The much-anticipated civil war within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) might have already started. In fact, CCP General Secretary and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ongoing purge, which is often disguised as an anti-graft campaign, has now started targeting those who are supposed to be close to the CCP General Secretary. These are first signs of Xi Jinping facing opposition from close quarters and thus losing faith on those who are supposed to be his close aides.
As per latest reports, Chinese authorities have announced that Dong Hong, a senior Chinese government Inspector is under investigation for corruption and suspicion of “serious” violation of law. Hong is a long-time colleague of incumbent Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan. Xi Jinping administration’s allegations of “serious” violation of the law are, of course, a pretext for targeting anyone whom the CCP General Secretary cannot trust any longer.
Ever since he came to power in 2012, Xi Jinping is known to have targeted a mind-boggling 1.34 million officials as a part of his massive “anti-corruption campaign”. But to purge someone like Hong is rather unusual on Xi Jinping’s part. Hong used to be a very senior official in the Xi Jinping administration earlier. Till 2017, he was leading China’s anti-corruption body- the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI).
Now, Hong is becoming the victim of the same Chinese agency, which he once used to lead. CCDI issued a one-line statement revealing Hong “suspected serious violation of laws and party rule”.
Not much is known about Hong, though Chinese state media outlets trace his relationship with Wang back to the 1990s. Wang, who was appointed as the Chinese Vice President in 2018, is himself believed to be close to Xi Jinping. As a necessary extension, Hong should have enjoyed a lot of goodwill with the Xi Jinping administration. But it seems that Jinping cannot trust anyone including his lieutenant’s aides.
There are several reasons why Jinping is possibly facing a revolt from his close aides within the CCP. In any case, Jinping is losing faith in men whom he was actually supposed to trust. Within China, and also within the CCP, there are signs of a general feeling of the incumbent CCP General Secretary having let his party and his country down.
In fact, the past eight months or so have gone terribly wrong for China. First, Xi Jinping administration’s Wuhan virus coverup that has killed more than one million people across the world till now, and then Jinping’s belligerence on all of China’s frontiers have fomented a lot of trouble for the Dragon.
And Chinese belligerence hasn’t really achieved anything. China has faced massive setbacks at the hands of India and the Chinese Communist Party’s armed wing- the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), too, has suffered disproportionate casualties and setbacks at the hands of the Indian Army.
Even on its other fronts like the East China Sea and the South China Sea, Beijing is facing a tough time at the hands of countries like Japan and Vietnam. And above all, the growing American presence in the Indo-Pacific to meet the China challenge is killing the carefully crafted myth of Chinese military might.
Within China, Xi Jinping has been unnecessarily pushing the envelope by committing serious human rights violations in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Tibet. And the Chinese President’s decision to impose the draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong is also creating more and more internal rift within China. Xi Jinping’s actions are putting the People’s Republic of China on the course of rebellions and divisions.
On the economic front also, Xi Jinping is turning out to be a major flop. With his confrontational attitude, Jinping has antagonised the Trump administration in the United States leading to a US-China tariff war. India too has been punishing China on the economic front for Beijing’s unprovoked aggression in Eastern Ladakh sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)- the effective Sino-India border.
And then, Xi Jinping’s domestic human rights abuses campaign is also setting up the Dragon for punitive sanctions from the United States and the rest of the free world.
Under Xi Jinping, the CCP itself seems clueless. It has no real solution for the economic and military setbacks that it is facing in the Indo-Pacific region. And still worse, China is staring into famines and food shortages due to which Xi Jinping is also asking his countrymen to ‘eat less’. He has even launched the ‘Clean Plates campaign’ to curb the leftovers problem in China.
Within the CCP, people are calling Xi Jinping names like “Mafia Boss“, which has definitely worn down the Chinese President’s stature within his own party. Xi Jinping is fast losing his fanbase within the CCP and, therefore, he has to control the party with an iron fist.
Going ahead, Jinping might grow extremely paranoid. He will ultimately start purging the closest of his aides because the CCP General Secretary cannot trust anyone except himself. The CCP civil war is already here, and Dong Hong is its first victim.