Zhou Qiang, chief justice and president of the Supreme People’s Court of China, is a member of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) as well as the 610 Office Leadership Team. In the past, he served as the first secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Youth League, governor of Hunan Province, and Party secretary of Hunan Province.
In these positions, Zhou has actively advanced and participated in the persecution of Falun Gong launched by former CCP leader Jiang Zemin. Zhou’s involvement includes direct oversight of the Youth League as well as the court system in the suppression of Falun Gong practitioners and other innocent citizens. His actions have also incited public hatred of Falun Gong.
Falun Gong practitioners have submitted information on Zhou to governments in 29 countries. A request was made to levy sanctions against Zhou and his family members, including restricting their visas and freezing their assets.
Zhou Qiang (周强), male, Han ethnic group, was born in April 1960 in Huangmei County, Hubei Province. Besides being the chief justice and president of the Supreme Court, Zhou is also a member of the court’s Judicial Committee.
Below are positions Zhou has held.
- 1998 – 2006: first secretary of the Central Secretariat from the CCP Youth League
- 2006 – 2006: deputy Party secretary and acting governor of Hunan Province, first secretary of the Central Secretariat from the CCP Youth League
- 2006 – 2007: deputy Party secretary and acting governor of Hunan Province
- 2007 – 2010: deputy Party secretary and governor of Hunan Province
- 2010 – 2010: Party secretary of Hunan Province
- 2010 – 2013:Party secretary of Hunan Province, director of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Hunan Province
- 2013 – current: chief justice and president of the Supreme People’s Court of China, member of the Supreme Court’s Judicial Committee.
In addition, Zhou has been a member of the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th Central Committees of the CCP. He was a member of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People’s Congress.
Accounts of Major Crimes
Below is a list of Zhou’s involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong since 1999.
1999 – 2006: First Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CCP Youth League
As a junior organisation of the CCP, the Youth League consists of three million primary-level organisations with over 60 million active members. Ever since Jiang issued an order to officially suppress Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, the Youth League has been a major player in producing and propagating hate propaganda and lies about Falun Gong.
By issuing orders at all levels from the top down, the Youth Leagues have mobilised students and young adults in various activities to defame Falun Gong and convince people to avoid it.
For example, on July 23, three days after the persecution began, the Youth League Central Committee issued the following: “Notice Forbidding Youth League Members from Practicing ‘Falun Dafa.’” It later issued another notice regarding the “serious implementation” of the persecution policy as well as activities designed to slander Falun Gong throughout the Youth League system. B
y forcing every member to say “no” to Falun Gong, it incited students’ and young adults’ hatred for the practice.
At a “Seeing Through Falun Gong” forum hosted by the Youth League Central Committee on July 24, 1999, Zhou vowed to “resolutely support and execute” the suppression policy and remain closely aligned with the Central CCP.
During a conference on September 10, 1999, to plan for the publicity and distribution of China Youth Daily and China Youth in 2000, Zhou openly slandered Falun Gong and its founder Mr. Li Hongzhi to further fuel readers’ aversion.
On January 31, 2001, the Youth League Central Committee convened to organise a “Nationwide Anti-Cult Campaign in the Civilized Community of Youth.” The next day, the Youth League Central Committee sent out “The Work Plan on ‘Nationwide Anti-Cult Campaign in the Civilized Community of Youth’” through coded telegraph to all provincial-level Youth League agencies, requiring them to “highly emphasize, carefully deploy, and conscientiously implement” the assignment.
On January 31, 2001, the Youth League Central Committee and All-China Youth Federation held a forum in Beijing to defame Falun Gong and stir up hatred based on the recently orchestrated Tiananmen Self-Immolation Hoax.
Zhou gave a speech as first secretary of the Central Secretariat to further advance the campaign. More specifically, he emphasised all levels of Youth League agencies must be “fully clear” on the “long-term, intense, and complex” fight with Falun Gong.
Since February 7, 2001, a series of “Campaigns to Deny Cults on Campus” were rolled out in Beijing. The Youth League Beijing Municipal Committee compiled a Teaching Manual for Principals in the Beijing Municipal Legal System – Part 1: Recognising Falun Gong. On the first day of school, nearly 2,000 legal system principals lectured all primary and secondary students based on this material to incite hatred for Falun Gong.
