Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin—Chapter 19

Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin—Chapter 19
(Luis Novaes/Epoch Times)

Jiang Zemin’s days are numbered. It is only a question of when, not if, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party will be arrested. Jiang officially ran the Chinese regime for more than a decade, and for another decade he was the puppet master behind the scenes who often controlled events. During those decades Jiang did incalculable damage to China. At this moment when Jiang’s era is about to end, Epoch Times here republishes in serial form “Anything for Power: The Real Story of Jiang Zemin,” first published in English in 2011. The reader can come to understand better the career of this pivotal figure in today’s China.

The full series is available here

Chapter 19: Sued in His Unlucky Year, Jiang Seizes Military Power to Avoid Punishment (2002)

The year 2002 was a gloomy one for Jiang Zemin, who from the start was haunted by the fear of losing power and having his crimes exposed.

1. Television Tapping

For years Jiang’s persecution of Falun Gong has been sustained by means of spreading lies, hiding the truth, and brutal torture. Jiang’s greatest fear has been that the public would break through the information blockage that he labored to set up and discover the truth about the persecution.

Jiang’s fear finally came to pass in the city of Changchun—the capital of Jilin Province and the place where Falun Gong’s founder Mr. Li Hongzhi was from. It was there that Falun Gong first began spreading in the early nineties.

On the night of March 5, 2002, the regular programming of eight cable TV stations was interrupted and replaced with a 45 minute broadcast about Falun Gong. The broadcast included documentaries such as Self-immolation or Deception? and Falun Dafa’s Spread Around the World.

The lies the CCP propaganda machine had been telling for years were thus discredited in less than an hour. The videos revealed Falun Gong’s rapid growth in mainland China before the crackdown along with its current spreading in over 60 countries; it highlighted the truth about Falun Gong and its noble teachings on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Hundreds of thousands of people in Changchun City were astonished as the documentary Self-immolation or Deception? analyzed the footage of the incident from CCTV in slow motion, pointing out its inconsistencies one by one. The next day, the slow-motion sequence of Liu Chunling being struck over the head by a police officer while she was on fire became the talk of the town; discussion of the matter could be heard at the office, on the bus, in school, or at the supermarket, demonstrating the impact on people’s minds of a lie being exposed.

Even Kuhn’s book, The Man Who Changed China, acknowledged what had transpired. Kuhn writes, “Prime time, everyone saw the Falun Gong programs, the city’s abuzz.” [1]

Jiang was furious when he heard the news about the TV tapping that night. He reportedly shook from anger for several minutes. He then reacted by pounding his fist on the table and shouting, “Send for Zeng Qinghong and Luo Gan immediately!”

Jiang’s secretary, though already accustomed to his boss’s temper, had never seen Jiang so mad and violent. Fully aware of the seriousness of the matter, the secretary picked up the phone, his hand trembling.

Following suggestions by Zeng and Luo, Jiang ordered that level II war preparedness be declared in the Shenyang Military Region and that level I awareness be established in the Changchun Military Region and among the armed police of Jilin Province. Luo ordered the Public Security Office of Jilin and the Public Security Bureau of Changchun to investigate the TV tapping and crack the case within a short timeframe. As Luo was on the phone, telling his men what to do, Jiang commanded, “Tell all the police to shoot to kill any Falun Gong practitioners who were involved in the TV tapping. Kill them without exception! I guarantee that any officer who kills Falun Gong practitioners will not be held responsible. This case has to be resolved within a week, or else the Party chief in Changchun City and the police chiefs at multiple levels in the city will have to step down.”

Acting on Jiang’s order, Luo took personal responsibility for the case. In the middle of the night on March 12, 2002, Falun Gong practitioner Liu Haibo of Changchun was arrested and tortured to death during questioning by Kuancheng police. He was suspected of having sheltered other Falun Gong practitioners who had been involved in the broadcast. Chang Xiaoping, the first deputy Party chief and head of the 6-10 Office in Changchun, arrived at the Kuancheng police station that same night and gave the following instructions: first, dealing with Falun Gong was a difficult political task that had to be accomplished even if it meant bloodshed; second, secrecy was to be maintained at all costs in order to avoid harm to China’s international standing; and third, disciplinary, prosecutorial, and monitoring departments at all levels were barred from probing Falun Gong’s casualties “for the sake of overall stability.”

Meanwhile, Jiang directed his propaganda departments to produce TV programs that would accuse Falun Gong of illegally tapping into TV stations. Those programs, however, did not tell the public the content of the Falun Gong videos, but only said vaguely that the tapping was meant to publicize Falun Gong. The programs also reiterated other lies, such as that Falun Gong killed people. In actuality, Falun Gong practitioners had broadcast videos that unveiled the truth of the persecution by exposing how Falun Gong’s followers were victims of murder at the hand of police, rather than perpetrators. Jiang deliberately tried to conceal this reality by covering previous lies with yet more lies.

