Heads are up for the outcome of the incoming 20th National Congress. While current Chinese leader Xi Jinping is seeking a historic third term as Chinese president, he is also challenged by the anti-Xi forces who endeavor to thwart the prospects.

China’s top anti-corruption agency has brought down police chef Sun Lijun. According to the South China Morning Post, he was accused of harboring hugely inflated political ambitions and was of extremely bad political quality.

In the first episode of the graft-busting documentary Zero Tolerance, the investigation into Sun and his political cronies brought down many other top CCP officials.

That includes Wang Like, a former member of the Communist Party of China Standing Committee for Jiangsu and secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Political and Legal Affairs Commission. Former Shanghai police chief and deputy mayor Gong Daoan, former Shanghai deputy mayor. Deng Huilin, former Chongqing deputy mayor and former head of the Chongqing Public Security Bureau; and Liu Xinyun, former Shanxi deputy governor and director of the Shanxi Public Security Department.

Fu Zhenghua, the former justice minister with a higher rank than Sun, was also caught up on March 31 for joining his political clique.

Taking down Sun and his political clout has been a major achievement for the Xi administration, judging by the high-profile background of those purged.

Then, on April 26, pro-Beijing Duowei News abruptly shut down. According to Radio France Internationale, Current political commentator Zhang Jie said that the news agency had published articles that regularly criticize Xi. He suspected it belonged to a particular faction of the CCP.

In early December 2018, Duowei published an article that pointed directly at Xi Jinping. It reviewed the “exit theory of the private economy” at that time, the “political review” of the college entrance examination, and Zhejiang’s touted “bridge closure experience,” and proposed that Xi Jinping, as the “core of the big party,” “must conduct self-examination.”

Many overseas media have referred to Duowei News as the voice of Jiang Zemin. He is the former CCP chief whose faction has challenged Xi’s stance ahead of the 20th National Chinese Communist Party Congress.

Accelerating to some degree in the party infighting, Xi’s credentials for a third term are undermined by unprecedented events. Anger towards his leadership has mounted since last year.

The sweeping crackdown on multiple industries shook the world’s second-largest economy. The Russian invasion of Ukraine after China makes Western power reconsider their attitude toward Beijing. Yet most recently, is the uncompromising adherent to zero-COVID policy in Shanghai, a key financial hub. The nearly two-month lockdown has stirred doubts and grievances from ordinary Chinese to businesses, including international ones.

Chinese media Kan Zhongguo noted that many have strongly advocated anti-Xi instead of anti-Communist, especially judging from the latest botches in COVID-19 handling. However, this is the wrong perspective, as history has shown that the Communist regime is slated to bring about undesirable authoritarian policy, no matter who the leader is.

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