Under the direction of the Youth League Central Committee, eight million students and young adults launched promotional activities on February 6, 2001, in nearly 1,000 communities in 100 cities across China. They took words out of context and made up lies to defame Falun Gong and further the persecution. Zhou and other officials attended the opening ceremony.
At the 2002 Nationwide Youth League Propaganda Meeting, which took place on March 1, 2002, Zhou declared another victory in the “war against Falun Gong,” namely, that rejecting “cults” had become a norm among the youth.
During the 15th National Congress of the Communist Youth League of China in July 2003, Zhou reviewed the progress of the Youth League’s work. One of the items was “organising the youth to fight with Falun Gong.”
2007 – 2013: Governor and Party Secretary of Hunan Province
After becoming the governor of Hunan Province in February 2007 and Party secretary of Hunan in April 2010 (he had been a deputy secretary since September 2006), Zhou continued the persecution of Falun Gong.
As a result, the Hunan Political and Legal Affairs Committee, 610 Office, and police arrested practitioners and sent them to forced labor camps or prisons. Hunan became one of the top 10 provinces in China to have the most Falun Gong practitioners who died as a result of the persecution.
Data collected by Minghui shows that 38 Hunan practitioners lost their lives to the persecution between 2007 and 2012. Many more were detained for lengthy periods of time, severely tortured, and impoverished due to huge fines and extortion. Zhou is undeniably responsible for these tragedies. Below are a few examples.
Mr. Xu Xingguo was arrested for talking to people about Falun Gong on February 28, 2007. A 610 Office agent had a private doctor and injected Mr. Xu in the forehead with an unknown drug, causing him to have tears, a runny nose, dizziness, and memory loss. After being released, Mr. Xu was very weak and suffered from dizziness and poor vision. He often fell for no reason. He died on November 14, 2007.
Mr. Guo Huisheng and his wife Ms. Li Jumei wrote a letter to Lanshan County police chief Xi Xiaogang in July 2009 requesting to release detained practitioner Ms. Xiao Silan. Xi reported this to the Hunan 610 Office, which directed the Jiahe County police to arrest the couple on August 6. The police ransacked their residence and took valuables worth hundreds of thousands of yuan.
Hu Yonghui, head of the Lanshan Domestic Security Division, and three other officials tied Mr. Guo’s hands behind his back and pushed him down on the floor to beat him until his head was bleeding. During his hearing, Mr. Guo still had wounds on his head and blood on his clothing. Several staff members had to carry him in and out due to his condition.
Mr. Guo died on October 12, 2009, at the age of 52. His wife Ms. Li had major vaginal bleeding after she was held in a detention centre for four months. She fainted and was released on medical bail. In March 2010, Ms. Xiao was sentenced to three years in prison.
Ms. Jiang Meilan, 65, was arrested at home on September 7, 2012, by five domestic security division agents under orders from the 610 Office. They took her to the Laodaohe Brainwashing Centre in Changsha.
When her son went there on September 30 to pick her up, Ms. Jiang was in a life-threatening condition and did not have a clear mind. A medical exam showed she had injuries all over from being shocked with electric batons. Her entire mouth and internal organs were damaged, and she had heavy vaginal bleeding. Despite medical intervention, she died on the night of October 2, 2012.
March 2013 – Current: President of the Supreme Court
Jiang and his followers mobilised the entire state apparatus to carry out the genocide against Falun Gong, including police, procuratorates, courts, and the justice system. They followed the persecution closely by conducting mass illegal arrests, handing out prison sentences with no legal grounds, and pushing out various “policies” in an attempt to legalise the suppression. During the past 21 years since the persecution started, many laws, especially criminal laws, have been violated by law enforcement and judicial systems.
The situation got worse after Zhou became president of the Supreme Court. Not only did he continue the persecution and order lower courts to sentence innocent practitioners, he also rejected all appeals related to Falun Gong and upheld the primary verdicts. As a result, a large number of practitioners were imprisoned and some lost their lives.
