Former Deputy Director of China’s Gestapo-Like 610 Office Charged for Corruption

Police wear masks as they stand guard outside the No. 2 Intermediate People's Court where human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was being sentenced in Beijing on Dec. 22, 2015. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)
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By Frank Fang

Peng Bo, who once worked for a secretive agency that is an arm of the Chinese Communist Party in carrying out decades of atrocities, has been charged with corruption crimes.

China’s top procuratorate, the state prosecutor for the communist regime, announced the charges against Peng on Oct. 11. However, the announcement did not mention what human rights violations he might have committed while acting as a deputy director at the extralegal “610 Office.”

The state prosecutor said Peng was charged for crimes of illegally accepting “large amounts of bribery” and censoring the Internet for the benefit of certain companies. These crimes were committed during his long political career since 2006, during which he also held several different positions in China’s cyberspace sector, including being a deputy director at China’s Internet regulator Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Peng was a CAC deputy director from 2012 until 2015. Then he took on the position of the 610 Office’s deputy director, as well as being a team leader in managing “cyber public opinion” in the communist regime’s top legal body, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC).

His political career appeared to end in 2018. That year, he began working as a professor at his alma mater, Peking University.

Peng was placed under party investigation in March before he was stripped of his party membership five months later.

The 610 Office, named after the date of its founding on June 10, 1999, was established by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for the purpose of implementing the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Gong adherents. The office would function in a manner akin to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo, with powers overriding China’s courts and police.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice with meditative exercises and moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The practice became very popular by 1999, with official estimates putting the number of adherents in China between 70 and 100 million.

Jiang, who saw the practice’s popularity as a threat to the survival of the communist regime, launched a nationwide campaign to persecute Falun Gong adherents on July 20, 1999. Since then, millions have been detained inside prisons, labor camps, and other facilities in China, with hundreds of thousands tortured while incarcerated, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

The 610 Office has been directly responsible for many cases of torture and death, according to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that tracks the regime’s persecution of Falun Gong adherents.

In December 2004, Chen Xiuchong, who was 74 at the time and living in southern China’s Xiamen city, was beaten to death at her home by officials from the local 610 Office, according to Minghui.

In 2016, Minghui documented how the regional 610 Office in Dehui, a city in northeastern China’s Jilin Province, was subjecting local Falun Gong adherents to brainwashing sessions, in an effort to force them to renounce their beliefs.

One former 610 Office official has been placed under U.S. sanctions. In May, Yu Hui, who once headed the regional 610 Office in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was sanctioned by the State Department for his role in “gross violations of human rights, namely the arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners for their spiritual beliefs.”

Peng is the second official from the 610 Office that was purged by the Chinese regime this month.

Fu Zhenghua, the former head of the 610 Office and the former Chinese justice minister, was placed under investigation on Oct. 2. The party’s organ for policing corruption, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, hinted that the investigation was related to corruption crimes, but it did not say whether the commission was also looking at Fu’s possible involvement in human rights violations.

The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong, a U.S.-based nonprofit, has named Fu for his crimes against Falun Gong adherents.

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