China’s former anti-terrorism chief Liu Yuejin under investigation for corruption

by Phoebe Zhang at

China’s first counterterrorism commissioner, Liu Yuejin, has been placed under investigation on suspicion of corruption as part of an ongoing drive targeting the security sector.

Liu, 65, who also served as assistant minister of public security, is suspected of “serious violations of party discipline and law” – the usual euphemism for corruption – according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s top graft-busting agency.

Liu, who stepped down from the anti-terror role in 2020, is the latest senior security official to fall following President Xi Jinping’s promise to “drive the blade inward”.

In 2022, former deputy security minister Sun Lijun, who was accused of leading a “political clique” and being disloyal to Xi, was jailed for life. In the same month, former justice minister Fu Zhenghua, once one of China’s most powerful police chiefs, was also jailed for life.
In 2020, Meng Hongwei, the former head of Interpol who was detained on a trip back to China, was sentenced to 13½ years in jail for corruption and fined 2 million yuan (about US$290,000).

Liu became the country’s first anti-terror chief in December 2015 following a series of attacks across China, particularly one in March 2014 in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province.

Dozens of people were killed when a knife-wielding gang rampaged through the city’s main railway station, an attack Beijing blamed on Xinjiang separatists.

In 2017, Liu took part in a People’s Armed Police rally in the western region, home to the Uygur minority, where more than 10,000 members of the force took an oath to fight terrorists and “maintain social stability”.

Liu emphasised that all levels of public security offices should always think about anti-terrorism and maintaining stability. “We should chase and suppress the terrorists, dig out those who are in hiding, fight them thoroughly and resolutely, in order to create peace and stability,” he said.

Before taking on the counterterrorism post, Liu, who described himself in interviews as a “grass-roots police officer”, spent more than 20 years tackling the drugs trade, becoming chief of the China National Narcotics Control Commission in May 2015.