On May 1, 2015, the Supreme Court announced that it would “docket all cases and accept all litigations.” Based on that, many practitioners submitted criminal complaints to the Supreme Procuratorate and Supreme Court against Jiang for launching the suppression of Falun Gong.
The Supreme Court then illegally returned tens of thousands of cases to the local authorities, leading to many practitioners being arrested and harassed. Some of them were sentenced to jail or died due to torture.
Information on Minghui shows at least 7,056 incidents of persecution related to these lawsuits against Jiang occurred in 2015.
In 2016, at least 2,547 people were retaliated against for filing criminal complaints against Jiang using their real contact information.
Seven lost their lives:
- Mr. Wang Genfa (Gansu Province)
- Mr. Wu Yuanqing (Shandong Province)
- Ms. Liu Cuirong (Hebei Province)
- Mr. Zhang Nianjie (Hubei Province)
- Ms. Dai Fengzhen (Liaoning Province)
- Ms. Wang Xiulan (Henan Province)
- Ms. Jiao Guiying (Gansu Province)
Furthermore, 167 practitioners, the oldest one being 81, were sentenced to prison for filing criminal complaints against Jiang.
Mr. Liu Dianyuan, 79, from Liaoning Province was sentenced to 11 years.
In total, for filing criminal complaints against Jiang, 1,459 practitioners were harassed, 349 were arrested, 427 were administratively detained, and 312 were criminally detained.
On January 14, 2017, Zhou defamed Falun Gong at a conference for high court presidents and called for intensifying the persecution.
Mr. Zhang Shuyong, a practitioner in Shanxi Province, saw the news on China Central Television (CCTV). He contacted the station, asking them to publicise related legal documents as well as personnel involved in the defamation, such as video and audio recordings of the conference.
CCTV did not get back to Mr. Zhang. Instead, Zhang Xiangdong from the local domestic security division and other officers arrested Mr. Zhang several weeks later, on February 16. They beat him severely. As a result, Mr. Zhang was so weak and debilitated that he could barely move. After releasing him on medical bail in April 2017, the police arrested him again in June 2018 and brutally tortured him again. Later on, Mr. Zhang was forced to stay away from home to avoid further retaliation.
On January 25, 2017, the Chinese Supreme Procuratorate and Supreme Court published updated judicial interpretations, hinting that some of the re-interpretations could be used against Falun Gong practitioners.
In China, the legislature is the National People’s Congress while neither the Supreme Procuratorate nor the Supreme Court has the authority to make or interpret laws since they are part of the judicial system.
By issuing extralegal orders and policies against Falun Gong, Zhou violated the Chinese Constitution and other laws in his efforts to pressure lower-level officials to continue the persecution.
Data shows that, during Zhou’s tenure on the Supreme Court, at least 6,489 practitioners were sentenced, specifically:
- 796 in 2013
- 633 in 2014 (with terms up to 13 years and ages up to 83)
- 878 in 2015
- 1,294 in 2016
- 974 in 2017
- 933 in 2018 (there were 942 hearings, and practitioners were fined a total of 2,463,000 yuan; 99 practitioners were 65 or older)
- 789 in 2019 (including total fines of 3,731,000 yuan imposed on 309 practitioners)
- 192 in the first seven months of 2020.
The deaths are also striking. Between July 2013 and June 2020, at least 199 practitioners died in prison due to torture. Zhou must be held accountable for the torture, deaths, and cases of disability.
Under orders from Sun Yongbo, director of the Heilongjiang Public Security Department, mass arrests took place on the evening of March 29, 2013. The police forces involved were from the provincial public security department, Harbin City, Yilan County, Fangzheng County, and Tonghe County.
At least 61 practitioners were arrested, interrogated, and detained and their homes ransacked. Fourteen were sentenced to prison. Ms. Fei Shuqin, 63, was given a 14-year term.
