The South China Morning Post reported that Chinese Leader Xi Jinping had a 2-day visit to Sichuan province on Jun 8 and 9. However, according to overseas Chinese media, this visit has sent many abnormal signals about the ongoing political struggle.

Xi Jinping did not wear mask during whole inspection

On June 8, Xi Jinping and a group of officials visited and inspected several places in the province.  During the trip, Xi urged local officials to effectively coordinate anti-pandemic campaigns with economic development plans before the 20th National Congress. Xi notably reiterated the need to adhere to the Zero-Covid policy unswervingly.

However, pictures from the visits show that Xi, his accompanying officials, and many residents didn’t wear masks. In this regard, Xin Tang Ren newspaper speculated that Xi seemed to have loosened his anti-Covid policy.

Only meeting with military officers, no hearing of local officials’ report

It is noteworthy that Xi Jinping seems to be in a hurry on this local visit. His schedule in Sichuan was shortened to two days. Also, he didn’t have any meetings with local officials.

This was very different from Xi’s 4-day visit to Hainan in April. The local bulletin reported that Xi chaired a hearing of the Hainan’s provincial party committee and the government’s work report.

Instead, Xi Jinping met the local troops stationed in Sichuan. He was accompanied by Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Communist Party’s military commission. State-run Xinhua News agency reported that Xi met with local officers above the rank of major and regimental commanders in Chengdu on Thursday morning. news outlet reported that when Xi arrived in Chengdu, he didn’t stay at Jinniu Hotel, which usually hosted leaders. He chose to stay at the Xinhua Hotel, which is closer and affiliated with the Western Theater Command.

The surrounding area of the hotel is heavily guarded. The routes where the Party leader passed by must be detected for mines in advance and then sealed. A video circulated on Twitter shows that on June 8, all Tesla cars were not allowed to enter Chengdu.

As chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi Jinping’s visits to the military are usually an essential part of his visits. The purpose is to show that he controls the military force. But at a sensitive time when top-level infighting is getting fierce, Xi’s sudden visit to Sichuan to meet with high-ranking military officers has sparked speculation among political observers.

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