(Minghui.org) Many people have a hard time understanding why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its former leader, Jiang Zemin, would start such a severe persecution against a peaceful meditation group like Falun Gong. Not only did this persecution jeopardize the lives of tens of millions of practitioners, but it also was the last straw for many Chinese. Appalled by the Party's latest brutality, as of April 2015 over 200 million Chinese people have quit the CCP and its related organizations.

What motivated the Party to launch such an ultimately destructive initiative? Simply, the persecution was driven by the Party leader. By reviewing historical records from the time the persecution started, we are able to isolate clear instances of Jiang's abuse of power. Just like his predecessor Mao Zedong, Jiang would stop at nothing to achieve his personal political agenda.

Interfering with the State Council

After practitioners were arrested and detained in Tianjin on April 23, 1999 while trying to peacefully appeal their rough treatment by a few local officials, they were told that they needed to instead go to Beijing to appeal.

Since the Appeals Office was under the supervision of the State Council, Premier Zhu Rongji met with the practitioners' representatives on April 25 and assured them that they were free to follow their belief. Word was that the lone officials were out of line.

A spokesperson from the Appeals Office even made an announcement, reiterating China's policy of freedom of belief.

Many overseas news media reported this and considered it an improvement in China's government. Unfortunately, Jiang was not happy with this outcome.

According to a documentary published on the Epoch Times, Jiang sent a letter to each member of the Central Politburo the same night, attacking Falun Gong.

During a meeting the next day, Zhu Rongji said that Falun Gong practitioners only wanted to improve their mind and body.

“It makes no sense to claim they have a political agenda,” Zhu said. “We should just let it be.”

But Jiang reportedly jumped up and pointed his finger at Zhu.

“Nonsense! Nonsense! This is a critical issue that involves the life and death of our Party. Some of our comrades really have no political sensibility,” he said.

He then instructed Luo Gan, former secretary of the Political and Legislative Committee (PLAC), to investigate Falun Gong in detail.

“This must be our top priority! We must investigate every detail and leave no gaps!” Jiang yelled.

Knowing the nonpolitical nature of Falun Gong, all the members of the Politburo Standing Committee—except for Jiang—refused to suppress Falun Gong. Jiang was the 1/7th minority.

But that didn't stop him. In a move reminiscent of his predecessor Mao, Jiang created a special task force dubbed the “610 Office” after its date of establishment, June 10. The office operates as an extralegal entity with the power to override executive and judicial authority at every level of government, and was to be the main executor of Jiang's will regarding the persecution.

Hijacking the Legislative System

Although Jiang gave the order to start persecuting Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, there was no legal basis for such a massive suppression. So he decided to fabricate a basis of his own.

Under his instruction, the National People's Congress passed an “anti-cult” law on October 30, 1999. Although such an ex post facto, or retroactive legislation is generally prohibited in legal communities worldwide, Jiang and his followers used it against Falun Gong practitioners.

Under this fabricated law, Wang Zhiwen and three other members of the Falun Dafa Research Association were sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment. Luo Gan strategically selected the trial date December 26, 1999, the Sunday after Christmas when most Western journalists would be on break.

More than 300 practitioners arrived on-site to apply as bystanders according to courtroom protocol, but all of them were arrested and later transferred to detention centers or labor camps.

Jiang did not even play by his own rules when it came to implementing his law. Although the law only listed certain actions as illegal—which practitioners did not violate in the first place—Jiang and his media propaganda abused the law by claiming that all Falun Gong practitioners were criminals.

In the past 16 years, most of the practitioners who received an official sentence were convicted under Article 300 of the China Criminal Law. Although China's Supreme Procuratorate and Supreme Court published judicial interpretations to frame Falun Gong, such actions were actually unlawful because under Chinese law, such interpretation should be enacted by the legislature.

Moreover, Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution clearly protects freedom of belief. That means that suppressing that Falun Gong practitioners because of their belief alone has no legal standing in the first place.

Manipulating Military Power

As chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) between 1989 and 2004, Jiang abused his military power as well in order to initiate and intensify the persecution.