The CCP claimed that the Falun Gong broadcasts were illegal. “Illegal” is relative to “legal,” and considering the extrajudicial nature of the persecution against Falun Gong, the “laws” that practitioners supposedly broke had already been discredited. Some scholars have analogized as follows. Suppose a person is barred from leaving a room through its windows only if a door is kept open. If the door is locked or sealed, then people are of course entitled to get out through windows, if not by an opening in the ceiling. In a place where basic human rights are denied, all peaceful attempts to regain those rights are in accordance with the law—natural law.

The TV tapping, which did not cause any damage to TV facilities, only transmitted a message and conveyed a voice. It was thus untenable to refute a move that involved the legitimate rights of tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners based on an allegation that “there were people who had been bothered.” Even with demonstrations approved by the government, congestion in public spaces may occur, “bothering” some people who are in a hurry. This is a price that may be paid to safeguard human rights and is normal in today’s world. What’s more, TV programs denouncing Falun Gong have been aired in recent years by TV stations under Jiang’s control, and many of these proved highly bothersome to viewers.

Jiang, turning a deaf ear to reason, bitterly hated those who were involved in the tapping and wanted nothing less than their total destruction. On March 24, 2002, police kidnapped Liu Chengjun, another Falun Gong adherent who had been involved. The police shot Liu in the legs after he was already in cuffs and shackles, injuring him severely. Liu was tortured ruthlessly in detention before being unlawfully sentenced to 19 years in prison. He died of maltreatment at the hands of his captors in jail on Dec. 26, 2003.

Similar TV tapping incidents have since occurred in other cities, covering both cable and satellite signals. According to incomplete statistics, from March 2002 to October 2003, Falun Gong practitioners tapped into TV broadcasts in over 20 cities in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Shandong, Hebei, Gansu, and Qinghai, as well as in Chongqing City. In those cases they similarly played videos that exposed Jiang’s claims.

As soon as the nationwide crackdown on Falun Gong began in July 1999, Jiang activated China’s entire propaganda apparatus to decry Falun Gong, denying its practitioners any opportunity to clear up and defend against the allegations launched against them. By staging the farce of the Tiananmen immolation and silencing the voice of Falun Gong with his power, Jiang managed to bring the public’s hatred toward Falun Gong to the boiling point. If a person who was against Falun Gong was asked where his hatred came from, he would probably say “from what I saw on CCTV.” With 86 percent of China’s population having access to TV coverage, televised propaganda became Jiang’s most effective tool in his attempt to discredit Falun Gong. It was thus much to Jiang’s great surprise when his own claims were discredited through the very same medium.

2. Mired in Trouble

The TV broadcasts were not the last time in 2002 that Jiang faced consequences for his decision to persecute Falun Gong.

In April 2002, Falun Gong practitioners took legal action in Washington D.C. against China’s Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, and CCTV. In July, legislators from the U.S. House of Representatives adopted Resolution 188 by a vote of 420 to 0, urging Jiang to stop persecuting the Falun Gong in China. [2]

On the other side of the Atlantic, Jiang also met with protests over his campaign against Falun Gong during a visit to Germany in April and to Iceland in June. While in Germany, Jiang became so afraid of the sight of yellow and blue clothing—trademark colors of demonstrating Falun Gong practitioners—that he made a request to the German police that the two colors be kept out of his sight. He was so suspicious and fearful that he asked police to weld sewer lids shut along the route his convoy was to travel. Jiang didn’t dare to enter or leave his hotel through the front entrance; instead, he used garbage exits. He frequently changed his schedule and routes, causing frustration and drawing complaints from his hosts.

Before he arrived in Iceland, Jiang exerted pressure on the Icelandic government to bar Falun Gong adherents from entering the country. The move, which officials agreed to, triggered dramatic protests against Jiang by thousands of local residents. On the day of Jiang’s arrival, Iceland’s largest newspaper ran a four-page ad, offering an apology to Falun Gong practitioners. The advertisement, which was jointly sponsored by 450 people, including parliamentarians, made quite a stir in Iceland. Its title consisted of three large Chinese characters which mean “sorry,” and had a subtitle in Icelandic that read “An Apology to Falun Gong Practitioners.” The statement read, “The Icelandic government made an erroneous decision by yielding to the dictator Jiang Zemin and barring Falun Gong practitioners from entering the island for peaceful protests. The Icelandic people feel ashamed of that decision and express their apology to all Falun Gong practitioners.” [3]

An unusual coincidence having to do with toads took place in both Germany and Iceland. Two days prior to Jiang’s arrival in Germany in April, several identical large posters appeared suddenly at different railroad stations. On the posters, the upper caption read “Look up,” while two toads, standing on either side of the picture with their bodies turned toward each other were looking up at a large, crowned toad with a white belly. The caption at the bottom read, “Here comes the big one.” Similarly, two days before Jiang arrived in Iceland, the country’s largest newspaper published a photo of a large toad for no apparent reason. It was no ordinary toad, but rather a toad with favus (an infectious skin disease) all over its body. When Jiang visited the United States at the end of October, a restaurant near the Chinese consulate used a big toad as a symbol on one of its posters. Back in China, a strange thing occurred on the website as well. As soon as one opened the main webpage, a hopping green toad immediately would appear and remain on the screen for some time before vanishing.

