It has been more than 21 months since China’s President Xi Jinping last traveled abroad. Since Xi came to power in 2012, many former president Jiang Zemin faction officials have been demoted.
Xi may have offended many people, creating a lot of trouble, with many enemies against him.
Sina Insider, a China political risk consultancy based in New York, said, “Both the Xi camp and the Jiang faction have been targeting each other’s political legacies since Xi Jinping took office.”
“For the Jiang faction, that means calling attention to the Xinjiang persecution campaign and escalating tensions in Hong Kong to the point where the Xi leadership has to consider a Tiananmen-like resolution or other draconian measures to end the “chaos.”
“For Xi Jinping, attacking the Jiang faction’s political legacy involves cracking down on corruption and threatening intra-Party accountability over the Falun Gong persecution while sidelining the organization overseeing the campaign.”
The demise of senior Public Security Ministry officials Sun Lijun and Fu Zhenghua appear to be related to Mr. Xi’s attempt to eliminate and secure a decisive victory over Jiang’s faction. With the 20th National Congress set to take place next year and the 6th Plenary Session of the CCP Central Committee in early November, it seems likely that Xi will remain in China for a certain amount of time.
Is Xi afraid of mutiny when he is not in China? Recently Xi’s regime seems to be hinting at a possible coup ahead of the 20th national congress. So what has Xi done to prepare for the upcoming life-and-death battle?
How does the Chinese government hint at a coup?
Method 1: Borrowing old stories to talk about today
On Oct. 11, the “Liberation Army Newspaper”—the mouthpiece of the Chinese military—published an article about the “Doomen Mutiny” that occurred in 1457, during the Ming Dynasty. The article is titled “Preserving reputation and frugality,” mainly referring to the great mandarin Yu Qian of the Ming dynasty, thereby discussing the importance of “preserving and maintaining reputation.” The article says that, at that time, Mr. Yu Qian was in control of a mighty army. But when faced with the coup between Emperor Yingzong of Ming, Zhu Qizhen, and his younger brother, Jingtai Emperor Zhu Qiyu, Yu Qian “stood still and motionless,” letting everything develop as they pleased.
Dr. Zhang Tianliang, a Ph.D. former adjunct professor of George Manson University and a China history and politics expert, likened the event of “The Battle of Doomen” to a “revolution of the Grand Emperor.” In the current CCP context, he remarked that the “rectification of the Grand Emperor” seems to imply that former party leader Jiang Zemin intends to do so. Furthermore, he said that Yu Qian of the Ming Dynasty was equivalent to the current Minister of Defense. These correlations imply that the CCP military should not intervene in the case of the “Grand Emperor,” which is especially important because observers of Chinese politics have traditionally assumed that former president Jiang Zemin is the one who is in control of the Chinese military.
Recently, “Study Times,” the mouthpiece of Xi Jinping’s regime, for the first time published an article titled, “Why Mao Zedong recommended his former comrades read “Huang Qiong stories” and “Li Gu Story” in the book “The Book of the Later Han.” The official media People’s Daily later republished the article.
The article seems to borrow from the story of Mao Zedong, suggesting that Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, and Peng Zhen read “The Tale of Huang Qiong” and “The Tale of Li Gu” on Aug. 30, 1965. It suggested that these four men follow the action of Huang Qiong and Li Gu “for the sake of national affairs, social security, … becoming wise men who dare to dissuade the monarchy.”
But at the end of the article, it was pointed out that one of Mao’s motives for suggesting these two stories was to convey his political purpose in the style of “The mind wants to speak, but the mouth has not spoken.”
At that time, Zhou, Liu, Deng, and Peng all held great power and had an apparent dispute over political lines with Mao. As a result, Mao Zedong launched the “Cultural Revolution” to regain control and eliminate political enemies a few months later, except for Chun Lai. In contrast, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, and Peng Zhen were persecuted in the Cultural Revolution.
In his personal Youtube channel, political commentator Li Daiyu pointed out that the party media has brought up this historical story once more, with clear intentions—Xi Jinping is the “new emperor.” The role of “Liang Ji” may refer to the top figures of the Jiang Zemin faction, including his close associate Zeng Qinghong.
In “Book of the Later Han,” Huang Qiong and First Lieutenant Li Gu living under the Eastern Han Dynasty were dissatisfied with the great general Liang Ji. Although Liang Ji was a general, he considered himself the “Grand Emperor” to manipulate the court because he was a close relative to Liang Nüying, formally Empress Yixian, wife of Emperor Huan during the Han Dynasty.