Mr. Dong Hanjie, 60, is a senior engineer from Hebei Province. Yang Yugang from Zhuozhou Domestic Security Division and agents from the State Security Bureau in Beijing arrested Mr. Dong on February 25, 2014. While in Zhuozhou Detention Centre, Mr. Dong had two hearings and was sentenced to five years in Zhuozhou Court on February 11, 2015. On October 10, 2015, Mr. Dong died in Jidong Prison.
Bozhou City 610 Office in Anhui Province secretly instructed local courts on April 11, 2016, to sentence 14 practitioners who had been arrested in September 2013.
- Ms. Bai Jie
- Mr. Fu Mingyi
- Ms. Li Dongmei
- Mr. Wang Shoulue
- Mr. Zhu Shaojun
- Mr. Li Haifeng
- Mr. Cui Yong
- Ms. Wang Junzhi
- Ms Tang Jialing
- Ms. Zhao Sulan
- Ms. Zhang Sumei
- Ms. Jiang Yuehua
- Ms. Jia Hongjuan
- Ms. Zhu Fengmin.
Their terms ranged from 3 to 10 years. Among them, Ms. Bai Jie received 10 years and died on April 14, 2017, due to torture in Suzhou Prison. Ms. Li Dongmei could not take care of herself as a result of mistreatment. Ms. Zhu Fengmin went blind from torture.
Twelve Falun Gong practitioners in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, were sentenced on December 14, 2017. They include:
- Ms. Shi Xiangyun (8 years)
- Ms. Zhu Fengying (7.5 years)
- Ms. Zhao Xiru (7 years)
- Ms. Wei Xuwang (5.5 years)
- Ms. Jia Yanling (5 years)
- Mr. Bao Yi (5 years)
- Ms. Liu Jun (5 years)
- Ms. Ren Xiuying (4.5 years)
- Ms. Kong Qingyan (4 years)
- Ms. Wu Xi (3 years)
- Ms. Zhang Shuxia (3 years)
- Mr. Yang Qiji (1.5 years).
Their fines added up to 380,000 yuan. Ms. Shi, Ms. Wei, Ms. Zhu, Ms. Zhao, Mr. Bao, and Ms. Liu were in their 60s, while Ms. Ren and Ms. Yang were in their 70s.
On August 27, 2018, 76-year-old Ms. Song Zhaoheng and Ms. Liu Shuyan in Yushu City, Jilin Province, were arrested and detained on the same day. They had a hearing on November 16, 2018. The judge interrogated Ms. Song on January 14, 2019, and threatened to harm her daughter and give her nine years if she refused to renounce her faith. Ms. Song returned to the cell and died that same day.
Mr. Wang Dianguo and his wife Ms. Yu Baofang in Anshan City, Liaoning Province, were home with their son Wang Yu on July 4, 2017, when a group of people hammered the lock and rammed open the door. They arrested the couple and took them to local detention centres.
Ms. Yu died in Anshan Women’s Detention Centre 13 days later on July 17, 2017. Mr. Wang was tried on April 24, 2018, and given a four-year prison term. He was admitted to Dalian Prison in June 2018 and died at 4 p.m. on June 16, 2020.
Ms. Yuan Xuefen and Mr. Wen Juping, both from Sichuan Province, were arrested and detained in 2019 after they took down a poster that defamed Falun Gong. Ms. Yuan was given a two-year prison term while Mr. Wen was given eight years.
Mr. Luan Ning, 60, a former Education Centre Deputy Director at Ningxia Province Labor and Personnel Department, was arrested after mailing out letters about Falun Gong at the Yinchuan City Post Office. Under orders from the Ningxia PLAC and 610 Office, the Yinchuan Intermediate Court sentenced him to 10 years and fined him 100,000 yuan on April 16, 2020, for committing the “crime of subverting the power of the state.”
The suppression of Falun Gong in China is genocide. As the president and chief justice of the Supreme Court, Zhou ignored the legal rights of over 200,000 Falun Gong practitioners and their family members who filed criminal complaints against Jiang. Nor did he address the 21-year-long persecution that has resulted in deaths, forced organ harvesting, and psychiatric abuse. Zhou should be held accountable for his unlawful interpretation of the law beyond his legal authority, sheltering the actual criminals behind the persecution, and involvement in the genocide.
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