Sun Lijun – Fall of a Senior Communist Intelligence Official at the Center of Beijing’s Covert Operations

“So if you meet me, have some courtesy, have some sympathy, and some taste. Use all your well-learned politesse or I’ll lay your soul to waste”
— Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil

Sun Lijun once operated at the apex of power inside the secretive Chinese Communist Party political police and intelligence leadership. A vice minister at the all-power Ministry of Public Security, Sun knew all of China’s most sensitive secrets.
Today, the former intelligence leader languishes in a Chinese prison after the death sentence imposed on him in September 2022 was commuted to life in prison by CCP supreme leader Xi Jinping.
The commutation was delayed for two years – a noose around the neck of the former spy master in case he, like others before him, attempted to blackmail the Chinese Communist Party by threatening to reveal their secrets.
Sun avoided to dire fate of several other high-ranking Chinese Communist Party officials who like Sun had failed to carry out covert operations overseas directed by Chinese Supreme Leader Xi Jinping.
In Macao, Zheng Xiaosong, former deputy director of the CCP international liaison department, a quasi-intelligence organization, and friend of American casino magnate Steve Wynn, mysteriously fell to his death in 2018 when he was director of the Beijing’s Macau Liaison Office.
The common thread linking the demise of both Sun and Zheng and a number of other high-ranking spies – was their failure to fulfil a directive from Xi to forcibly repatriate dissident billionaire businessman Guo Wengui.
Guo who had fled China in 2016 after his friend Ma Jian, a vice minister at the civilian political police and intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security, was arrested.
According to Guo, the massive effort to get him back was based on fears the billionaire would disclose internal CCP political and intelligence secrets, as he had begun doing in 2017.
Guo believes Zheng was murdered because of the failure of the forced repatriation plot against him.
As noted, Zheng was close to Steve Wynn, owner of Wynn Macau, a luxury hotel and casino resort in the Macau. As a China-based casino Wynn must rely on the good graces of the Chinese Communist Party and the Macau government that Zheng headed before his death. Without Beijing backing, Wynn would lose his license to operate the casino there.
It was Zheng who pressured Wynn with threats against his casino operations that forced him to covertly use his connections in Washington help get Guo returned to China.
To that end, Wynn, former CEO of Wynn Casinos, in 2017 was tasked with working the Trump administration. He would eventually meet with then-President Donald Trump. During the meeting, Wynn handed the president a letter from the CCP demanding Guo’s extradition.
For his efforts, the Justice Department pursued charges against Wynn for failing to register as a Chinese agent. A federal judge dismissed the case on technical grounds.
“Wynn engaged in these efforts at the request of Sun Lijun, then-vice minister of the [Ministry of Public Security],” the Justice Department said in a statement. “Wynn conveyed the request directly to the then-president over dinner and by phone, and he had multiple discussions with the then-president and senior officials at the White House and National Security Council about organizing a meeting with Sun and other PRC government officials.”
According to Justice, Wynn’s company owned and ran casinos in Macau and that he “acted at the request of the PRC out of a desire to protect his business interests in Macau.”
Brian Heberlig, a lawyer for Wynn, denied he acted as an unregistered foreign agent. “Steve Wynn has never acted as an agent of the Chinese government and had no obligation to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We respectfully disagree with the Department of Justice’s legal interpretation of FARA and look forward to proving our case in court,” he said.
A third Chinese official linked to the failed plot was Meng Hongwei. Meng was a former vice minister of Public Security who used his position as head of the global police agency Interpol from 2016 to 2018 to target Guo. The method involved issuing Interpol “red notices” calling for Guo’s arrest, along with rape charges filed by a former Guo employee against the dissident billionaire.
Meng, too, failed in his mission. He would disappear from the Interpol post in 2018 and turn up in a Chinese prison facing a 13-year prison term, ostensibly for corruption while posted at the Ministry of Public Security.
Like Zheng and Sun, Meng’s real crime was failing to have Guo sent back to China.
Guo has said he refused to go back making hims the prime target of CCP wrath and the covert effort to force his repatriation or at least his silence.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Guo is wanted because he hold what are said to be a large archive of secret CCP documents with highly-incriminating information on senior leaders, including Xi.
The former billionaire, an outspoken critic of the CCP, has sinces been derailed in his efforts to expose the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party. He was arrested in New York City in March 2022 and charged in a federal indictment alleging he engaged in a massive $1 billion fraud scheme. He has pleaded not guilty and remains held in detention pending a trial that is set to begin in May.
Guo’s activities in the United States, like those in China, put a targeting on his back for authorities who he claims are acting on behalf of the CCP. The Justice Department charged him with diverting funds intended for investment for personal gain.