Another phenomenon that followed Jiang as he traveled, be it to Germany, Iceland, or the United States, was a cold wind and dark clouds. During his stay in Iceland, Jiang visited a world famous fountain near the capital city of Reykjavik. The moment Jiang arrived, half of the water column springing from the fountain became black with filth and dirt. The sky corresponding to the filthy half turned dark and was covered with dark clouds; the other half of the sky remained bright. One local resident exclaimed, “I’ve never seen such black water coming out of that fountain.”

Jiang’s visit appears to have also brought misfortune to some of those involved in the welcoming events. A Professor Li of the Beijing Second Foreign Language Institute in China and his wife moved to the capital of Iceland after they retired, joining their son and his family there. A few years after he settled in Iceland, Li became a leader among local overseas Chinese. When Jiang visited the country, officials from the Chinese embassy tried to please the visiting leader by hiring local Chinese students and immigrants as a greeting crowd. Jiang later met with representatives of the crowd, which was headed by Li. The event was aired on CCTV on its news program. A day or two after Jiang and his delegation left Iceland, Li and his family went on an outing by car. There were five people in the car: Li and his wife, his son (who was driving), his son’s wife, and his one-year-old grandson. As they were driving, the car suddenly skidded off the road into a lake. Everyone in the care died in the accident, with the exception of Li’s son, who escaped ashore by breaking a window.

3. The Story Behind the Barbecue in Crawford

One of the reasons for Jiang’s nervousness in 2002 was that well in advance of the Party’s 16th congress, different factions within the CCP raised the idea that at the conference Jiang should hand his power over to Hu Jintao as per Deng Xiaoping’s arrangement. Jiang, who was not yet prepared to step down, made frequent visits abroad in order to create the impression among foreign governments and China’s top leadership that he was “indispensable” in China’s foreign relations.

Despite his frail health—in fact, he was rushed to the emergency room at China’s army hospital number 301 multiple times—Jiang insisted on traveling the world so as to entrench his power. He made more trips overseas in 2002 than in any other year, with his visit to the United States in late October being the highlight.

Jiang’s purpose of visiting the United States was to attend a barbecue at President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Few world leaders have been invited to Bush’s ranch, and those who are consider it a great honor and are the envy of others. Acting through China’s foreign ministry, Jiang had made a request that Bush send him an invitation, but Bush didn’t like Jiang at all. Although China’s foreign ministry expressed Jiang’s wish in several different ways, Bush pretended not to understand and didn’t respond to the request as expected. Bush finally agreed only after he could no longer avoid issuing the invitation. Immediately, the Chinese government told the public in China that Jiang was “highly respected” by Bush and the two were “old friends.” China meanwhile signed $4.7 billion worth of deals in New York with 13 large transnational American corporations—the price of securing Jiang’s barbecue at the ranch.

Chinese media reported that Bush treated Jiang “with the highest respect” since he had personally invited the Chinese leader to his Crawford ranch. He Yafei, Director of the Division of American and Atlantic Affairs of China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a news conference that China and the United States would issue a joint statement. The White House responded immediately, however, that the summit between Bush and Jiang would not yield any joint statement. The New York Times quickly reported that the remarks from Beijing were overstated.

And the fact was, when compared to other guests of honor that Bush entertained at his Crawford ranch, Jiang’s reception was not so warm. Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Tony Blair stayed overnight, and even Prince Abdallah of Saudi Arabia was accompanied by Bush for five hours, at least two hours of which were official talks. Bush’s meeting with Jiang was much briefer, by contrast, with Jiang being sent off rather swiftly.

Jiang’s trip to the United States, though highlighted by the Chinese media from an angle that flattered Jiang, did not change the outcome of the CCP’s discussion in its Politburo since the top leadership was able to read reports and comments from overseas sources. In addition, Jiang was sued by Falun Gong practitioners during the visit, an event which deserves elaboration.

4. A Giant Trailer Declares, “Traitor”

Even though the word about Jiang’s visit to the U.S. leaked out in the summer of 2002, the trip’s specific itinerary was deliberately kept from the public. Zhang Qiyue, the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry who announced on Oct. 10 at a routine press conference that Jiang would pay a visit to the United States from Oct. 20 to 25, didn’t disclose the arrangement on other occasions when asked by reporters. It was not until Oct. 17 that the Foreign Ministry made Jiang’s daily schedule in the United States public. It was as if the Ministry wished to take protesters by surprise.

