Just five months before the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress, which kicks off a new five-year term of the Chinese regime and appoints its top leader, a revealing document raises questions about its identity. 

Everything seems to indicate that the current head of the CCP, Xi Jinping, will run to exceed the limit of two consecutive terms in office. However, this document could become a substantial obstacle to his aspirations. 

At the same time, it could be a ploy by the opposing political faction to defeat Xi and seize power, according to some observers. 

In this case, dissident and retired professor of the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Cai Xia alluded to the document, according to IPK Media, June 7.

Cai reportedly tweeted on June 1: “Party and government leading cadres who have served in the same position for two consecutive terms will no longer be recommended, nominated or appointed to the same position.”

Specifically, that is a verbatim quote from Article Six of the 2006 “Provisional Regulations on the Tenure of Office of Party and Government Leaders,” which is currently in force,  according to IPK Media.

Expanding on the context, Article 2 contains, “This provision applies to the leading members of the working departments and working bodies of the CPC Central Committee, the Standing Committee of the NPC, the State Council, and the CPPCC,” etc. 

Earlier, Cai sharply criticized the CCP leadership for pursuing a heavy-handed policy on the Party and the country. She blamed them for turning the CCP into a “political zombie.”

Likewise, the China Digital Times media team, based in California, USA, after considering some background on the CCP’s policies, posted: “What does this tell us? This tells us that this system is going nowhere. It is useless to try and change it. Fundamentally speaking, this system must be abandoned.”

It is worth mentioning that Cai was expelled from the CCP for her critical comments toward the Chinese regime and stripped of her pension rights. She currently resides abroad. 

Indeed, the challenges facing the Chinese regime are numerous and severe. The next CCP Congress could bring about a dramatic political change in the country, home to one-fifth of humanity. Moreover, this juncture could bring about the fall of the authoritarian regime that has dominated the country for nearly 100 years. 

The 2018 reform

The CCP had imposed a two-term limit on its leader since the 1990s, but Xi defied the tradition of presenting a possible successor during the October 2022 Communist Party Congress. 

He did this by putting the abolition of the two-term limit on the presidency to a vote. The 2018 annual session approved the proposal of the National People’s Congress. Xi Jinping could thus remain in power for life.

For Cai, however, the procedure is illegal, and she said so in her statements:

“The amendment of the statutes is clearly illegal from the point of view of the Party’s internal procedures. He [Xi] took the Plenary Session of the 18th CPC National Congress hostage. Two days before the [final plenary] session, he rushed to scrap the term limit system,” China Digital Times quoted her as saying.

Also, the reform was opposed by several opponents, including former China Youth Daily editor Li Daton, a well-respected veteran journalist, who voiced his disagreement when the proposal was introduced in 2018.

“Even if the amendment is passed, it doesn’t matter. History is often like this—we make two steps forward and one step back. But this is against the tide of civilization and won’t stand the test of time. It will be considered a farce in Chinese history in the future,” he wrote in an open letter. 

Prominent businesswoman, Wang Ying, called the extension of the leader’s term “an absolute betrayal,” according to her posting on the Chinese social network WeChat. 

Rewarding whistleblowers

Indeed, Cai’s comments, and those of other dissidents, appear to be of high-impact political significance, as they seem to have prompted the Chinese regime to announce rewards for whistleblowers, according to some analysts.

For its part, China’s Ministry of State Security issued June 6: “Measures to reward citizens for reporting behavior that endangers national security.”. 

The amounts of money could range from $1,500 to $15,000, depending on the importance of the facts reported. In addition, certificates of appreciation could also be awarded.

In this context, mainland China independent commentator Wu Te 吴特 stated that the Measures encourage the entire population to persecute dissidents.

He added, “With the development of the crisis inside and outside the CCP’s rule, discontent on the Internet is increasing, and it has become a bit overwhelming and indelible.” 

Rewards for denouncing threats against the system already existed, and the CCP often promoted robust strategies of surveillance and control of the population inside the country and even abroad. 

Thus, the U.S. freedom of expression organization, PEN America, was alarmed by the arrest of five people who were allegedly monitoring Chinese dissidents living in the United States. 

PEN America commented, “… these cases appear to demonstrate what human rights groups have increasingly noticed and warned about. That powerful authoritarian regimes such as China’s CCP have escalated their tactics of transnational repression to the point that it directly threatens the freedom of activists living anywhere in the world.”

For now, everything seems to indicate that the leader, Xi Jinping, will be reelected. However, the outlook is unclear, given the latent threat posed by his main opponent, the 95-year-old former leader, Jiang Zemin, who continues to exert significant influence in the Chinese regime. 

Due to the apparent illegality of the rule mentioned by Cai or for other reasons, Xi’s reelection could be severely hampered. 

Gordon G. Chang, author of the book “The Coming Collapse of China,” said Xi is using the strict blockade against the spread of the pandemic to punish Shanghai, Jiang’s stronghold, and his opponents.

“Xi is punishing [Jiang Zemin],” because “the Party’s political system idealizes fighting and domination,” Chang reckoned. He also argued that he would be attacking the “Shanghai Gang” led by Jiang.  

Likewise, he warned that the confrontation between these two titans of the CCP “could tear the ruling organization -and China-apart.”

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