From the unreadable without a proxy BBC we find that Lu Jianhua, a scholar with the Chinese academy of social sciences (CASS) has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.
The information has yet to be released widely in the media, though we wouldn’t be surprised if it got less play than the Ching Cheong case. Ching is the Hong Kong journalist that was arrested and found guilty of state subversion (leaking of state secrets) and then sentenced to five years for spying for Taiwan. It turns out that the Lu case is related to the Ching case because the two men were close associates of each other.
But first, who is Lu Jianhua? Born and educated in Shanghai, the 45 year old sociologist wrote some prominent books in the 1990s and was considered among a group of think-tank type intellectuals that were close to the top echelons of power, and President Hu in particular. Lately, much of his research focused on official corruption, where he pointed out what he thought the major problems and obstacles to fighting corruption were. However, rarely do intellectual arguments alone get you 20 years—much of his research was done with the help of Ching Cheong, especially when Lu went down to Hong Kong for research. If what the authorities wanted from Ching Cheong was a computer full of the classified, secret speeches that top level Communist officials made, then there’s a good chance that he acquired some of this information from Lu.
In a blog post from 2005, ESWN presents a couple of theories about the Ching Cheong case, one of which involves Lu. It turns out that changing the leadership in Hong Kong (from Tung to Tsang) and approaching the pan-Blue opposition in Taiwan and asking them to visit China were the brainchilds of Ching and Lu. The argument is that these ideas were a blot to the Jiang Zemin (Shanghai faction) group, who had advocated both Tung (hand picked him) and also adopted a hard line towards Taiwan.
Mary Lau, Ching’s wife, wrote an open letter to Hu which mentioned that contributions that her husband and Lu had made on behalf of China, arguing that they were patriots and that it was a shame they were being treated as criminals. We hadn’t been following the Ching Cheong case that closely nor had we read any of his books, but it seems Lu Jianhua was a rising star in political and academic circles, and unfortunately, it seems, has now become the latest pawn in the mysterious political strategems that are Chinese elite politics. He once had a personal CASS webpage, which is still there but it seems the biographical and CV information was deleted.
Photo from qgit.com.