A few months earlier, Falun Gong practitioners around the world had been talking about how to lodge protests against Jiang’s suppression of Falun Gong during his visit. Information from different sources indicated that Jiang would visit a major American city before going to Texas. The Chinese embassy and consulates released conflicting information, such as that “Jiang would go to Boston first,” “Jiang will come to New York,” “Jiang will visit San Francisco and Los Angeles,” or that “Jiang will go to Washington, D.C.” An assessment of different rumors pointed to the fact that among the major cities with a Chinese consulate, Chicago was the only one that had not been mentioned. Since Jiang would not be able to visit so many places at the same time, it was concluded that the cities mentioned must have been a smokescreen. Falun Gong adherents boldly predicted: Jiang would go to Chicago.

From that point on Falun Gong adherents and their attorneys were busy with preparations to “welcome” Jiang.

At 10:38 a.m., Oct. 22, 2002, Jiang’s special plane, landed amidst dark fog at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Jiang didn’t exchange greetings with the cheering crowds organized by the Chinese consulate upon landing, and instead quickly got into his limousine and left the airport. During Jiang’s entire visit, the city of Houston experienced unusually low temperatures for the season and was shrouded in downpours and dark clouds. The minute Jiang’s motorcade left O’Hare, it passed by two fires with columns of black smoke shooting into the sky—a bad omen for Jiang’s trip to Chicago.

As Jiang’s motorcade was traveling on highway I-90 into downtown, Falun Gong practitioners were protesting at subway platforms en route by either holding banners, performing exercises, or calling out “Falun Dafa is good.” At 11:23 a.m., the motorcade arrived at the Ritz Carlton Hotel where Jiang was to stay. The hotel’s front entrance was engulfed by a sea of yellow clothing and waves of colorful banners that read, “Stop persecuting Falun Gong.”

To avoid a face-off with the thousands of protesters at the front gate, Jiang’s limousine drove into the hotel through the cargo and garbage entrance on the side. The cheering crowd of approximately 400 or 500 college students that was organized by the Chinese consulate showed sings of frustration; they had come from afar to welcome Jiang only to not see him. Many were from Chicago, but not all, with some hailing from as far as Louisiana. After learning that Jiang had decided to enter the hotel through a side gate and not meet the students, one of the group, who was wielding a five-star red flag, said with a doubtful look on his face, “Is it true?”

The story behind the cheering crowds is telling. The Chinese Consulate had approached the Chinese student associations at some schools in advance of Jiang’s visit and asked the associations to pick politically “reliable” students to join the carefully engineered crowd and “cheer for Jiang.” According to one Chinese student who was approached, the compensation the Chinese Consulate offered was $35 per person for participating the first day and $55 if he or she also saw Jiang off on the second day. The cheering crowd was equipped with high-pitched loudspeakers that repeatedly played CCP songs. These were later silenced by police after neighborhood residents complained about all the noise they were making.

As the students were standing outside the Ritz Carlton, a trailer drove by with large photos of Jiang Zemin embracing former Russian President Boris Yeltsin on its sides. In the photos, a smiling Jiang was hugging Yeltsin tightly with both arms around the latter’s neck. Beneath the photos, large words read: “The Scum of the Chinese Nation Who Will Stand Condemned for Ages to Come.” An accompanying diagram told how Jiang had secretly given away large tracts of northeastern Chinese territory to Russia. The students in the greeting crowd immediately turned quiet and peered at the image carefully. They must have been wondering to themselves: “This is the guy we’re welcoming here?” At that moment, a few of the people who hired the welcoming squad went up to the trailer’s driver and told him, “Hurry up! Get out of here quickly!” It looked like some of those in charge of the squad wanted the rest of the crowd to join them in jeering the trailer, but nobody did.

After seeing the trailer, many of the students were no longer able to wave the little red flags. Some took photos of the trailer with their own cameras; others protested that the agreement with Russia was an inequitable treaty that all the previous leaders of China and the Chinese people had never accepted. Later, several students wrote on electronic bulletin boards that their hearts were grieved after learning about Jiang’s treacherous acts. Though the students later received $35 in compensation from the Chinese Consulate, some said they would never welcome Jiang again.

Jiang had planned to visit a hi-tech telecommunications company headquartered in a suburb of Chicago in the afternoon, but canceled his trip for fear of mass demonstrations against him. Later in the evening, Jiang made a brief speech at a dinner in honor of businessmen in Chicago. Appearing weak, Jiang stumbled when climbing a flight of stairs. After his speech, Jiang had to be helped from the podium by Deputy Consul General Shen Weilian. Mayor Daley of Chicago, who knew that Jiang was a murderer of his own people, didn’t attend the dinner or meet with Jiang, citing health reasons.

