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【#261】Xi Jinping Joins Hands with Hu Jintao in Power Struggle

Toshu Noguchi / 2014.08.28 (Thu)

August 25, 2014

      The Xi Jingping administration's anti-corruption campaign has become similar to the past Cultural Revolution where betrayals were rampant. Xi is taking advantage of the campaign to remove obstacles and anti-Xi forces, linking it to his power struggle in the Chinese Communist Party. Under the single-party dictatorship, however, corruptions cannot be swept away.

Attempting to sweep away Jiang Zemin faction
     Xi has already busted former CCP Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang and former Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Zu Caihou, both key members of a powerful faction led by former CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin. Being cited as his next target is the faction's Guo Boxiong, also a former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.
     At present, anti-corruption investigators are checking the family of former Premier Li Peng who also belongs to the Jiang faction. The Xi administration may stick the knife into vested interests of the family without attacking the elderly former premier directly.
     In the meantime, Xi has reduced the power of incumbent Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan, who is a member of the Jiang faction and has manipulated news reports to soil Xi while undertaking media control and propaganda. Xi has recognized the manipulation and is checking those surrounding Liu who has nominally supported and really betrayed Xi in accordance with the will of Jiang Zemin. In February, Xi launched his own media control organization to restrict Liu's influences. He also replaced leaders of the official Xinhua news agency, the People's Daily and Beijing Daily with some of his favorites. Suspicious deaths have been reported for some media executives.
     Within the military, dozens of officers have been subjected to anti-corruption investigations. Since Xu Caihou was charged, senior military officers have rapidly been replaced in a reported move to sweep away Jiang faction members.
How long will Xi cooperate with Hu?
     Xi has requested his predecessor Hu Jintao's cooperation in the management of government in connection to the anti-corruption campaign, according to CCP and military sources.
     Two vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission are from the Hu group, while those from the Communist Youth League of China, a CCP leader training body affiliated with Hu, have taken key central and local CCP and government positions. Xi's support base, such as the Princeling and Red II groups comprising children of senior CCP officials, is not so powerful.
     In the previous administration, Hu was plagued with Jiang's intervention in government management and personnel issue. Xi now hopes to eliminate Jiang faction members who could intervene in personnel management at the next CCP Congress.
     "Xi is prepared to contain Jiang in cooperation with Hu Jintao," a CCP source said. "This would allow Xi to stick the knife into vested oil and electricity interests and Hu to send his supporters to the supreme leadership at the next CCP Congress." But it is uncertain how long the Xi-Hu cooperation would continue.

Toshu Noguchi is a guest researcher at JINF and a guest professor at Takushoku University.