As Bitter Winter predicted, expulsion from the CCP has been followed by arrest and prosecution.
by Gao Zihao
Bitter Winter has reported previously about the fall of Peng Bo, former no. 2 of the CCP machine fighting the banned religious movements labeled as xie jiao (“heterodox teachings,” sometimes less correctly translated as “evil cults.”)
When Peng was expelled from the CCP on August 17, with an unusual lengthy note of explanation accusing him of taking bribes and engaging himself in “superstitious activities,” Bitter Winter predicted he would soon go to jail.
It was not a difficult prediction, and Peng was jailed last week. Under the anti-corruption directives of President Xi Jinping, it risks a long jail sentence, if not execution.
The Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post took the opportunity of the fall of Peng Bo to explain to its readers that as a “cult-buster” the bureaucrat was fighting “cults,” i.e., “groups engaging in inhumane, antisocial or unconstitutional practices, which could involve violent crimes, fraud, sexual abuse.”
This is only true if you believe the CCP propaganda. The CCP often accuses groups labeled as xie jiao or their leaders of fraud and sexual abuse, but in many if not most cases the only charge is that their teachings are incompatible with the CCP ideology and generate hostility to the government. It is difficult, for example, to accuse the Shouters, the first group historically labeled a xie jiao, of “fraud or sexual abuse,” and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a peaceful and puritanical group, have also been called a xie jiao in recent years. In the cases of other groups labeled as xie jiao, charges of abuse or violence are largely trumped up.
This is not a problem with the South China Morning Post article only. It was a problem with Peng Bo. Most of the accusations launched against xie jiao were so obviously false that they did not stick. Few took them seriously in China, although they were propagated by some CCP’s “fellow travelers” and hired guns abroad. Most importantly, black propaganda, arrests, and even executions failed to eradicate movements labeled as xie jiao that have been active in China for decades, such as The Church of Almighty God and Falun Gong (whose meditation to boost the immune system made it popular again during the COVID-19 crisis), or to prevent the birth and growth of new “heterodox” religious groups.
Perhaps Peng Bo took bribes or, like many other CCP bureaucrats, engaged in divination or feng shui. But he is in jail mostly because his attempts to eradicate the xie jiao proved remarkably ineffective.