Later, the whole Liang Ji family was massacred after Liu Zhi and Emperor Huan of Han raised an army to conduct a coup, ending their hegemonic rule.
Li Daiyu said that the purpose of the media when publishing the article first was to send a political signal to CCP officials: Either being “loyal” to the “new emperor,” or, like Hoang Quynh, doing nothing, at least not joining the faction of the Liang Ji.
In the past, Mao Zedong once introduced this story before the “Cultural Revolution. So the fact that the ruler Xi Jinping is publishing this article suggests that he is likely to make big moves next year, especially when the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is coming. The Chinese Communists that took place the following year were associated with the continuation of the Xi regime.
Method two: Using other names for the crime of “coup”
On Sept. 30, the CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced the investigation of former Deputy Minister of Public Security Sun Lijun. Two days later, this Committee continued to advise that it would supervise and investigate Fu Zhenghua, former Deputy Minister of Public Security and currently Deputy Chairman of the Social and Legal Committee of the Association, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
It is rare for the Chinese regime to simultaneously announce two senior officials in the police system: one has fallen in rank, the other is under investigation at a higher level, attracting significant attention from the outside world and speculation of a relationship between the two cases.
In The Epoch Times, commentator on current affairs, Dr. Zhang Tianliang, said that the cases of Fu Zhenghua and Sun Lijun are two consecutive cases. In addition, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection issued an unprecedented 700-word statement about Sun Lijun’s misconduct.
Usually, when high-ranking CCP officials are “fallen off their horses,” the authorities often use phrases such as “neglect of duty,” “corruption,” or “unstable political position” to summarize the crime. But this time, the crime of Sun Lijun was described very harshly.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s notice pointed out that Sun Lijun “never had real ideals and beliefs; has great political ambitions, extremely evil political qualities, extremely distorted views of power and political achievements. He not only arbitrarily discussed the major policy guidelines of the Party Central Committee, but also fabricated and spread political rumors, in addition to being favorable inside and out, lying above and below.”
Analysts commented that after being dismissed for 17 months, Sun Lijun was expelled, and his prosecution file was transferred. The words used in the announcement were extremely strict, indicating that Sun Lijun had committed two serious crimes: first, “secretly possessing and concealing a large number of classified documents;” the second, related to a plot to assassinate Xi Jinping.
How does Xi Jinping clear the way before the 20th National Congress?
Lan Shu, a current political commentator in the U.S., believes signs are that Xi Jinping, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, is preparing for his re-election by purging his political opponents and overhauling the financial sector. He said, “Xi Jinping is preparing for re-election for a third term. If Xi Jinping just wanted to finish his second term safely and step down, he wouldn’t have carried out such a drastic reshuffle. “
First, in the field of politics and law.
Before the 19th Party Congress of the CCP, Mr. Xi demoted a series of key officials of the Jiang Zemin—Zeng Qinghong faction, namely Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Guo Baxiong, Xu Caihou, these people are considered “primary national level” officials.
There are many other officials at lower levels such as “deputy national,” ministerial-level to the city and provincial level who have also been hit by Mr. Xi’s anti-corruption blow.
According to statistics from the book “Jiang Zemin’s Corruption Rule,” from 2013 to 2016, more than 1,400 cadres from the deputy department/city level and above were considered “tigers.” In 2016 alone, 49 provincial and deputy officials were dismissed.
However, it seems that this purge shows no signs of stopping. To ensure re-election before the 20th Party Congress of the CCP, Mr. Xi continues “killing Tigers, swatting Flies.” Moreover, the battle between Mr. Xi and his political opponents is becoming more intense than ever.
So far, Sun Lijun has been a prominent figure in Xi’s political and legal purges. However, Sun’s case is not simple. Chinese-language Epochtimes reported that on Oct. 16, Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi chaired a meeting of the (expanded) party committee of the Ministry of Public Security.
In his speech, Mr. Zhao first used the term “Sun Lijun political group,” referring to Sun as “the Party’s malignancy” and referred to the political group “Sun Lijun” six times. He said the Xi regime’s investigation of Sun Lijun was to eliminate the party’s “disruptors” and potential political dangers.
Mr. Zhao Kezhi also specifically proposed “wiping out the influence of people like Zhou Yongkang, Meng Hongwei, Sun Lijun, and others.” Political commentator Vuong Huu Quan shared with Epoch Times that he believes Zhao Kezhi’s comparison of Sun Lijun with Zhou Yongkang and Manh Hongwei have shown on one hand that Sun’s problems share similarities with Zhou and Meng’s problem; on the other hand, Sun’s problem must also be quite serious.
