Tags: China | crime

Many Chinese Question Beijing's Anti-Crime Initiative

Many Chinese Question Beijing's Anti-Crime Initiative
Liu Han

By    |   Thursday, 20 February 2014 10:18 PM

Chinese prosecutors on Thursday announced criminal charges against Liu Han, one of the country’s most controversial corporate magnates. He stands accused of murder, trafficking in illegal firearms and participating in a “Mafia-style conspiracy” linked to nine killings, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Liu, former chairman of the Sichuan Hanlong Group mining company, was among 36 people charged with building a criminal network that spanned across much of China. He was arrested in March and charged with  harboring a murder suspect: his brother Liu Wei, who was accused of participating in a gangland-style triple murder in the brothers’ hometown in Sichuan province in southwestern China.  

The Journal quoted a report by the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua which said the 36 suspects were charged with crimes which included participating in a crime syndicate, homicide, extortion, bid-rigging and opening an illegal casino.

It is unclear how strong a case the state actually has against Liu Han, because authorities have yet to provide much in the way of detail about the charges.

The South China Morning Post reported that his case may be linked to a large-scale probe of retired Chinese security czar Zhou Yongkang. Zhou, who is believed to be in jail in Inner Mongolia, used to lead the country’s domestic security apparatus.

What is clear, however, is that a growing number of Chinese have grown cynical about claims that the ruling Communist Party is cracking down on crime. Many regard these announcements as efforts by powerful party bosses to divert attention from their own criminal activity or settle scores with political enemies.

Bloomberg News reported that when the government led by President Xi Jinping dispatched 6,000 officers to the southern city of Dongguan earlier this month in an effort to clamp down on thousands of businesses involved in the burgeoning sex trade there, they were surprised by the public reaction.

Instead of being applauded for getting tough on crime, the government was condemned for mistreating prostitutes.

The regime and the state-controlled CCTV station which reported on the Dongguan sex trade “have in fact been subject to nine days of abuse, contempt and ridicule” from Chinese bloggers, Bloomberg reported, with many urging Dongguan (home to half a million prostitutes)  to “hang in there” and survive the crackdown.

Some view the situation as an example of class divide in the world’s largest communist state.

“In a nation where people sell their souls for wealth,” a female blogger said, “Can’t we bear a little sympathy for those selling their bodies?” 

“At some point in the last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping must have asked himself, ‘Since when do the Chinese people have more sympathy for prostitutes than for the government?’ Bloomberg opined.

The Chinese government, clearly caught off guard by the vehemence of the reaction, has responded by issuing guidelines ordering the media to support the anti-prostitution campaign.  According to Bloomberg News, some of the harshest criticisms of the policy have been deleted from dissident websites.

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Chinese prosecutors on Thursday announced criminal charges against Liu Han, one of the country’s most controversial corporate magnates.
Thursday, 20 February 2014 10:18 PM
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