China has a problem with human disappearance. During the bloody days of Mao’s Revolutionary regime, humans used to disappear on a mass scale. Most of them included those who used to oppose Mao’s Communist imposition on the land of Confucius. Decades later, no one would have thought in their wildest dream that president Xi Jinping would go missing.
Xi Jinping is out of sight
According to a report by Bloomberg, it has been 13 days since Chinese President Xi Jinping was seen in the public domain. Jinping was last seen in Hong Kong on July 1st. Interestingly, it was the first trip Jinping had set for outside mainland China since February 2020. The chances that it is one of those annual leaves taken by Chinese political oligarchs are also slim.
Every year, political elites of China stay at Beidaihe seaside resort for a few days. The coveted list includes the President and other top brass of the government. Last year, it was from August 1 to August 16. However, other prominent leaders of this high-profile group like Li Keqiang and Wang Yang have been observed in public, but not Jinping.
Possibility of Covid infection
There is also an outside possibility that the man is infected with covid. Steven Ho, one of the persons present in the group photograph with Xi was tested covid positive, two days after the photograph was taken. Though he seems to have recovered, Jinping’s covid status is still unknown. Apparently, Jinping imposing authoritarian control to stay away from the virus means that he must have low natural immunity compared to those whose body has been infected with the virus.
That is why Jinping touring Hong Kong was contentious since Hong Kong’s atmosphere was not shielded for Jinping. According to a report by the South China Morning Post, on July 6, Wong Kwan-yu, president of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said that Xi had risked his life by visiting Hong Kong.
Jinping is losing clout
Meanwhile, the political atmosphere is also expected to heat up in Jinping’s absence from the scene. At the end of this year, there is a presidential election in China. Yes, they also have a system of choosing their public representative. Chinese Communist Party has to choose who will be heading China in future. Before covid, it was expected that it would be a cakewalk for Xi Jinping.
However, the covid-19 pandemic has changed everything. Jinping is not the sole voice of authority in China anymore. Though in a hushed tone, voices of opposition have been rising against the Xi Jinping administration. One of the first policies Jinping was criticised for was his efforts to curb the rise of covid-19. Xi Jinping used harsh lockdowns, mass testing and tight border controls to control virus expansion. He also tried to use it for his propaganda.
Jinping is criticised left, right and centre
But the method proved to be counterproductive and people grew more and more discontent with the administration. Even to this date, Chinese people are not happy with these methods. Recently, Shanghai witnessed civil unrest when its residents and shopkeepers raised their voices against the lockdowns. Shanghai, being one of the most important cities in China is expected to be a big point of contention in presidential elections. The proof of the pudding lies in the fact that CCP members have used Jinping’s methods to criticise him.
Jinping has drawn ire from agents of the Chinese economy as well. His methods to control the economy have come under scrutiny and Chinese oligarchs have spoken against it, a rare sight in the Communist nation. For instance, towards the end of 2020, the Chinese despot Xi Jinping initiated a bloody carnage in his country’s tech sector. The tech sector had grown very powerful by 2020, with Alibaba founder Jack Ma openly criticizing CCP’s redundant financial regulations. Xi Jinping was quick to initiate a technological massacre, and soon, Chinese tech companies found trillions of dollars of their wealth evaporating into thin air.
Multiple angles are involved
Jinping was down to old Communist tactics of punishing the good and productive people. He exercised tight wealth control to stop the “disorderly spread of capital” and “private enterprises’ monopolistic and unfair competitive behavior”. As a result, private companies have found it tough to sustain themselves. Laying off employees is rampant in China. Billions of dollars have now flown out of China. It is the rivals of the Paper Dragon who are benefiting at the expense of China’s declining economy, India being one of them.
Given that Jinping’s list of misdeeds during the last few years is too big to ignore, it was natural that he would not want to lose respect among his party members. Jinping may keep himself out of the presidential race. Alternatively, he may come off as a more fierce competitor. Given that China is a closed polity, any third possibility can’t be kept out.
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