Mr. Wang Youqun said that the “political group Sun Lijun” mentioned by Minister Zhao included: former Minister of Justice, Fuo Zhenghua. Former Deputy Mayor of Chongqing City and Director of Public Security, Deng Huilin. Former Shanghai Vice Mayor and Director of Public Security, Gong Daoan. Former Deputy Governor of Shanxi Province and Director of Public Security, Liu Xinyun. A former member of the Standing Committee of the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee, Secretary of the Political Commissar and Law Commission, Wang Like. Former Director of Criminal Investigation Department of Jiangsu Provincial Public Security Bureau, Luo Wenjin. etc.
All of these people were convicted of crimes suggesting “participating in the coup” such as “never loyal to the Party,” and “insulting the main leader of the country, arbitrarily discussing the Central Committee,” and “serious violations of discipline and law”…
The pro-Beijing newspaper “Dou Wei” on July 18 published a rare article, which mentioned that many retired officials of the CCP Political and Law Committee have been investigated since the beginning of July until now.
For example, on July 17, Wu Lingsheng, the former deputy secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of Heilongjiang Province, was investigated, even though he retired in November 2018.
On July 14, Mao Kechang, the former Deputy Director of the Henan Province Prison, was investigated. He retired in March 2018.
On the same day, Wang Wenhai, former Director and Secretary of the Department of Justice of Ha Nam Province, was also investigated. Wang Wenhai used to be Deputy Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of Ha Nam Province and Director of the Provincial 610 Office. He retired in June 2017.
Dou Wei believes that the fall of the above officials is a significant and clear signal, showing that the purge of the government’s political and legal system has spread to high-ranking retired officials.
According to statistics, since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2017, at least eight high-ranking officials and more than 150 department-level officials in the Political and Legal system in China have been purged. In addition, according to the Epoch Times, 23 CCP officials above the vice minister-level fell from their horses this year alone. Nine of these 23 have held important positions in the CCP’s political and legal system.
In September, the Central Inspection Team conducted an investigation targeting agencies under the structure of the Political-Legal Committee, such as the Ministry of Public Security, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Procuracy, and the Ministry of Security. Nationally, the Ministry of Justice and 31 local Political and Legal agencies focused on liquidating two groups of people who were “not absolute loyal, absolutely disloyal.”
Second, the financial sector.
Current affairs commentator Lam Shu commented: “It is not surprising that the financial sector is being overhauled at this time. Because when the different factions are grappling with each other, when it comes to deciding who’s up and down, they’re likely to use some sort of financial ploy to do it.”
Lam Shu also said: “Not only the financial sector but also the media, these areas have a very complicated relationships with high-ranking CCP officials, and the Chinese economy is currently in a crisis, so the financial sector is likely to affect the entire personnel disposition of the various factions of the Chinese Communist Party between the Sixth Plenary of the Central Committee 19th and 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.”
On Oct. 11, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to people familiar with the matter, President Xi Jinping is launching a new round of comprehensive inspections of financial institutions, focusing on financial institutions, into the close relationship between state-owned banks, investment funds, financial regulators and private enterprises.
As many as 20 institutions and banks have been named for anti-corruption investigation, including financial institutions such as the Central Bank of the Communist Party of China, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the Central Bank of China, and CITIC, and China Construction Bank. In 2021, Mr. Xi’s targets in the financial sector are Hua Rong Group, Ant Group, Alibaba, Didi Travel, Evergrande Group, HNA Group, Fantasia Group, …
Take the number one “Financial Crocodile” as Xiao Jianhua, the head of Tomorrow Group, as an example. On Feb. 7, 2021, the Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled that Baoshang Bank was bankrupt. The largest shareholder of this bank is Tomorrow Group, holding 89.27% of the shares.
From 2005 to 2019, Tomorrow Group obtained $24 billion in credit funds by registering 209 shell companies and 347 loans. This $24 billion is just the amount that the group took from a bank. According to a report entitled “Empire of Tomorrow: The Wealth Map of Shadow Financial Tycoon Xiao Jianhua” by the site “New Fortune,” from April 2013 to the end of June 2017, the file system shows the Tomorrow group has controlled and engaged in 44 financial companies, involving banks, insurance, trusts and Securities, funds, etc. When including all financial industry licenses and total assets of financial institutions controlled and held by them, it amounts to $470 billion.
