Communist party seniors had plotted to overthrow Xi, says top official
Several Communist Party of China (CPC) leaders had plotted a coup against President Xi Jinping, a top official has alleged, indicating a power struggle within the ruling party that contradicts the narrative of unity.
Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, claimed that a group of former top leaders, who have been expelled from the party and are now in jail, had attempted to overthrow the Xi government.
“(Xi) addressed the cases of Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, Ling Jihua, Xu Caihou, Guo Boxiong and Sun Zhengcai. They had high positions and great power in the party, but they were hugely corrupt and plotted to usurp the party’s leadership and seize state power,” Liu said at a panel discussion on the sidelines of the ongoing national congress of the CPC.
Liu is the first senior official to publically accuse the former leaders of attempting to stage a coup. It was not clear whether he was referring to a coordinated plot or separate attempts at a takeover.
Speaking of Xi’s anti-graft campaign, Liu said the president had made great efforts since 2012 to root out corruption. “Xi Jinping, with the historical responsibility as a proletarian revolutionist ... cleared up huge risks for the party and the country,” he said.
“The central leadership of the party with general secretary Xi Jinping as the core saved the party, saved the military and saved the country over the past five years ... He saved socialism,” Liu said.
The South China Morning Post reported that Wang Qishan, the country’s top graft-buster, reportedly told China’s top political advisory body late last year that some cadres had tried to take over the party.
“More seriously, some even sought to ... seize party and state power, engaging in activities to split the party, and seriously threatening the nation’s political stability,” Wang was quoted as saying.
According to SCMP, the report came out on December 1 but the speech was dated October 31.
“As a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou is the highest ranking official to have been convicted of corruption in the party’s history. Bo, Guo, Xu and Ling were all former or serving party leaders. Xu died in 2015,” the report said.
Xi’s detractors have noted that the anti-graft crackdown was used as a pretext to purge the powerful president’s opponents and to consolidate power — more than one million officials have been jailed or arrested in the crackdown which began soon after he took over in 2012.
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