It is hard to imagine that the certificates of legal professional qualifications would be validated by criminals. But this is really happening in China. This is just one among thousands of absurd stories in China’s judicial system, which can be summarized in the following four paradoxes.

Paradox 1: When legal professional qualifications are certified by criminals

Recently, Fu Zhenghua, China’s former minister of justice, stood trial for accepting bribes worth over 100 million yuan ($14.7 million) and covering up his brother’s alleged crimes, reported South China Morning Post on July 29. 

Fu pleaded guilty before the Changchun Intermediate People’s Court in the northeastern province of Jilin on July 28. He was once one of China’s most powerful police chiefs and a rising political star. According to The Diplomat, he played a pivotal role in the July 9, 2015, mass arrest of rights lawyers and civil groups. The incident is usually referred to as “the 709 crackdown.” From 2015 to 2016, he also led the “610 Office,” an extra-legal organization specifically tasked with the persecution of spiritual practice Falun Gong.

With the fall of Fu, a paradox that embarrassed many people emerged. China News revealed that when Fu served as the minister of justice, he signed all certificates for the candidates who had passed the judicial professional qualification exam. But now, since Fu has become a criminal, their legal professional qualifications turn out to be certified by a lawbreaker.

Before Fu, Wu Aiying, who served as justice minister for 12 years from 2005 to 2017, was also investigated for corruption and expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2017. Therefore, those who obtained their legal professional qualifications in those years now have to face the reality that their certificates were signed by Wu.

Paradox 2: When law enforcement cadres break the law

Fu Zhenghua, who came under investigation in 2021, is not the only high-profile official in China’s law enforcement and judicial agencies who “fell” in recent years. On July 8, Sun Lijun, China’s former police vice minister, pleaded guilty to taking bribes, manipulating the securities market, and he illegally possessed firearms, reported SCMP.

Peng Bo, former deputy chief of the Cyberspace Administration of China, was investigated for corruption and prosecuted, according to SCMP. Peng was charged with Party disloyalty, receiving bribes, and failing to supervise the internet in China.

Both Sun Lijun and Peng Bo shared a common background with Fu: They all worked in the 610 Office.

In the 1990s, tens of millions of Chinese began to practice Falun Gong, the most popular of the many traditional meditation methods at the time. At a series of conferences in 1999, then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin saw Falun Gong’s large number of followers and their spiritual beliefs as a challenge to the CCP and its atheistic Marxist ideology. 

According to Xin Ziling, the former director of the press of the PLA Military Academy, Jiang decided to set up the 610 Office because of the uncertain attitude of the Politburo members toward his demands to suppress Falun Gong. Xin said the establishment of this extrajudicial organization enabled Jiang and his allies to bypass the Politburo to persecute.

The persecution of Falun Gong began on July 20, 1999, and within a few months tens of thousands of followers were illegally arrested. In the decades that followed, millions of believers were detained in brainwashing centers, forced labor camps, or died of beatings, torture, or organ harvesting for profit.

During Jiang’s tenure and after his ouster, officials linked to the 610 Office held power. From 2003 to 2007, Luo Gan, head of the 610 Office, served as a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. Zhou Yongkang, who ran the 610 Office from 2007 to 2012, also served as a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and was in charge of the armed police force. Zhou, who is regarded as a “tiger” in the anti-corruption campaign by Xi Jinping, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015. 

Paradox 3: When police act as gangsters

In a democratic society, police safeguard the lives and property of the people. They reduce the incidence and fear of crime, and enhance public safety, with honor and integrity. But in a communist regime like China, the police force is employed like a knife in the hand of the Communist Party to suppress the people and maintain its tyranny.

As The BL recently reported, thousands of bank depositors whose money has been frozen since April gathered in Zhengzhou city, the capital of Henan province, to protest. On July 10, a group, including children and the disabled, assembled outside the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China at around 5 a.m. and were brutally beaten by the plainclothes police.

According to Apple Daily, after police surrounded the bank customers and a serious scuffle erupted between the two sides. Videos show men dressed in white punching, kicking, and brutally pulling people. Plainclothes police beat men to the point of heavy bleeding; women were attacked, some even vomiting blood, and the disabled were not exempt. 

Bank customers, who were hammered to the point of desperation, told Reuters that police, village Communist Party officials, and employers had visited them and their families in recent weeks to try and get them not to protest, including the threat of losing their jobs.

Paradox 4: When judges fail to uphold justice

The court is often viewed as the place where justice starts, but Chinese courts are not independent from the Communist Party and fail to fulfill their mission. Minghui.org reported numerous cases where Chinese judges illegally tried and sentenced Falun Gong practitioners for their beliefs, which go against the Chinese Constitution and the law.  

An ancient saying goes: “If bad deeds are not punished by men, they will be punished by Heaven.” Chinese traditional culture believes in the causal relationship and karmic retribution of good and evil. A report from Minghui.org lists over 20,000 officials who have faced mishaps after persecuting practitioners. 

For example, Chen Yuanchao, a Haikou Court judge in Hainan province, tried four Falun Gong practitioners on November 12, 1999, and sentenced them to up to 12 years in jail. For this, Chen and the court received a Second-Class Award from Luo Gan. Two years later, Chen was diagnosed with lung cancer and died. 

Chen is not the only example. Zou Bihua, deputy president of the Shanghai Supreme Court, died at the age of 47 in December 2014 after sentencing Falun Gong practitioners to prison. Due to torture in jail, some of these practitioners ended up disabled and some died.

“Chen Jingqiang, deputy president of Kangping Court in Liaoning Province, also incurred karmic retribution after persecuting Falun Gong. He was fired and sentenced to three years with three years’ probation for bribery. In August 2014, he went fishing and was struck dead by lightning,” reported Minghui.

“When Wang Jingye, presiding judge of Hecheng Court in Hunan Province, went fishing in July 2013, he fell in the river and drowned. He was 48. Wang had sentenced at least 17 Falun Gong practitioners because of their faith. Among them, Mr. Pan Jianjun was sentenced to seven years and died as a result of torture,” added Minghui.

Which way to choose?

After the story of Chen Yuanchao was reported on television, some judges responsible for Falun Gong cases requested sick leave and some wanted to change jobs. Those are among the ones who understand the evil nature of China’s judicial system. They can distinguish right from wrong and choose for themselves an escape route. But many others, who are still the CCP propaganda or are seduced by material gains like money and power, continue nourishing the evil spirit. 

Though the day of collapse of the whole Chinese communist regime could possibly be delayed due to its power to mobilize resources, the date of the day reckoning for each individual might coming sooner than they think. As the ancient text “Treatise On the Response of the Tao” (Taishang Ganyi Pian) says, “Misfortune and blessings do not come to us without reason, we bring them upon ourselves. The consequences of good and evil deeds are like the shadow, following the body wherever it goes.”

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