Xi Jinping–Jiang Zemin untold story of ‘inner-party bipartisanship’
Most recently, Xi’s political and legal purge approached Meng Jianzhu, a former Minister of Public Security. In addition, Xi targeted Zeng Qinghong’s granddaughter Zeng Baobao and her Fantasia Group in the financial sector.
All leads show that Xi’s campaign aims at Jiang’s faction. However, it is worth mentioning that Jiang once promoted Xi to his leadership position.
In 2007, when the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was convened, different factions fought fiercely over the successor to the party’s leadership. As a result, several candidates favored by Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong were eliminated and vetoed by political opponents and general secretary Hu Jintao. Meanwhile, other factions also did not accept the candidates proposed by Hu Jintao’s faction, Li Keqiang.
“One expert holds that Xi and Li each sit at the pinnacle of what effectively is an equal PSC split between two distinct leadership camps: the “populist” group, represented by Li Keqiang, a protegee of Hu Jintao; and the “elitist” group, represented by Xi Jinping, one of the so-called “princelings”—meaning a child of one of the early senior officials of the Chinese Communist Party and thus someone with elite personal connections. According to this analyst, the “populist” group favors balanced economic development, focus on improving the lots of the poor and disenfranchised, and an emphasis on the principles of “harmonious society.” The “elitist” group favors continued rapid and efficient economic development, less emphasis on social issues, and an emphasis on nurturing the entrepreneurial and middle-class populations,” WikiLeaks revealed in a report published in 2007.
Finally, to strike a balance between the factions, Shanghai Party Secretary Xi Jinping was elected to the Politburo Standing Committee at the 17th Communist Party Congress of China and became the successor to the Politburo Standing Committee of General Secretary Hu Jintao.
Although Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong promoted Xi Jinping themselves, Xi later became the agent of Jiang’s downfall.
“Xi Jinping has been locked in a factional struggle against a powerful faction named after former Party boss Jiang Zemin since 2012, an aftermath of the Wang Lijun incident. While the past nine years have seen Xi consolidate power to a high degree and purge many Jiang faction officials through the anti-corruption campaign, the latter still “remains a force behind the scenes” today, according to a February Wall Street Journal report,” Sino Insider analyzed.
The Chinese version of The Epoch Times cited a series of reports in the weekly magazine “New Era,” saying that Zeng Qinghong places himself as an ambitious regent hiding behind the scenes. It shows that Xi Jinping is only a transitional candidate. The Jiang faction still wants to put people of the same section in the leadership position to be easily manipulated, like in the days of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.
It is also very worrying for Jiang and his gang that Xi Jinping does not have an impressive record of abuse of power or corruption. Thus not being held responsible for breaking the law, Xi can, at any time, stop Jiang’s policy line and keep the offenders accountable.
Unlike Hu Jintao, who rose through the political ranks without foundation support, Xi Jinping is a “red emperor” (the second generation of a former top CCP leader). Other politically influential “red emperors” all supported Xi. Xi Jinping’s background shows that it is hard to manipulate him.
According to Dr. Wang Youqun, former Supervisor of the CCP Central Committee for Discipline, now living in New York, Xi has always had a strong sense of insecurity, which is evident in his speeches, in documents issued by the Central Committee, or in articles published by the CCP’s mouthpiece.
On Sept. 1, Xi said in a speech at the Central Party School: “The risks and challenges we face have increased significantly. It is always unrealistic to want to live a peaceful life and not want to fight. We must abandon our illusions, fight bravely, and refuse to give way to any issues of principle.”
Dr. Wang said that Xi had no choice but to fight. Before the 19th CCP Congress, Xi had launched a campaign against corruption for five years, having the criminal evidence of Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong enough to punish them, but Xi did not do so.
Wang also noticed that, in the four years since the 19th National Congress of the CCP, the ten powerful CCP families led by former Politburo Standing Committee members Jiang Zemin, none of them were convicted. The 10 are Zeng Qinghong, Luo Gan, Gu Qinglin, Li Chang Xuan, Wu Guan Zheng, Xia Guoqiang, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Gaoli, and Zhang Dejiang. Moreover, there has been no high-ranking official from the rank of deputy national or above arrested.
However, the CCP’s 100-year history has fully demonstrated that the CCP’s high-level internal struggles are endless, always life-and-death, inescapable. Although Xi did not want to oppose Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong, they tried to overthrow him at any time.