Wang Lijun's verdict today came as little surprise to most observers—15 years for crimes including defection and covering up a murder. While some observers say he escaped lightly, other say Wang has been spared of even more serious offences—that of killing prisoners of conscience for their organs.
Spokesperson for rights group the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, Wang Zhiyuan, says Wang did this while he was police chief of Jinzhou in Liaoning province.
[Wang Zhiyuan, World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong]
"A military policeman from Jinzhou, who was guarding the operating room where the live organ harvesting took place, told us about their crimes of taking organs from living Falun Gong practitioners. This military policeman said Wang at the time issued an order to kill, and eradicate all Falun Gong practitioners."
Falun Gong is a spiritual practiced rooted in traditional Chinese cultural beliefs. The Communist Party started a nationwide crackdown of the practice in 1999, after it gained widespread popularity throughout China. Human rights groups have named Wang Lijun, his former boss Bo Xilai and other senior Communist officials as being actively involved in the persecution, including forced organ harvesting of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners.
Zhang Sutian, columnist for the Epoch Times newspaper, says the Chinese regime has skirted these allegations against Wang Lijun, and his political allies, because of its wide-reaching implications for the Communist Party.
[Zhang Sutian, Columnist]
"Bo Xilai, Wang Lijun or Gu Kailai alone cannot shoulder such a major crime. The Communist Party eventually has to face up and pay for what it has done. The time just isn't ripe, yet. Right now, the Communist Party would not admit to Wang's involvement in organ harvesting. It only charged him with four crimes, which do not touch upon systemic problems, and will not endanger the Party."
The allegation of the Chinese regime's harvesting of organs from Falun Gong adherents and other prisoners of conscience was the subject of a Congressional Hearing in the US last week. The United Nations has also been urged to investigate the claims.
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