The crowds of greeters and protesters left as evening approached, with the exception of the Falun Gong. The Falun Gong intended to keep an all-night vigil in front of the hotel. Reassured by the group’s peaceful manners and cooperation, police left only one car at the hotel entrance. Falun Gong practitioners sat along the sidewalks and lawns in front of the Ritz Carlton hotel all through the night.

On the morning of Oct. 23, Jiang again tried to leave the hotel through a side entrance in order to avoid facing the protesters. Nevertheless, as his limousine pulled out of the gate, he saw in front of him a sea of Falun Gong banners and heard cries of “Falun Dafa is good” from a short distance. At times, Falun Gong practitioners were only three meters away from Jiang’s limousine, and yet the police were not worried about his safety; they had seen the peaceful nature of the group’s earlier demonstrations. As Jiang’s car drove along the highways, Jiang could see Falun Gong banners every few minutes.

As they had done in Germany and Iceland, Jiang’s staff exerted pressure on the host government—the United States in this case—well before the trip, demanding that protesters (especially the Falun Gong), be kept out of Jiang’s sight during his trip. The American government, however, replied in a straightforward manner: “Welcome to America.” Meaning, “In America you do as the Americans do.” The Chicago police department said, “According to the U.S. Constitution, all protesters should be allowed to hold their events in a place where they can be seen and heard. Your rights [as Falun Gong practitioners] will definitely be ensured.”

5. The Summons

Jiang never thought he would be sued by Falun Gong practitioners in Chicago. To his surprise and chagrin, however, the largest legal campaign against a human rights abuser since the end of World War II began that week. He was its target.

Charging Jiang and the 6-10 office with torture, genocide and crimes against humanity, the lawsuit filed by Falun Gong adherents was a civil case, so a summons had to be delivered to the defendant in person. [4] This proved difficult, however, for Jiang kept his itinerary in Chicago a heavily-guarded secret. Even when his route became known, security was extremely tight.

On Oct. 21, 2002, a court in Illinois issued an order saying that it was acceptable to give the summons to Jiang’s Chinese or American security personnel during his stay in Chicago if it was too risky or impossible to make the delivery to Jiang himself. Even with such an exception, it was still hard to serve the papers since security guards would not allow anyone to get close to them, and would certainly not take anything from them—especially a sensitive item like a summons.

Seven summons deliverers and the chief attorney in the case against Jiang met for nearly an hour at a private detective company the following day, Oct. 22. Among the seven, three were experienced process servers and private detectives and the other four were young male Falun Gong practitioners (three of whom were Caucasian and one Chinese).

At around 4 p.m., Cory Fertel, one of the process servers, went to the 18th Precinct of the Chicago police department, hoping to hand the summons to the chief of police. The chief’s assistant, in his boss’s absence, took the document instead. Jason Bobor, another process server, found the chief of the 18th Precinct himself, named Griffin, who was on duty outside the hotel. He promptly handed him the summons after overcoming obstructions from Chinese security guards and pressure from American police officers. According to law, Griffin was one of those security personnel who could take the summons on behalf of Jiang Zemin or the 6-10 Office. Griffin did take the document and said he understood his obligations. Security measures stood in the way of serving Jiang directly, but the delivery of the summons through a member of his security personnel was considered valid. The litigation thus officially started.

When he heard that Falun Gong practitioners had sued him and delivered the summons, Jiang slumped in his sofa, his face pale and his body trembling. After he recovered from the initial shock, Jiang called Consul General Wei Ruixing over and harshly reprimanded him.

Wei, a veteran diplomat from Beijing, had a sketchy past. He had gone back to China for a three month “rest” after word circulated in the Chinese community in Chicago that he was a womanizer. Harboring dubious intentions, he had for some time wanted to please Jiang by discrediting Falun Gong and use the move to climb still higher in the government. When Jiang launched the campaign against Falun Gong a few years earlier, Wei had gone to the capital of Illinois, Springfield, and verbally attacked Falun Gong. He later organized several Cultural Revolution type “study sessions” at the consulate to “criticize” the Falun Gong.

On Nov. 4, not long after Jiang returned to China from his bad experience in Chicago, Wei was removed from the post of Consul General. He was sent back home, thus ending his political career and suggesting the perils that attend those who follow Jiang too closely.

After Jiang returned to Beijing, the team of attorneys handling the case sent the indictment through registered mail to Jiang’s office multiple times in order to ensure that he received it.

On Dec. 13, 2002, an additional package was sent through Federal Express to Jiang’s office at the Zhongnanhai government compound in Beijing. The package included: a notice issued by the court clerk containing the trial schedule in both English and Chinese; an attached letter, also in both English and Chinese that explained the notice; copies of the indictment and summons; and copies of the court order that authorized the plaintiffs to use alternative means to deliver the legal documents to the defendant. The Foreign Ministry first received the special express package, and turned it over to Jiang’s office at Zhongnanhai; it could neither say that “No addressee was found” nor accept the package. A “T. Huang” at the office apparently signed the receipt invoice without giving a second thought to the ramifications of what he was doing. To this day, Huang’s move is still a running joke among the CCP power elite.

Now having been accused by the Falun Gong of orchestrating mass torture and genocide, Jiang instructed the chief of the CCP’s central office, Jia Ting’an, to hold immediate talks with the U.S. government and demand that the case be shelved on grounds of “head of state immunity.” Meanwhile, Jiang called in Luo Gan and Xu Yongyue, the Minister of State Security, and commanded them, “Find out who the plaintiffs are in China and abroad. Arrest them all!”

Luo acted at once and ordered immediate police investigations. The move led to the arrest and arbitrary detention of many Falun Gong adherents.

6. The Trip to Texas

Jiang considered returning to China ahead of schedule after he was sued in Chicago. In the end he decided to continue his trip as scheduled and avoid the embarrassment of cutting his U.S. visit short. He was also reluctant to forego a visit to President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas—a privilege he had fought hard for. Jiang thus traveled to Texas despite news that the Falun Gong would hold demonstrations there.

As for protests by the Falun Gong, Jiang had come to loathe them. He was not new to them by any means.

During an August 2001 trip to Malta, a Mediterranean island nation, Jiang met face-to-face with a Ms. Wang, a senior reporter with an overseas media organization who happened to also be a practitioner of Falun Gong. Jiang didn’t realize her affiliation at first.

Jiang’s impulse to show-off surged upon hearing that an Asian woman would interview him. Nodding in agreement at the request, he craned his neck, ready for the interview. Contrary to the flattery he expected to be heaped upon him by the reporter, what did Jiang first hear from Wang but a loud and clear, “You must stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners.” Jiang was stunned. His face turned pale. Without saying a word, Jiang turned and left. After that encounter Jiang was nervous and wary every time he traveled overseas.

During Jiang’s visit to Germany in April 2002, the number of people demonstrating against the persecution of Falun Gong ranged from a few hundred to 1,000. Jiang was terribly scared upon seeing Falun Gong’s banners and hearing the shouts, “Falun Dafa is good!” During his stay in Germany an ambulance followed him wherever he went; officials anticipated that Jiang might pass out at any moment. When Jiang visited Volkswagen, the automaker gave Jiang an ambulance as a gift.

During his visit to the United States six months later, Jiang was even more frightened, as this time the Falun Gong demonstrators numbered several thousand.

In one attempt to guard against having to face the demonstrators, Jiang used $200,000 of state money to reserve almost all 485 rooms at the Inter Continental Hotel in Houston for the period of Oct. 22–25.

The last day of Jiang’s trip was the one he had been longing for—the date of his visit to President Bush’s ranch. Despite the importance of the occasion, the high-profile meeting between Bush and Jiang was delayed for over 30 minutes. Jiang apparently met with medical complications and his motorcade had to make a stop at the Chinese Consulate in Houston. Jiang’s entourage gave no explanation for the delay. Well-known for being punctual, Bush appeared annoyed by Jiang’s tardy arrival. One local newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, revealed the next day that Bush glanced at his watch anxiously as he waited in the chilly wind. Pointing to a nearby pond, he reportedly said, “We could be fishing.”

When Jiang and his wife Wang Yeping finally arrived, the President and his wife Laura, the cultured host and hostess, stepped forward to greet them.

President and Mrs. Bush shook hands with Jiang and asked “How are you?” as the latter emerged from the car. Wang Yeping slowly got out from the car after Jiang. Bush embraced her in American fashion after shaking hands. Mrs. Bush said to her gently, “Welcome to our home!” After taking group photos, Jiang walked off ahead and entered the front gate by himself. He left Wang behind with the President and Mrs. Bush, who, seeing the frail Wang hobbling along, came to her side and steadied her as the three walked slowly towards the house. The scene caused quite some laughter when word got out.

Before coming to the U.S., Jiang had asked the Chinese consulate to hire students to welcome his arrival, but during the trip itself he didn’t take these students seriously. Groups of Chinese students holding little red flags gathered at 4 a.m. Going without food, they rehearsed again and again the welcoming slogans they were told to use and the way to wave the flags. At each point along Jiang’s itinerary, they would come and wait for seven or eight hours. But every time without exception, when Jiang arrived he would vanish through a side entrance and not meet the students who had come to welcome him. Whether it was at the airport or a hotel, whether in Chicago, Houston, or Waco, Jiang was nowhere to be seen.

The real purpose of hiring the students was apparently to offset the impact that thousands of Falun Gong adherents created. Throughout his journey Jiang was literally fleeing from one place to the next, fearful of an encounter with the Falun Gong. Nonetheless, Falun Gong crowds and banners always seemed to find him.

