A number of senior officials at the vice-ministerial level in China have suddenly died over the past few months, before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials gather in Beidaihe for their 20th Party Congress.

A U.S.-based media reported that four CCP officials have passed away in recent months.

Zhou Wei, a deputy to the congress, died on July 21. Zhou, 56, had just taken office as secretary general of the Gansu Provincial Party Committee on June 1. Official reports said Zhou Wei died of illness.

Earlier in July, Liu Wenxi, vice governor of Hebei Province and director of the province’s Public Security Department, died of a “sudden illness.”

Zeng Bing, vice mayor of Dalian and deputy general manager of China’s National Pharmaceutical Group, also died of a “sudden illness.”

In May, Zhao Gechuan, secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of the Hebei Provincial Party Committee, was reportedly dead of illness.

In April, Tianjin Mayor Liao Guoxun suffered a sudden death.

These senior officials were dead one after another before they gathered to discuss major issues within the CCP before the 20th Party Congress.

The infighting in the CCP has become fiercer as the Beidaihe Conference gets closer.   

Shi Shan, a veteran media person, said that the conference is a game of high-ranking oligarchs, and what they decide is their fates.

On July 27, President Xi Jinping summoned senior CCP officials to put forward a governance program for the next five years. He also gave a signal of re-election before the Beidaihe Conference.

Commentator Zhong Yuan believes that Xi planned this high-profile move in an attempt to earn enough support before the Beidaihe conference. He wants to gain the infighting within the CCP factions.

Dr. Wang Youqun is a former member of the Standing Committee of the CCP Political Bureau and a contributor to the Central Discipline Inspection Commission. According to his analysis, Xi’s faction and the anti-Xi faction are engaged in a fierce game on three major issues before the 20th National Congress. They include China-U.S. relations, the situation in the Taiwan Strait, and political security.

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