According to a source in Beijing close to China’s top leadership, Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has made his first significant move against the former Party boss, and his chief rival, Jiang Zemin. The source said that Jiang and his two sons have been “placed under control,” meaning that their freedom of movement has been temporarily restricted.
The source, who communicated with Lin Feng, an editor with the Chinese edition of Epoch Times, said that the action was taken on Aug. 15. Zeng Qinghong, Jiang’s henchman, also had his movements limited, according to the source.
Epoch Times believes the source to be reliable because of the source’s identity and access to information in the top leadership. Lin Feng believes the purpose of the revelation at this time is to send a signal to Jiang’s supporters in the regime, “to give everyone a psychological preparation for when Xi actually formally arrests Jiang.”
“They did the same thing before the removal of Zhou Yongkang and others, increasing pressure on them,” Lin said. Zhou Yongkang was the Party’s former security boss; when rumors that he would eventually be purged began emanating from China, they were initially dismissed by foreign observers of Chinese politics. The takedown of Zhou is widely acknowledged to be among the most significant political purges in living memory.
Jiang Zemin was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002. He stayed on as head of the military for another two years, and didn’t relinquish all military posts for a year after that. During his years in office and as he was departing, Jiang installed a series of cronies in key posts, some of whom ran their own fiefdoms outside the control of the formal leadership.
This parallel power structure encompassed the security apparatus, under the rule of Luo Gan, and then Zhou Yongkang, who expanded it to a behemoth with an annual budget of $120 billion, larger than that of the military; and also military forces. All this ensured the continuation of Jiang’s key policies, including his crusade against the Falun Gong spiritual practice. Guo Boxiong and in particular Xu Caihou, the two former vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission, “emptied the power” of Chairman Hu Jintao, according to Yang Chuncheng, a former deputy director at the Academy of Military Science, in an interview with the Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television.
Much of the focus of Xi Jinping’s purge of the Communist Party over the last two and a half years has been about uprooting this political network and removing the Jiang Zemin holdovers one at a time. It has been accompanied by well-timed leaks to the press, and tantalising reports and remarks by officials who have hinted about far-reaching political conspiracies that went to the top of the regime.
That Jiang Zemin was the ultimate godfather behind the political machinery that Xi Jinping sought to dismantle was widely understood in political circles in China, but had not been explicitly brought to the fore until an editorial in People’s Daily, the Party’s mouthpiece, on Aug. 10. The newspaper on that date published a barbed criticism of former leaders who interfere in the affairs of their successors, preventing them from “rolling up their sleeves and doing bold work.”
It also complained of leaders who, “being unhappy to retire … do everything they can to extend their power.”
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