At the end of April this year, Xu Qifang was appointed as the new deputy secretary of the Hainan Provincial Committee. At the same time, he also took the position as secretary of the Hainan Political and Legal Affairs Commission.

In just over half a year, 5 other officials were appointed to the same positions in different provinces. They are: Luo Dongchuan of Fujian, Zhou Ji of Henan, Hubai of Qinghai, and Shi Guanghui of Guizhou, Zhuge Yujie of the Shanghai. All of them serve 2 positions at the same time: provincial committee’s Deputy Secretary and Secretary of provincial Poli-Legal Commission.

The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission is a powerful political organ in the Chinese Communist Party. It’s in charge of all law enforcement authorities, including the police force. Nikkei Asia cited a source, saying “The party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission is highly crucial to governing the country, especially for China’s highest person in power. The importance of controlling the commission is next to that of controlling the People’s Liberation Army.”

Each of the subordinate Poli-Legal Commission has jurisdiction over significant judicial matters. It can influence individual courts and litigation. It can also arrest powerful individuals because it has the rights of examination and approval.

According to overseas Chinese media, these changes at the prominent government body signal Xi’s intention to tighten his grip on Beijing’s police system before the 20th National Congress.

In April 2020, Xi appointed his trusted man, Tang Yijun, as minister of Justice. This department happens to be under the control of the Central Poli-Legal Commission.

Back in 2014, Xi got rid of Zhou Yongkang, former secretary of the Central Poli-Legal Commission. Under Xi’s anti-graft campaign, Zhou was convicted of corruption-charges and sentenced to life in prison.

According to many political observers, Xi Jinping is seeking re-election at the 20th China National Congress at the end of this year. In this crucial meeting, the top power structure of the party will be redistributed.

Dr. Zhang Tianliang from the Feitian College told Da Ji Yuan news outlet that more intense internal strife will erupt before the 20th Communist Party Congress.

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