NEW YORK (FDI) – Who shot Falun Gong practitioner David Liang last week in South Africa is a question drawing international attention, and one casting light on the notorious records of two Chinese officials who were visiting South Africa at the time.
Chinese officials Zeng Qinghong (left) and Bo Xilai (right) were visiting South Africa when a Falun Gong practitioner was shot in an unusual attack that is drawing international attention. Zeng and Bo are known to be responsible for murder and torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
On June 28, nine Falun Gong practitioners from Australia, including David Liang, arrived in South Africa to assist locals in raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong, as well as the particular role of two visiting Chinese officials: Vice President Zeng Qinghong and Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai.
The practitioners intended to hold a press conference to expose the crimes of the two officials to the people and media of South Africa, and to have legal papers served against them.
While en route from the Johannesburg airport to Pretoria around 8:30 Monday evening, a white car with three occupants overtook them and fired at least five shots at their vehicle. The driver, Australian citizen David Liang, was hospitalized with bullet wounds and his car was disabled in the incident.
Who shot David Liang? How did the gunmen, who are still at large, identify their target? Why did they flee immediately after the shooting, without robbing them of anything? How did the shooters obtain their AK-47 rifle? Was it a coincidence that the two Chinese officials, Zeng and Bo, were visiting South Africa that week – two officials responsible for the torture and murder of large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners in China?
The following analysis will shed light on these two officials, China’s Vice President Zeng Qinghong and Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, and explore how this shooting may fit into a larger pattern of harassment and violence conducted outside of China’s borders as part of Jiang Zemin’s campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong throughout the world.
Top Human Rights Abusers Visit South Africa
Mr. Zeng Qinghong is considered to be one of the most powerful men in China. Zeng’s nickname among his colleagues in the Communist Party can be translated as “the black masked assassin.” Born in 1939 as the son of the former Director of the Bureau of Internal Affairs in the Chinese-Soviet government in the early years, Zeng followed Jiang Zemin to Beijing after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, and became his right-hand man and personal consultant.
Zeng is known for employing electronics to monitor CCP members in their offices and at their homes. Numerous Chinese sources say he holds “sensitive” information he collects and uses to curry favors and control CCP members. Zeng has reportedly hired criminal gangs to attack democracy activists in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Recently three talk show hosts in Hong Kong well known for their pro-democracy stance have suddenly quit their posts due to death threats.
From 1999 to 2002, Zeng held, among other offices, the directorship of the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party. In that role, he personally ordered all Communist Party members to take part in the persecution of Falun Gong and “prove their loyalty” to Jiang or else be stripped of their positions. He rewarded prisons, labor camps and individuals who persecuted Falun Gong most severely.
Zeng is also one of the founders of the secret “610 Office,” an extra-governmental body charged with eliminating Falun Gong. Under Zeng, the 610 Office (report) was given unrestricted jurisdiction to operate outside the scope of the Chinese constitution and to commandeer any local or national law enforcement resources.
On August 29, 2000, two Falun Gong practitioners in Mainland China filed a lawsuit against Zeng (along with Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan) for crimes in the persecution of Falun Gong. Nine days later the two men were arrested and imprisoned.
In October 2002, citizens and residents from six countries jointly submitted a legal case against Zeng and two other top Chinese officials to three United Nations bodies. Chinese authorities then abducted one of the plaintiffs’ family members in China, apparently in retaliation.
Accompanying Zeng to South Africa was Mr. Bo Xilai, the former mayor of Dalian City in Northeast China.
In an apparent attempt to curry favor with the then-Chinese leader, Bo enthusiastically carried out the orders of Jiang Zemin to persecute Falun Gong starting in 1999, resulting in at least 15 deaths of practitioners and hundreds of cases of torture during his tenure in Dalian. Jiang Zemin then personally promoted Bo to be governor of Liaoning province, which, under Bo, became one of the deadliest provinces for Falun Gong practitioners in China. (news)
In 2003, Liaoning Province reportedly invested five hundred million Yuan in Shenyang to construct China’s first prison complex built solely to detain Falun Gong practitioners. The huge complex covers 1.3 square kilometers.
On March 9th, 2004, “Friends of Falun Gong” and “The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong” (WOIPFG) submitted a list of 102 key responsible persons in the persecution of Falun Gong to the U.S. government, and urged the U.S. government to prohibit these people from entering the U.S. (news) Bo Xilai’s name is on this list.
On April 22, 2004, Bo was sued in a lawsuit charging him with genocide and torture while on a visit to Washington, D.C. (news) According to the process server, upon realizing he had been served with court papers, Bo threw the papers to the ground and his entourage immediately physically attacked the process server.
Bo Xilai is also among the defendants listed in a criminal lawsuit filed with the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Germany by forty Falun Gong practitioners.
More information on Zeng Qinghong (article) and on Bo Xilai (report).
What is bringing international attention to last week’s shooting in South Africa, however, is not merely Zeng and Bo’s notorious record against Falun Gong in China, but the fact that the attack fits a disturbing pattern of violence targeting Falun Gong practitioners outside China.
Soon after Chinese leader Jiang Zemin initiated the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, incidents appeared of Chinese officials threatening, harassing and assaulting Falun Gong practitioners, as well as pressuring foreign officials, businesses, and free media around the world to adopt Jiang’s stance against Falun Gong. (special report)
According to reliable sources inside China, as early as October 2000, Jiang had given the order to implement a policy to “intensify the campaign [against Falun Gong] overseas, collect more information and prevent protests.”
During the past several years, scores of cases of harassment or physical attacks against practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong have been documented ( report) in the United States, Canada, Australia, France and other nations.
The attacks are carried out by individuals who are either known to have close ties with Chinese consulates or believed to be hired thugs for consulate officials, fitting the pattern of crimes targeting Falun Gong practitioners outside of China.
A few examples:
- In 2000, Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders was physically jostled and threatened while wearing a shirt with a slogan in support of Falun Gong to a function held in the Canadian House of Commons and hosted by the Chinese Embassy.
- In 2002, a Chinese immigrant believed to be involved with local Chinese gangs was found guilty of battery for beating Falun Gong practitioners outside the Chinese consulate in Chicago (news).
- In 2003, the head of a Chinese business association in New York City with direct and public ties to the Chinese consulate was arrested for leading a group assault against Falun Gong practitioners (news).
Regarding last week’s shooting, there are a couple of noteworthy points that stand out. In more typical shooting and robbery crimes, the gunmen would have approached the disabled car, but in this case they drove off immediately without taking anything. What was their motive, if not robbery?
The weapon used was described as an AK-47 rifle, not at all common to that region, and reportedly hard to come by. Where did the gunmen obtain the weapon? The driver and passengers had just arrived at the airport a few hours prior to the shooting with no previous ties to anyone in South Africa. How did the gunmen identify their victims?
Who would wish to terrorize and disable the vehicle of perfect strangers to South Africa?
Since the shooting, Jing Shizhong, a columnist specializing in China’s affairs, commented on this incident, saying, “Zeng Qinghong gets backfired in South Africa.” Jing said that the gunmen who fired the shots in this incident and the gangs who were involved are very likely to be killed by Zeng in order to ensure this is a “closed” case.
“If Zeng or Bo are implicated in this case, currently under investigation by the Johannesburg police, it will fit the pattern of growing global violence instigated by Chinese officials and those loyal to Jiang Zemin, and at the same time, mark a terrifying escalation in this violent initiative,” commented Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman Mr. Erping Zhang.
Mr. Zhang adds, “We have a word for these kind of actions – hiring local gunman to carry out a drive-by shooting – in order to silence Falun Gong practitioners: It’s called terrorism.”