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Chongqing, one of China’s largest cities and well known as a boomtown, has been in the news a lot this year for all the wrong reasons.Most recently, there’s been a string of sex scandals involving officials pictured or taped with their young mistresses. More importantly than that, however, has been the case of Bo Xilai, who had been the party boss of Chongqing and waged a war on organised crime in the city before his wife murdered a British business man and he was expelled from the Communist Party.
Bo’s fall from grace has led to a widespread reexamination of his policies in Chongqing, and in particular his war on crime. Caixin media last week published an incredible investigative account of how two businessmen brothers, Gong Ganghua and Gong Gangmo, were pressured into lying about their own lawyer, Li Zhuang, and ultimately sent him to prison.
The article, titled “In Bo Xilai’s City, a Legacy of Backstabbing”, is well worth reading in full, but some excerpts are especially shocking:
Officers working the unit Wang [Lijun, former Chongqing police chief] formed to round up alleged gangsters fought back by nabbing Gong’s son Gong Peng. The son told Caixin he was taken into custody at a hospital just after his wife gave birth to their son, and was later tortured at a detention centre called Tieshanping.
Wang [Yong, driver for the brothers] said he was beaten bloody for more than two hours at a railway station police office in Panzhihua, near Chengdu after claiming no knowledge of Gong’s whereabouts. And police threatened to jail him for accommodating Li, whom they described as a “black-hearted lawyer.”
“I saw your younger brother today,” Gong remembers being told by Li. “He burst into tears. He had been hanging by handcuffed wrists from jail window bars for eight days and was incontinent. The handcuffs had dug into his flesh, and the scars were obvious.”
For many, the article is a confirmation of their worst fears about Chinese corruption.