Fu Zhenghua helped bring down one of China’s most corrupt officials. So why is the country cheering his downfall?

Fu Zhenghua, China’s former justice minister and deputy police chief, appeared to have all the stars aligned for a high-flying official profession. However as a substitute, the 66-year-old has now turn out to be a goal himself in Xi’s relentless crackdown on graft and disloyalty, which critics say has additionally been used to purge political rivals.

On Saturday, the ruling Communist Social gathering’s anti-corruption watchdog introduced Fu is beneath investigation for “critical violations of celebration self-discipline and regulation.”

The one-sentence assertion didn’t supply any particulars, but intriguingly sparked an outpouring of cheers and applause on-line — from rank-and-file law enforcement officials and jail guards to investigative journalists, human rights attorneys and intellectuals.

In Xi’s China, the purges of political rising stars and highly effective officers have turn out to be a standard prevalence. However what’s outstanding about Fu’s downfall is how extensively it is being celebrated — each by individuals working for the regime, and by those that have been topic to its repression.

Fu lower his enamel as a felony investigator for the Beijing police. He first made his title in 2010 — simply months after being named the metropolis’s police chief — when he launched a prostitution crackdown on a number of high-end nightclubs stated to have influential political connections.

His willingness to problem the enterprise pursuits of highly effective households gained him reward in state media and the belief of the management. In 2013, Xi appointed him to spearhead a graft probe into Zhou Yongkang, China’s former safety tzar and retired member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the pinnacle of energy in the celebration. Zhou was jailed for all times in 2015 for corruption and abuse of energy.
However Fu was not simply taking over corrupt political elites. As the deputy minister of public safety, in 2013 he unleashed a sweeping crackdown on opinion leaders on Chinese language social media website Weibo, detaining a number of high-profile commentators with giant followings. He was additionally in cost of the nationwide roundup of human rights attorneys and activists in 2015, in what has turn out to be infamously referred to as the “709 crackdown,” in accordance with individuals near the detained attorneys.

Following information of his downfall, a number of veteran investigative journalists stated on social media that they had been focused by Fu for his or her hard-hitting experiences, on matters starting from unlawful detention of petitioners to native authorities corruption.

Yu Jianrong, a distinguished Chinese language sociologist at the Chinese language Academy of Social Sciences, a authorities suppose tank, accused Fu of attempting to silence him in 2010 for talking out in opposition to Beijing’s alleged persecution of petitioners.

“The targets of Fu Zhenghua’s crackdown are individuals at the core of China’s civil society. Due to this fact, the country’s entire mental sector and the wider public are all thrilled by (his fall from grace),” stated Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing.

“His rise to energy represented the aggressive iron-fist strategy that has formed China’s governance over the previous decade.”

Fu’s heavy-handed strategy was additionally utilized to law enforcement officials and jail guards, some of whom applauded their former boss’ downfall as “most gratifying.” Commenting on social media, many accused Fu of imposing grueling and unreasonably harsh necessities on grassroots officers, akin to not permitting jail guards to take breaks throughout night time shifts.

“After the downfall of a senior official in the judicial system, the huge grassroots law enforcement officials and attorneys all had the identical response and united in celebration — it is not a simple factor to realize for an official,” a columnist stated on Weibo.
Fu is the newest senior official to be ensnared in Xi’s large purge of China’s home safety businesses, which was launched final yr. It comes forward of a serious celebration management reshuffle subsequent fall, when Xi is anticipated to carry on to energy for a 3rd time period — turning into the first Chinese language chief to take action in additional than twenty years, after he abolished presidential time period limits in 2018.

Officers in China’s home safety equipment had been urged to “flip the blade inwards and scrape the poison off the bone,” and to show “two-faced individuals” who’re disloyal and dishonest to the celebration.

The announcement of the investigation into Fu comes simply days after Solar Lijun, one other former vice minister of public safety, was expelled from the celebration and accused of corruption and “harboring vastly inflated political ambitions.” A 3rd deputy police chief and former head of the worldwide policing company Interpol was sentenced final yr to 13 and a half years in jail for corruption.

Wu, the analyst, stated the sequence of purges betray the fragility of belief from the Chinese language management in the country’s home safety businesses.

“It is very troublesome for Beijing to have political belief. This is the greatest disaster in its governance,” he stated. ​​​

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