The ban on taking notes at high-level Communist Party meetings shows highly unusual tensions ahead of the 20th Congress, Xi’s re-election battleground.
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping has rallied senior provincial and ministerial officials for top-secret meetings in Beijing twice in the past six months, in what is seen as a rare move to shore up enough his power to support his candidacy for the next term election to be determined at the party congress at the end of this year.
At the latest special seminar held July 26-27, attendees were not allowed to take notes, although it was apparently to “learn Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s important speeches and welcome the Twentieth Congress”.
US-based Chinese expert Shi Shan believes Xi has signaled he would be re-elected for at least five years with the move.
The main officials came from all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, the highest levels of central and state organs such as the Central Military Commission and the Politburo, and the Standing Committee.
Chinese expert and current affairs commentator Chen Pokong said in a July 28 comment on his YouTube channel that it was an unusual meeting, as it is rare for the CCP to hold two seminars for senior provincial officials. and ministers in six months.
In January, these senior officials were summoned to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the seminar for senior executives, according to reports in Chinese state-run media.
“All senior provincial and ministerial officials present at this meeting were not allowed to bring paper and pens, were not allowed to take notes and had only a cup of tea in front of them, while all the place was unmarked and without banners – a ‘Four Assembly of Nos.
This means that the contents of the meeting cannot be seen, and one of the reasons officials were not allowed to take notes was fear of a leak.
This has rarely happened in the history of the CCP, not even in the era of Mao Zedong, Chen said.
Dismissal of Senior Officials Announced at Secret CCP Meeting
In the past practice of the CCP, a “four nos” meeting was called when something unusual happened in the party and a unified tone to convince all cadres to obey was needed.
According to an official report, on July 15, 2017, Chongqing authorities held a meeting of its leaders and cadres, during which Zhao Leji, then a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, announced Beijing’s decision that Sun Zhengcai would no longer serve as secretary, standing committee member, or Chongqing municipal committee member.
Officials were also not allowed to take notes during this meeting.
Sun, the youngest member of the Politburo, has been described by foreign media as a “sixth generation” successor deliberately groomed by the CCP. But unexpectedly, Sun was punished by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection for allegedly violating party discipline, and later was sentenced to life imprisonment for “taking bribes”.
However, the real reason for Sun’s arrest is that he teamed up with Fang Fenghui, then the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Zhang Yang, then the director of the political work department, in an attempt to organize an anti-Xi coup before the 19th Congress. , people familiar with the matter said, according to Secret China, a US-based Chinese news outlet, on September 27, 2017.
In August of the same year, Fang and Zhang were expelled from the party organization and investigated. Zhang later died when he hanged himself in his home.
Fang was last seen in public on August 21, 2017, when he met Surapong Suwana-adth, then head of the Thai Defense Forces. Only days later, state media reported that Li Zuocheng attended the event with the same title, indicating Fang’s removal from his post. Soon after, Fang was reportedly investigated.
It was not until January 9, 2018 that it was announced that Fang had been transferred for military prosecution and charged with corruption and accepting bribes. On October 16 of the same year, he was expelled from the Central Military Commission, stripped of his rank of general and expelled from the Party. In February 2019, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
After Zhang’s suicide, officials from 13 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and central ministries held meetings to convey Beijing’s statement on Zhang’s death and to focus on expressing support for “a leadership centralized and unified Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its heart,” according to several Chinese media outlets.
Xi’s ‘re-election declaration’ within the party
At the senior officials’ seminar, Xi outlined the Communist Party’s political program for the next five years. Although Xi did not mention the word “re-election”, his speech was interpreted as his “re-election manifesto” for the 20th Congress.
In a press release issued by Party spokesperson Xinhua, Xi called the Twentieth Congress a “very important congress held at a critical time” that will define the goals and objectives of the CPC, as well as general policies for the next five years. years and beyond.
Xi said the Twentieth Congress will be a “new journey,” that the CPC will continue to advance toward the strategic plans of the Nineteenth Congress, which set out achieving “the basic modernization of socialism from 2020 to 2035.”
Xi talked about two concepts here: 15 years and 5 years, Chen noted.
The fifteen years – Xi’s long-term governing intention that was revealed at the Nineteenth Congress – could suffer a setback, as his current rule has met with resistance both inside and outside the CCP system, including opposition from upper echelons and former politicians. , Chen said.
While the next five years Xi highlighted at the meeting could be a strong hint that he expects to get the next term, Chen added.
Chinese expert Shi Shan also believes that Xi will be re-elected, but the title of “people’s leader” would not be given to him, and he may compromise with various factions to pursue re-election within the next five years. As a concession, Xi will give up some of the power that was previously set in stone.
The so-called “people’s leader” title refers to a July 12 report by Hong Kong media Ming Pao, citing Chinese military sources, that Xi would be officially named “people’s leader” by the Central Committee during the 20th Congress.
“If such a compromise is reached, Xi will be re-elected and all factions of the CCP will maintain some sort of balance,” Shi told The Epoch Times on July 29.
But it’s hard to say, if there’s any infighting or a coup and assassination plan targeting Xi, “In fact, Xi is now in a very precarious position, with all sorts of elements of more intense conflict that develops into the final battle for power within the Communist Party,” Shi said.