7. Looking to Retreat

In 2002, the crackdown on Falun Gong in China met with resilience and resistance. Falun Gong students took further steps to expose the staged immolation, tapping into China’s TV stations from home and abroad, broadcasting documentary videos to the Chinese people directly. Jiang was under pressure to step down as voices opposing the suppression increased among the public and within official circles. All the while protests from Falun Gong adherents surged ahead and grew more widespread.

After being sued in Chicago, Jiang became aware of his failure to silence support for Falun Gong internationally and began to consider compromising.

History was on Jiang’s mind. Investigations following the Cultural Revolution resulted in the Gang of Four being removed from power. Military officials who had been involved in persecuting high-ranking CCP cadres and their children were purged quietly or taken to Yunnan Province for execution. The families of the victims were later notified that their loved one had “died in line of duty.” Aware of the upcoming campaign, Liu Chuanxin, the chief of Beijing’s Public Security Bureau at the time, committed suicide even before the probe began.

Jiang considered following a similar strategy regarding the persecution of Falun Gong. He instructed his followers in the U.S. to run the following proposal by Falun Gong adherents: the authorities would execute some rogue police officers who had tortured Falun Gong practitioners to death in exchange for Falun Gong’s withdrawal of the lawsuit.

As with the redress following the Cultural Revolution, the intent was to hold low-ranking military officials accountable for their crimes while absolving the person bearing the chief responsibility—the head of the CCP. Jiang’s proposal suggested even more drastic measures than those adopted following the Cultural Revolution, for it promised that the number of police officers executed would correspond to the number of Falun Gong practitioners who had been killed. [5]

Such terms of exchange, however, were neither fair nor reasonable. Over the years, Jiang had mobilized as much as one quarter—and at times even one third—of China’s financial resources to suppress Falun Gong. He even tried to achieve his purpose of eradicating the practice by changing laws so that he could label Falun Gong an “evil cult,” something ordinary policemen couldn’t do. Thus the real culprit behind the suppression was Jiang himself, not the police. Jiang was seeking to shift all responsibility to the police and thereby clear himself of accountability—something morally and legally untenable. Jiang moreover had no intention of stopping or easing his suppression of the Falun Gong. He wished merely to use the targeted police as scapegoats so as to avoid being sued.

8. A “Military Coup” at the 16th Party Congress

Jiang postponed the CCP’s 16th Congress from September to November in order to make time for his visit to the United States.

In the first half of 2002, Jiang began to worry about whether he should step down during the Party Congress. He had not thought of the high price he would pay later when he forced Qiao Shi to retire.

As he prepared to retire, Jiang was worried about Li Ruihuan, the chairman of China’s Political Consultative Committee and the man many officials had hoped would stay on at his post. Jiang felt uneasy about Li because Li, a popular pubic figure, did not unquestionably follow Jiang’s footsteps and had never made any public statements against Falun Gong. Jiang was especially frustrated because he could not get rid of Li the same way he had Qiao Shi; Li had not yet reached retirement age. If Li stayed on as a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo after the Party’s 16th Congress, he would pose a threat to Jiang’s power in retirement. He would be an obstacle to Jiang’s pulling strings from behind the scenes through officials in the politburo—officials Jiang posted there and who remained loyal to him. Jiang thus wished to unseat Li at all costs. Li, on the other hand, didn’t care as much for power. He even offered to retire along with Jiang.

On Nov. 8, 2002, the CCP’s 16th Congress opened, and Jiang was not on the preliminary list of members of the Party’s Central Committee. This meant that Jiang would not be on the new Central Committee and would not assume any leadership positions in the Party or elsewhere in the government.

Following five rounds of heated debate, the Standing Committee of the Politburo and the Politburo plenary voted to adopt a resolution on Jiang’s full retirement. Li Ruihuan kept his promise by agreeing to step down along with Jiang.

Party elders and Politburo members, relieved to see Jiang finally stepping down, were generous in their flattery of Jiang as they adopted the resolution. Jiang seized the opportunity to propose that his close followers be appointed to the Politburo, to which, surprisingly, there was no objection. The Party members were perhaps unaware of the consequences of such appointments: Jiang would become the real boss of the Politburo, since his men composed a majority in the body and its Standing Committee following the 16th Congress. Such an outcome was worse than that of the 15th Party Congress during which several of Jiang’s proposals were voted down owing to Li Ruihuan, Wei Jianxing, and others offsetting things in the voting.

Jiang should have been content. The members of the Standing Committee at the 16th Party Congress were in line with his principle of the “three majorities.” First, the majority of the officials were ones he had recommended; out of gratitude to Jiang, and to avoid what had happened to the Gang of Four, they would not act against his wishes; second, the majority of the officials were corrupt, so for their own safety they would not be sincere in fighting corruption, thereby minimizing Jiang’s risk of being investigated for the bribery he did using state money; and third, the majority of the officials had been harsh in suppressing Falun Gong, so the practice would never have its name cleared, lest these officials themselves face justice.

