General Liu Yazhou, an admirer of Christianity, sentenced to death
The high-ranking officer who criticised Chinese President Xi Jinping was accused of corruption and factionalism within the Communist Party. For well-known dissident Wei Jingsheng, Xi went after Liu for his ideas on the "nationalisation" of the Armed Forces. Liu is not the first member of the old guard to attack China’s strongman.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Former Chinese Air Force General Liu Yazhou received a suspended death sentence. The court decision was made in February 2022, but was made public only recently.
Liu is a prominent figure in China’s politics, son-in-law of the late Li Xiannian, a former president.
According to Ming Pao, a Chinese language Hong Kong newspaper, the court convicted him because he expressed disagreements with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Liu often criticised China's belligerent posture toward Taiwan.
Chinese sources report that he was accused of "economic corruption" and factionalism in the Communist Party of China (CPC). Under XI, the latter charge is used against high-ranking officials.
Last September, former Deputy Public Security Minister Sun Lijun was given life in prison after he “seriously damaged the unity of the Party."
The most serious accusation, however, is that of leading a circle of political leaders "disloyal" to Xi, including former Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua, who was also given a life sentence.
For Wei Jingsheng, the "father of democracy" in China, General Liu has fans among China’s military and ordinary Chinese.
Speaking from exile in the United States, Wei told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that Liu is Confucian in his outlook but also a learned man who admires Christianity. He also notes that corruption charges are the typical ploy used by Xi to get rid of his political opponents.
The well-known activist suggests that the general’s views about Christianity did not likely influence Xi’s negative attitudes toward him. China has had Christian generals in the past, most notably General Feng Yuxiang.
Wei is convinced that Xi went after Liu for his ideas about the "nationalisation" of the Armed Forces, while Xi wants the military to be loyal to the leader himself.
In the lead-up to the 20th Party Congress last October, the Party’s old guard tried to influence the internal political debate in clear opposition to the president, but the later won an historic third term in office.
In a video message released in mid-September, later censored, 105-year-old Song Ping said that the policy of reform and opening inaugurated 40 years ago by paramount leader Deng Xiaoping “has been the only path to the development and progress of contemporary China and the only path to the realisation of the Chinese dream”
Song, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee under Deng, shrewdly used Xi's own words, which perhaps spared him from reprisals, unlike Liu.