnants of the despicable trade in forced organ removal and transplantation on demand in China,” the Baroness said.
Investigations concluded that most of the corpses were from Falun Gong and Uighur practitioners subjected to forced organ harvesting.
The man most denounced for crimes against humanity
However, several countries have raised their voices to denounce these aberrant crimes committed by the CCP. Justice has set its eyes on Jiang Zemin, who has been denounced for human rights violations in China.
In December 2005, during his visit to Argentina, Luo Gan, former Secretary of Political and Legal Affairs of the CCP Central Committee and director of the 610 Office, known as the “Chinese Gestapo,” was denounced by the Civil Association of Falun Dafa Studies, together with Jiang Zemin, for the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China.
Applying the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction that governs Argentine law, then Judge Octavio Araoz de Lamadrid initiated a thorough investigation during which he interviewed several victims who recounted their painful experiences in Chinese concentration camps and how they were persecuted just for practicing Falun Gong.
The Argentine judge also traveled to New York to meet with witnesses and victims who could not travel to Argentina for lack of a visa.
After four years of investigation and having gathered sufficient evidence to consider the existence of crimes against humanity in China, on December 17, 2009, then Judge Lamadrid issued the historic arrest warrant against former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin and former official Luo Gan to bring them to Argentina for investigation and prosecution.
However, due to pressure from the Chinese embassy in Argentina, the arrest warrant was canceled a month later, the case was closed, and the brave judge had to resign.
After several appeals and court battles, on April 17, 2013, the Argentine Chamber of Criminal Cassation ordered the reopening of the case. The case is still pending in Federal Court No. 9 under Judge Rodriguez.
This trial sets a historic legal precedent for Argentina and the world for the possibility of trying foreigners for crimes against humanity.
Spain has also raised its voice against these atrocious crimes committed by Jiang Zemin and his faction. On October 15, 2003, Falun Gong practitioners filed a lawsuit in Spain’s National Court against Jiang and the head of the “610 Office” Luo Gan, for crimes of torture and genocide committed during the persecution of Falun Gong in China, reported Minghui.org.
Unfortunately, on March 13, 2014, Spain passed a new law restricting the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction. This new provision limits the prosecution of foreigners, non-residents of Spain, accused of crimes against humanity. As a result, the Court dismissed the case, Trial International reported.
In China, Jiang Zemin is one of the most widely prosecuted leaders, with more than 200,000 criminal charges filed with China’s Supreme Court and Supreme Procuratorate, according to Minghui.org.
Numerous lawyers defend Falun Gong practitioners and appear in court despite the risk of being arrested, tortured, or even killed.
The case that transcended public opinion is that of lawyer Gao Zhisheng, dubbed “the conscience of China,” who disappeared on August 13, 2017, after legally defending Falun Gong practitioners.
The human rights lawyer, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, made the list of the top 10 lawyers in China. Zhisheng bravely brought lawsuits against the CCP and, as a result, suffered violence from the police and even had his license to practice suspended.
Although Gao stood firm and held nationwide hunger strikes to intensify the call for justice and human rights in China, he was convicted of “subversion” on December 22, 2006, and sentenced to three years. Unfortunately, since August 2017, his whereabouts have been unknown.
It is difficult to exercise the defense of human rights in China when there is no separation of powers or due process, especially when the brave lawyers who dare to raise their voices begin to be persecuted and even disappear, as in the case of Gao Zhisheng. The CCP suspends their business licenses or law licenses to silence and oppress them.
Although the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners continues in China, it is clear that Jiang Zemin lost this time if we consider the three orders he issued when he initiated the crackdown:
- To damage the reputation of Falun Gong practitioners.
- To ruin them economically.
- To destroy them physically.
None of these orders achieved their goal of eradicating Chinese Falun Dafa practitioners. On the contrary, Chinese practitioners continue to defend their faith with their lives. The banning of Falun Dafa in China had the opposite effect. The practice spread worldwide, the truth of the persecution was revealed, and Jiang Zemin will go down in history as the man who committed one of humanity’s greatest crimes.