For his enemies in China, on his application for asylum in the United States, Guo said that between January 2016 and May 2017 Chinese officials contacted him 30 times and urged him to cooperate with them in exchange for what they said was official help in solving Guo’s “political problems” in China.
“They specifically urged me to do three things: 1) Stop whistleblowing and publicizing corruption among Chinese government officials; 2) Do not cooperate with the American government or talk to the FBI; and 3) Do not oppose the Communist Party of China, or advocate for democratic reforms in China, or talk about justice and the rule of law,” Guo stated, according to hacked documents from his asylum lawyer that were posted online.
In return for abiding by the requests, Chinese officials would agre to release Guo’s family members and employees from prison and unfreeze assets he stated were worth about $70 billion frozen in China.

Few public details in the case involving Sun, 55, were made public in Beijing at the time of his fall from grace. All the Party said was the Sun was denounced for “seriously damaging the unity of the party” – a high crime far outweighing any other criminal violations for which he may have been guilty.
The non-political offenses, according to official state media, include giving and taking bribes amounting to the Chinese currency equivalent of $91 million, manipulating the stock market and illegally owning two firearms.
Politically, Sun’s crime drew unusual public vitriol with the Public Security Ministry declaring after a meeting was held to denounced him that the CCP has vowed to eradicate what it said was the venomous influence of his criminal and subversive political clique.
Those linked to Sun and also imprisoned included former Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua and three former police chiefs of Shanghai, Chongqing and Shanxi provinces.
An investigation by The Gertz File Investigative Report reveals Sun took part in a series of events dominating China’s domestic and foreign policies, most significantly as the top official sent to Wuhan to take charge of security shortly after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thus Sun is among those in China responsible for one of China’s worst crimes against humanity: The disastrous mishandling of the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan in late 2019.
The pandemic has killed an estimated 7 million people around the world.
As security chief in Wuhan during the earliest days of the outbreak, Sun moved rapidly to take control of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the leading source for the disease known as SARS-CoV-2 that is believed to have been the result of dangerous bat coronavirus experimentation at the laboratory.
The institute immediately turned off access to all its research databases preventing virus hunters and researchers from determining early generation details about the virus that could have assisted efforts to limit its spread.
Sun also is linked to China’s policy of spreading deceptive information about the virus. Chinese health authorities early on in the disease outbreak said the unusual pneumonia-like disease was not transmissible among humans. Another deception involved blaming the disease on a wild animal market in Wuhan – although no animals were ever discovered in China carrying the virus.
The government also refused to curb travel by millions of Chinese at the time the disease began spreading – a policy failure that launched what had been a local epidemic into the deadly pandemic.
China’s Public Security vice minister also is credited with spreading the lie that the virus was introduced to China by U.S. military personnel who were among the 9,000 military personnel who attended the Military World Games in Wuhan in October 2019.
Sun also took charge of security in Hong Kong during the years of mass street protests seeking the continuation of democratic rule in the former British colony. Instead under, Sun democracy was crushed under the heel of Chinese communism – as Xi calls it Marxism-Leninism with Chinese characteristics for the new era.
That new era is a dramatic shift away from disguising and deceiving the world about the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party and its long term goal of becoming the world’s sole superpower – after Beijing completes its program of weakening and destroying the United States.
Sun’s missteps in New York ultimately derailed the hopes of a senior State Department official, Susan Thornton, to be confirmed in the key position of assistant secretary of state for Asian and Pacific affairs.
Thornton came under fire from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio during a Senate nomination hearing for the senior Asia post after she offered vague answers to questions about her role in the State Department’s political intervention in blocking the FBI from arresting Sun and two other Chinese security officials during the New York incident.
A senior U.S. official said of all Sun’s many intelligence failures, his role in two failed covert operations aimed at forcing the repatriation of Guo that were the keys to his undoing.
As will be shown, Sun’s intelligence activities are a case study in the consequences of failure under Xi’s revitalized Chinese Communist Party system.
Among the known operations and authorities for Sun before his fall were control of security in Wuhan the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic.
Sun oversaw the gathering of all incriminating documents revealing dangerous virus work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Centers for Disease Control.
Using his absolute power in Wuhan, Sun gathered everything, including the true story of the lab’s work on dangerous bat coronaviruses.
A senior U.S. source said Sun took the material and sent it to his wife who was living in in Australia, and she in turn made sure the material reached the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. The material is said to include details of how the Covid virus was engineering in Wuhan.
“Oz has not gone public but the CCP knows we have it. They immediately went quiet,” the source said.
One Chinese state media report said the allegations against Sun related to Wuhan included claims he left the area to avoid being infected and possessing classified documents.
“The investigation found that on the frontline of fighting the Covid-19 epidemic, Sun deserted his post. He also possessed confidential materials without authorization and engaged in superstitious activities for a long time,” the earlier report said.
