The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be held in Beijing on October 16, 2022. The CCP National Congress, held every five years, has always been a rare opportunity for the outside world to understand and analyze the political situation of the CCP and China.
MEMRI will introduce a series of reports and analysis articles about the political infighting of the Chinese Communist Party, the challenges faced by Xi Jinping, the layout of Xi's people in the new leadership of the CCP and the trend of China's political situation in the future around the 20th CCP National Congress.
It is well known that the rigged process of power competition and distribution within the CCP is opaque and full of behind-the-scenes deals and manipulations. Hence, the process is uncertain, and it is difficult to tell until the last moment who the final winner will be.
Judging by the latest news, the outside world can interpret that Xi Jinping's political position remains solid and stable. Indeed, the CCP media are playing up and laying the groundwork for his re-election. It seems that if there were no unexpected event, his re-election would be a foregone conclusion.
However, the outcome of the power struggle within the Chinese Communist Party cannot be determined until the last minute. This is evident from the fact that the Politburo Standing Committee members elected from the 16th and 18th National Congress of the CCP were determined at the last minute after fierce bargaining behind the scenes, and even their meetings with reporters were delayed.
Therefore, even if there is no suspense about Xi Jinping's re-election, there are forces within the CCP that are anti-Xi or dissatisfied with him.
Following is an article published by the opposition website Secret China, on August 31, 2022, titled "[Chinese Minister of Public Security] Wang Xiaohong's Speeches Gave An Unusual Hint That Some Senior Anti-Xi Jinping Officials Are Expected To Be Taken Down Ahead Of The 20th Party Congress."
Minister Of Public Security Wang Xiaohong: "We Should Resolutely Defend Xi Jinping"
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"As the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is approaching, senior officials in the political-legal circles have shown their loyalty to Xi Jinping. Recently, Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong (王小洪) has made a series of speeches, revealing unusual information. Some analysts believe that the internal wrangling within the Communist Party is still fierce and Xi Jinping is still at risk.
"According to http://www.legaldaily.com.cn, the official website of the CCP Central Committee's Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the theme of the expanded meeting, which was held on August 24, was to learn from Xi Jinping's admonition when he handed out police flags in 2020. Wang Xiaohong proposed at the meeting: 'We must further strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core and keep in alignment, enhance confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping's core position in both the Party Central Committee and the Party as a whole as well as the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, and gain a thorough understanding of the decisive significance of establishing Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and establishing the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.' Wang also called for 'strict prevention and severe attack on hostile forces at home and abroad.'
"On August 26, Wang Xiaohong also presided over the special guidance report meeting of the national public security organs, learning Xi Jinping's thought of the rule of law. Members of the leading groups of public security organs at the provincial, city and county levels of China attended by video. Wang Xiaohong emphasized that the public security organs should be 'absolutely loyal, absolutely pure and absolutely reliable to the Party' and improve 'the ability and level of defending political security, maintaining social stability and safeguarding people's peace'. Besides, he also emphasized, 'We should focus on understanding the Eleven 'to stick to' thought and plan put forward by Xi Jinping concerning the rule of law. In addition, at the meeting, Wang Xiaohong also made a statement that 'we should resolutely defend Xi Jinping, listen to Xi Jinping, safeguard Xi Jinping and uphold Xi Jinping'."
"The Political Security Of Xi Jinping Is Still Not Guaranteed"
"Some commentators see Wang's repeated rhetoric about Xi's core role in the Party as a sign that Xi's re-election is not assured.
"A comparison can be found: a front-page article in the Communist Party flagship newspaper People's Daily on August 26 recalled Xi's awarding of police flags to the Communist Party's police organs in August 2020, which is the same thing Wang said in his speech. However, the People's Daily article, though more than 4,000 words long, made no mention of 'upholding General Secretary Xi Jinping's core position in both the Party Central Committee and the Party as a whole as well as the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee' or 'establishing Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and establishing the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era' at all, nor did it mention the jargon such as 'uphold the core and defend the core,' and even the name 'Xi Jinping' only appeared twice.
"On August 28, the Chinese Supreme Court's official WeChat account published an article by Zhou Qiang, the court secretary and president, which was full of stereotypes, such as 'deeply implement' and 'deeply comprehend,' without any special expressions.
"Zhou Xiaohui, a commentator on current affairs, wrote on August 29 that Wang Xiaohong's remarks revealed at least two things. First, there are people in the Party who do not always follow Xi's orders and commands, and there are words and deeds inside and outside the Party that undermine the centralized and unified leadership of the Party, and there are phenomena that damage the relationship between senior leaders in the Party. Second, the political security of Xi Jinping is still not guaranteed, and the so-called 'hostile forces' are still carrying out 'infiltration, subversion, disruption and sabotage' inside the CCP.
"Citing relevant reports, Zhou Xiaohui pointed out that the 'hostile forces' in the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party come from both outside and inside. Wang Xiaohong's comments are yet another confirmation that the [annual summer] Beidaihe meeting has not resolved the differences at the top of the Communist Party, that the infighting is still ongoing and that Xi Jinping is still at risk ahead of the 20th Party Congress."
"The Anti-Xi Forces Will Not Stop Opposing Xi Jinping"
"In order to be re-elected in the 20th National Congress of the CCP and consolidate his power, Xi Jinping has already made a systematic layout in key positions. In early August, the Wall Street Journal quoted experts as saying that recent appointments showed that Xi's authority remained strong, with key posts in charge of security, propaganda, and the economy all controlled by Xi's faction.
"However, the anti-Xi forces will not stop opposing Xi Jinping, said Wang Youqun, a commentator on current affairs, in an August 30 article. Until the eve of the 20th National Party Congress, they will still try their best to oust Xi Jinping.
"Xi Jinping's ace in the hole against his political opponents is the 'fight against corruption.' Before the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi's 'fight against corruption' created an anti-Xi 'Sun Lijun [Sun Lijun was a former vice minister of public security in China] political gang.'
"Wang Youqun said that the 'political gang of Sun Lijun' dared to turn against Xi Jinping because Sun Lijun's backstage bosses were Meng Jianzhu, a former public security minister, former Politburo member and secretary of the CCP's Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (中共中央政法委员会), Zeng Qinghong, a former Politburo Standing Committee member and Chinese Vice President, and Jiang Zemin, a former Chinese Communist Party dictator.
"Wang Youqun believes that at present, the general representatives of anti-Xi forces are Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong. Since Jiang Zemin is 97 years old and is likely to take his last breath at any moment, Zeng Qinghong is now the top commander of the Jiang and Zeng faction. In other words, the actual commander of the anti-Xi Jinping forces is Zeng Qinghong. Before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party, Zeng and his men will certainly use all available opportunities to continue to attack Xi Jinping.
"On January 24, Wang Xiaohong, Secretary of the Party Committee of the Ministry of Public Security, presided over the 'special meeting on eliminating the influence of the dead hand of Sun Lijun's political Gang' and announced the establishment of the 'Special leading group of the Ministry of Public Security on eliminating the baneful influence of Sun Lijun's political Gang.' As of today, the leading group still has not released its report card since its inception.
"Wang Xiaohong's people are presumably screening key people with links to Sun Lijun. By the CCP's 20th National Congress, it is very likely that some anti-Xi Jinping senior officials in the political and legal circles will be taken down."