China’s Hunan provincial government website announced on October 29 that Chen Zehui, a former deputy mayor of Changsha city, was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and transferred to the procuratorial organ for investigation and prosecution. The notice alleges that Chen violated political discipline and that he purchased books and periodicals from abroad, which had serious political problems, stored them privately, and read them for a long time. Other charges include the violation of the CCP’s code of conduct, the acceptance of gifts of particularly large amounts, and suspicion of taking bribes.
A highlighted charge is about purchasing and reading “banned books.” A civil rights activist Huang Xiaomin told Radio Free Asia that, “The purpose is definitely to nip it in the bud and punish a few individuals as an example to others. It is to intimidate officials who wanted to spread views dissenting from those of the CCP. … One main reason is that some open-minded officials are increasingly aware of the problems in the current Chinese society.”
Similar incidents occurred in Huainan city of Anhui province. According to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s website, in June, Li Zhong, the former deputy mayor of Huainan City along with a member of the CCP committee of the city government, were investigated and disciplined for violating political discipline, bringing in books and magazines with serious political problems into the country without permission, as well as embezzling public funds.
Another mainland Chinese newspaper Beijing News reported in March that Li Bin, a mid-level officer at Chongqing city’s police bureau, was probed for “serious violation of discipline and the law.” The authorities accused Li of “losing his ideals and secretly bringing books with serious political problems into the country and reading and storing them.”
Source: Radio Free Asia, November 2, 2020