As the conference progressed, it appeared—to the joy of many in the Party and the public more broadly—that Jiang would step down fully. Jiang was still worried, however, for he needed the immunity granted to a head of state in order to deflect the lawsuit by Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S., who had charged him with genocide. It was not possible for him to remain China’s state president, and, as a former “head of state,” he would no longer enjoy the immunity once conferred. The only thing he could do was to hold on tightly to the “barrel of the gun” (as Mao once called it) by refusing to relinquish the post of Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). As such, he could control his successor Hu Jintao and interfere with judicial procedures. He could evade justice this way.

Once again, Zeng Qinghong stepped forward to help Jiang. He spoke with Zhang Wannian, Vice Chairman of the CMC, who was also scheduled to retire at the 16th Party Congress. The two arranged the renewal of Jiang’s mandate as China’s top military leader. Zeng promised Zhang the post of Minister of Defense if their plan were to succeed. Thus, on Nov. 13, at the fourth meeting of the Standing Committee of the Presidium of the 16th Party Congress, Zhang Wannian stood up abruptly and took a hardline stand, putting forward a “special motion” that was co-signed by 20 bureau members (all of whom were soldiers). The motion proposed that Jiang continue to serve as Chairman of the CMC in its new term.

Five reasons for keeping Jiang on in this capacity were listed by Zhang in the special motion. First, it was supposedly conducive to strengthening the work of the Party, government, and military after the changeover. Second, it was conducive to the leadership transition in the military. Third, it was conducive to dealing with unexpected changes or events in Sino-American relations that might arise as a result of U.S. domestic policy and foreign strategy—something important given present complexities in international affairs. Fourth, it was conducive to responding to changes in the political situation in Taiwan. And fifth, it was supposedly conducive to helping and assisting the new politburo in its work.

After Zhang spoke, Li Lanqing, whose son had been cleared of a 1 billion yuan lawsuit by Jiang, and Liu Huaqing, whose daughter Jiang had held hostage, seconded the “special motion” immediately. It was only then that other participants at the meeting realized a ploy, prepared behind their backs, was being hatched and that they stood to be affected. Some were so scared and unsettled that their faces turned visibly pale as the meeting progressed.

Zhang Wannian then turned to Hu Jintao and coerced Hu into taking a stand.

The room was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Everyone knew that if Hu didn’t agree, he would be taken away by the military and put under house arrest. Hu said in a low voice, “I fully agree with the proposal put forward by the 20 comrades, of whom Zhang Wannian, Guo Boxiong, and Cao Gangchuan are included.” Hu attempted to force a smile, but witnesses tell that the expression on his face was so empty he might as well have been crying. Zhang cast a fawning glance at Jiang Zemin, who nodded contentedly. One could tell Jiang was trying to hide a grin that was beginning to tug at the corner of his mouth.

The “special motion” was adopted with three abstentions—from Li Ruihuan, Wei Jianxing, and Cao Qingze.

Wei immediately made his stance clear: he accepted the “special motion” that had just been adopted, based on organizational principles, but was against it as a person. He argued that it was unusual and disrespectful to overrule a resolution (that had already been adopted after five rounds of discussion in the Politburo Standing Committee and plenary meeting) with a so-called “special motion” from the Standing Committee of the Presidium of the Party Congress. He concluded with the remark that those who initiated the proposal would be judged by history.

The turn of events was a planned, premeditated, and bloodless coup d’etat, staged by the military—notably Zhang Wannian and several other generals—at Jiang Zemin’s instigation. Jiang, with a proven record of shady dealings, had become accustomed to defying Politburo resolutions and using base means to force relevant parties to submit to his wishes. After he had his way, Jiang quickly forgot his promise to Zhang that he would be appointed to Minister of Defense. Instead, Zhang was asked to retire from the military. To this day, those like Zhang who have been used by Jiang flush with anger at the mere mention of Jiang’s name.

Wan Li, who had not participated in the Congress for health reasons, exploded with rage upon hearing what happened at the meeting. He accused Jiang of duplicity and protested the move by quitting the Standing Committee of the Presidium of the Party Congress.



[1] Robert Lawrence Kuhn, The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin (New York: Crown, 2004), 490.
[2] House Concurrent Resolution 188, “Expressing the sense of Congress that the Government of the People’s Republic of China should cease its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners,” July 25, 2002.
[3] A photo of the ad is available at:
[4] The suit charged Jiang and the “6-10 office” with these crimes under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act, and in accordance with the definitions outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. A copy of the complaint and other legal documents are available at
[5] By that time the number of Falun Gong adherents killed was already in the hundreds. The number of police executed would thus have been sizable.

From The Epoch Times

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