Saturday, April 5, 2008

China order targets dissent

Article published Apr 4, 2008
China order targets dissent

April 4, 2008

By Bill Gertz -

China's ruling Communist Party has ordered regional party leaders to use military and intelligence units to crack down "harshly" on dissent and step up spying throughout the country as part of security measures before the upcoming Olympic Games, according to a purported internal party document.

The 3,600-character document outlines the party's plan for countering expected unrest and opposition, like the violent protests that began last month in Tibet and neighboring Sichuan province that have been met with attacks on civilians by Chinese military and security forces.

The Washington Times obtained the document from Chinese sources and verified through authoritative sources that it appears to be a legitimate Central Committee document. A translation from Chinese was checked with several U.S. specialists.

President Bush last week called Chinese President Hu Jintao and said he was concerned about the crackdown in Tibet and called on him to authorize talks with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled leader.

"As the Beijing Olympics approaches, various enemy forces inside and outside our border are accelerating their sabotage activities with a focus on the Olympics," the party document states, adding that these forces will exploit the Olympics to "attack our social and political system."

The document identifies the enemy forces as "national separation forces" and violent terrorists, including Tibetans and separatists in western Xinjiang province, who have "joined forces" with dissident religious groups such as the Falun Gong Buddhist group.

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Maintaining security at the Olympics, to be held Aug. 8 to 24, will be a "serious test" for Chinese security organs and political and judicial authorities, the document says. The report lists eight objectives as part of the Olympics security plan.

The document apparently was produced by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, specifically its Central Political and Judiciary Affairs Committee that has authority over the Ministry of Public Security, which controls the police and security forces, and the Ministry of State Security, which conducts intelligence gathering. The committee is headed by Zhou Yongkang, one of nine senior party leaders and minister of public security until last year.

The document provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the secretive ruling party. It repeatedly uses the phrase "strictly guard against and harshly crack down," in directing local party officials. The document calls for officials to counter "infiltration and sabotage activities" by "taking advantage of inner conflicts among our people." The plan also called for taking action against the Falun Gong and other religious groups, as well as targeting criminal activities by organized crime groups like the Asian Triads.

Party orders called for cracking down on financial crimes, illegal fundraising and pyramid schemes and other activities the party views as "destructive to the order of the socialist market economy."

Chinese Embassy Press Counselor Wang Baodong said he did not know how the document was obtained by The Times but noted that "I strongly question the authority of the document."

"After saying that, it is common practice for the hosting country of the Olympics to take relevant measures to ensure that the games are held smoothly and take into consideration the safety and security of the dignitaries and sports participants," Mr. Wang said.

Mr. Wang said he has read official documents and has "very rarely" seen terms such as "enemies" and "harshly crack down" used.

The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in India, estimated that 140 people were killed in the Chinese crackdown on demonstrations that began March 14. A spokesman for the International Campaign for Tibet said 41 people killed in the fighting were identified and photos of at least 20 others who were killed remain unidentified.

China's government claims it killed no one and blamed some 22 deaths on Tibetans. Beijing media also accused the Dalai Lama of ordering suicide attacks by Buddhist monks, a charge denied by the leader.

Amnesty International, in a report Tuesday, confirmed that Chinese authorities have launched a pre-Olympics crackdown on human rights activists and journalists.

"The crackdown on activists has deepened, not lessened, because of the Olympics," said Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan in releasing the report Tuesday.

Several activists were sentenced to prison in the past three weeks, the report stated.

In addition to stifling dissent, China's rulers ordered security forces to remove street beggars and criminals before the Olympics, according to the party document.

Other targets of the stepped up security measures include drug addicts, people released from prison or forced labor, unemployed young people and "highly dangerous people in the mobile population," the document states.

The plan calls for creating a security "moat" around Beijing by setting up checkpoints for people and vehicles entering the capital. Controls also will be placed on Olympics venues by creating security cordons about 200 yards around each stadium or sports facility.

In responding to "sudden incidents," Chinese security and military forces will use lessons from other Olympic Games hosts and train military teams that will "answer the calls when needed and be able to come to the battle and be able to win."

On intelligence gathering, the document says boosting intelligence gathering is the key to "guaranteeing the safety of the Olympics."

"Public security organizations, state security organizations, military intelligence organizations should leverage their own edge and cooperate with each other to mobilize resources to gathering information that could impact the internal stability of our country," the document says.

The document orders spy agencies to develop spies deep inside "enemy" organizations to gain advance word on planned activities aimed at interfering or disrupting the Olympics.

Intelligence analysis should be stepped up to learn "hostile forces and violent terrorist forces moves," and an "incentive mechanism" should be created to help gather intelligence.

The document says that the Olympics is a sports event on a "super scale" and that making the 2008 games "a great success" is "the common wish of the widest population as well as the work focus of the entire Chinese Communist Party and the entire nation."

Larry M. Wortzel, chairman of the congressional U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, said China's Olympics Games will focus global attention on Beijing's treatment of its citizens and whether the Communist Party follows through on promises to expand press and Internet freedom during the games.

"China's leaders are also conscious that there are groups hungering for better treatment or religious freedom that will use this attention to demonstrate or disrupt the games," Mr. Wortzel said in an interview.

"This is why the communist leadership has alerted the security and police apparatus of the country," he said. "This tension will create serious dilemmas for the U.S. and western democracies."

Chinese security services will ask for U.S. and other foreign nations to provide police, bomb detection and surveillance equipment, he said.

"But the treatment of minorities and suppression of freedom of religion and assembly in China will create moral dilemmas for many countries, including our own," Mr. Wortzel said. "Ultimately, Americans will be concerned that after the Olympics, such equipment would be turned against innocent Chinese citizens."

The disclosure of internal Chinese party documents is rare but not unprecedented. In 2001, a large volume of previously classified party documents was published in the book "The Tiananmen Papers." It provided details on internal power struggles within the Communist Party over how to manage mass pro-democracy protests in Beijing's main square.

Chinese military forces were called in to put down the protests, killing thousands and imprisoning more.

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