The reference to “superstitious activities” is CCP code for holding spiritual views at variance with the official atheist ideology of Chinese communism.
Regarding documents, a knowledgeable U.S. source said the documents in question are related to some of the dangerous virus work being done in Wuhan at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, now the leading location for the origin of the pandemic, and the Centers for Disease Control, which was engaged in extensive research on bat coronaviruses similar to the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID.
Sun sent a large cache of the Wuhan documents containing some details of the origin of the virus outbreak to Australia for safe keeping by relatives, including his wife, who either knowingly or unwittingly allowed the Australian intelligence service to see them.
Sun graduated from the University of New South Wales in Sydney with a masters degree in public health in 2002. The schooling abroad allowed him to provide an overseas base for his family and his son is said to have obtained Australian citizenship.
“Using his absolute power, he gathered everything including the true story of the [Wuhan] lab,” a U.S. source said of Sun in Wuhan. “He caused all this archive to reach his wife in Australia. Evidently, she caused it to reach in turn the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.”
The documents are said to reveal the laboratory manipulation of the COVID virus.
Australia has not gone public with the information. However, the Chinese government knows that the information is in the hands of both the Australian and U.S. government and is the reason Beijing has gone silent regarding what it knows of the virus origin, and the reason the CCP instead has launched a concerted disinformation campaign about the virus’ beginnings.
CCP propaganda organs have falsely alleged the virus was developed a biological weapon at the U.S. Army’s Fort Detrick, where defensive biological weapons research is done.
The Chinese also have falsely asserted that virus was introduced into China in late 2019 through the importation of frozen food – a finding virus scientists have dismissed as not possible.
A key indicator Australia’s government has intelligence related to the virus origin surfaced in late April 2020. That’s when then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for a in-depth investigation into the virus origin.
“Now, it would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again,” Morrison said.
The CCP responded with threats and boycotts of Australian products and rhetoric describing Australia as “gum stuck to the bottom of China’s shoe.”
Epoch Times newspaper’s investigative reporter Joshua Philipp, said Sun’s imprisonment was not related to corruption. Instead, sources inside China disclosed Sun was made out to be a ringleader of a possible attempted coup against Xi Jinping and thus he and several associates were purged.
Philipp said Sun was also in charge of the MPS’s 610 Office that has been linked by international investigators to the horrendous practice of harvesting organs from live political prisoners, including those with the spiritual group Falun Gong. According to Phillip, Sun’s removal and corruption probe are just the latest signs of high-level infighting within the Chinese Communist Party.
Sun Lijun, was born in January 1969 in Shanghai, and graduated from Shanghai International Studies University with a major in English before going to Sydney to study for his masters degree. He joined the CCP in 1997 and graduated with a master of public health from University of New South Wales, Sydney’s second largest university, according to China’s Ministry of Public Security.
At MPS, Sun worked as director the Internal Security Bureau, the political police section similar to the KGB’s domestic intelligence section.
The Internal Security Bureau, also known as the Political Security Bureau or Serial No. 1 has two known functions. It bills itself as the MPS office in charge of security for Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan affairs, and the Police Security Enterprise Office of the MPS.
As such, the office is the lead agency for policing communist ideology among police and security forces. Its responsibilities include combatting terrorist and separatist forces in China and conducting counterintelligence operations against foreign intelligence services.
Sun also headed the 26th Bureau of the MPS which is charged with anti-religious group and anti-cult operations.
Sun also held the position of vice president of China Law Society. His dismissal came in early 2020, during his time supervising security operations related to the coronavirus outbreak.
The disposal of Sun’s case in September 2022 came a month from a major Chinese Communist Party conference at which current Xi was named to an unprecedented third term in power.
Sun is said to have obtained documents and other materials about the pandemic that were later sent to his family in Australia and which are said to contain details on the virus outbreak.
Australia’s government is said to have obtained access to the material and has called for a detailed investigation into the virus origin.
China continues to stonewall international virus investigators seeking answers to how the covid pandemic started.
Sun also played an indirect role in the failed Senate nomination in 2018 of career U.S. diplomat Susan Thornton for the post of assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. Thornton ran afoul of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for evasive answers regarding her role in blocking the FBI from arresting Sun and three other Chinese officials in New York.
Sun is suspected of sending a cache of internal ministry documents, including material from Wuhan, to his family in Australia where his wife and son live.
The Australian government is said to have knowledge of the material, according to two former U.S. officials. More information on this will be published in an update for this report.
The case of Sun Lijun shows the steps that the Chinese Communist Party goes to enforce ideological conformity by purging and neutralizing all elements within the party that do not conform to rigid Marxist-Leninists precepts.

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