After the six other Politburo Standing Committee members rejected Jiang's proposed persecution of Falun Gong, he turned to Liao Xilong, Commander of the Chengdu Military Region and Deputy Secretary of the Party Commission. Liao worked with the Intelligence Division in the Chengdu Military Region and fabricated information claiming that Falun Gong would overthrow the CCP. Using this information, Jiang pressured all the standing members of the Politburo to support him in the suppression.

Shortly after the peaceful protest of April 25, Jiang also ordered Zhang Wannian, vice chairman of the CMC, to immediately prepare the nation’s military and armed police forces for a campaign against Falun Gong. The General Staff Department and General Political Department immediately issued an urgent order banning active service staff, retired military personnel and their families from practicing Falun Gong. This order was repeatedly emphasized throughout all levels of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Although the persecution was fully implemented in 1999, the costly campaign met with resistance in 2000 as more people became weary of the unjust persecution.

Jiang and his regime then staged the Tiananmen Square self-immolation on January 23, 2001, which depicted supposed Falun Gong practitioners dousing themselves with gasoline and lighting themselves on fire in the name of their belief. This horrific propaganda stunt brainwashed many of the Chinese people thoroughly and brought the persecution to a new level.

Outside China, this incident was soon revealed to be a hoax, as illustrated by the award-winning documentary False Fire. When several practitioners broke through state-controlled media propaganda to broadcast these facts in Changchun City on March 5, 2002, Jiang ordered the corresponding military region to be in second-degree combat readiness. Both the Changchun City military sub-command and Jilin Province armed police forces were in first-degree combat readiness.

Liu Jing, 610 Office director and Vice Minister of Public Security Ministry, went to Changchun in person to follow up on this matter. Within several days about 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested, and seven died of severe torture while in police custody.

In addition, the military force also played critical roles in organ harvesting of living prisoners of conscience, internet censorship, and the attempted assassination of Mr. Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong.

Promoting Key Perpetrators

After Liao provided falsified intelligence information for Jiang, he was promoted to director of the General Logistics Department of the PLA and became a member of the Central Military Commission of the Party. He later played an instrumental role in establishing the organ trade supply chain by providing military support.

Another example of someone who furthered his political career by jumping on the persecution bandwagon is Bo Xilai, Mayor of Dalian when Jiang visited the city in August 1999.

“Be tough with Falun Gong and you will be awarded with a promotion,” said Jiang.

Bo took this information to heart. He immediately ordered the expansion of prisons and labor camps in order to accommodate larger numbers of practitioners. His brainwashing strategies at Masanjia Labor Camp were singled out as a model for nationwide study.

Bo was soon promoted to governor of Liaoning Province.

His key role in the organ harvesting of living practitioners and the preserved body exhibitions led to one of the darkest chapters of human civilization.

Before Jiang resigned as the CCP leader in 2004, he promoted more trusted aides to higher positions by expanding the 7-member Politburo Standing Committee to include nine members. This way, he was able to continue influencing China's politics and sustaining his persecution of Falun Gong.

Many of these key players of the suppression have recently been taken down in internal political struggles. After Wang Lijun, police chief of Chongqing City, was convicted in September 2012, Bo was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to life imprisonment. Li Dongsheng, Vice Minister of the Public Security Ministry and director of the 610 Office, was reportedly placed under investigation in December 2013. Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of the CMC, died of cancer in March 2015 while facing a court martial.

Even Zhou Yongkang, former member of the Politburo Standing Committee and Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC, 2007-2012), was charged with bribery, abuse of power and the intentional disclosure of state secrets.

Although their charges do not include the persecution of Falun Gong, or the illicit organ trade, it will not take long for the truth to surface.

Upon banning Falun Gong in July 1999, Jiang claimed, “I don't believe that the CCP cannot conquer Falun Gong!”

Sixteen years have passed. Over 200 million people have quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. Jiang's arrogance and contempt of Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, principles in alignment with traditional values and the common good, will ultimately lead to his, and the Party's, downfall.