The CCP is so concerned with the banned qigong movement that it has set up a special task force to fight it.
by Deng Huizhong
On April 27, 2021, a somewhat sensational case was tried by the Zhaoyuan City People’s Court of Zhaoyuan, Shandong province. The main defendant, Sun Xuhui, had been vilified by the local media before the trial. She made a full confession, stating that she had led a xie jiao and “brainwashed” her victims, which resulted in a comparatively lenient sentence of two years in jail. Five of her followers were also sentenced to different jail terms, some of them suspended.
This is one of the trials concerning different branches of Zhonggong, a qigong movement listed as a xie jiao and banned in 1999. As Bitter Winter reported last year, authorities in China claimed that Zhonggong (中功), founded by Zhang Hongbao (1954–2006) and one of the most successful groups during the so-called “qigong fever” of the 1990s, had been successfully eradicated by 2016, ten years after his founder had died in a car accident in the United States, where he had obtained asylum.
However, the CCP discovered that different branches of Zhonggong continued to be very much active in several provinces. Bitter Winter reported on the crackdown in 2020 against the branch led by Zhang’s secretary, a woman called Zhang Xiao, currently living in Japan.
This is not the only branch that continues to be active in China. From what transpired at the April 27 trial, Sun Xuhui belonged to a different branch and claimed to be one of the “authorized successors” of Zhang Hongbao. It was also revealed at the trial that the Ministry of Public Security is so concerned with Zhonggong that it has set up a “special task force” composed of “elite officers” specialized in fighting the xie jiao.
The task force, while operating nationwide, in turn organized anti-Zhonggong squads in the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin and the provinces of Yunnan, Hebei, Liaoning, and Shandong.
The capture of Sun Xuhui and eleven of her associates was regarded as a significant success of the anti-Zhonggong task force. Sun was born in 1987, and was introduced to Zhonggong by her mother, also a member. She was arrested on December 9, 2020 during a joint operation by the Yantai and Zhaoyuan public security and, according to the authorities, successfully “reeducated” before the trial.
The campaign against Zhonggong continues throughout China.