If you’re a China watcher, you’d be familiar with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s so-called anti-corruption campaign, and the dynamics behind it.
Even if you aren’t that aware, you’d probably have heard about Zhou Yongkang, the former security czar, being sentenced to life in prison only two months ago. Not too long ago, Zhou was once one of the most powerful men in China. How the mighty fall.
If you’re a China watcher, you’d probably also be aware of Chris Chappell’s online show China Uncensored. If you aren’t, Chris gives a Jon Stewart kind of twist to what’s been going on in China. See below for one of his takes on the Zhou affair:
Zhou is currently the biggest scalp of Xi’s campaign, which is more about Party infighting than anything else. He—along with other high ranking Party members types, such as former high flyer Bo Xilai—had been aligned with former Party leader Jiang Zemin.
Jiang is an unsavory character who’s also unflatteringly referred to by many within China as the toad.
This week, the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, put out an editorial that targets Jiang, warning him to not meddle and cause splits in Party politics. The editorial didn’t refer to him directly—it referred to “retired leaders”—but for anyone who knows something about Chinese politics, they understand it to be referring to Jiang and his ongoing activities behind the scenes.
“Some leaders not only installed their cronies [in key positions] to create conditions for them to wield influence in future, but also wanted to intervene in the major issues of the organization they formerly worked for, even many years after they retired,” it said, reported AFP.
Such activities made new leaders feel that their “hands and feet” were hampered by having to deal with “unnecessary concerns,” the editorial added.
They “also has made some organizations… split up into groups and become demoralized… undermining the party’s cohesion and capabilities,” said the commentary, written by Gu Bochong, who is identified as an officer with the General Political Department of the PLA.
While Jiang ceased being the leader of the Communist Party in 2002, and then two years later stepped down from his position as Chairman of the Central Military Commission in 2004, he managed to hold immense sway in the Party due to his network of cronies that he installed during his reign.
Many of them—such as Zhou and Bo—were promoted by Jiang for their participation in Jiang’s persecution of the popular Falun Gong meditation practice.
See Chris Chappell’s take on the Falun Gong issue below:
Jiang’s faction ran deep, especially in organizations such as the Communist Party’s military wing, the PLA.
Hence, the size and duration of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, and why a lot of PLA officers have been caught within it, such as General Gu Junshan, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission. Gu was given a suspended death sentence this week for “crimes including bribery, abuse of power, and misuse of public funds,” reports the BBC.
Many China analysts say that Xi has steadily been making his way toward Jiang while weeding out the former leader’s cronies. Meanwhile, Jiang has tried to maintain what power he has behind the scenes with whatever remains of his faction within the organs of power within the Party.
Hence, the warning editorial. Hence, more to come with this whole issue, and the Party’s slow-burning demise.
See Chris Chappell’s video about the future of the Communist Party in China below: