Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrives at the 2023 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on Aug. 23.
/ September 27, 2023
News outlets including CNN and The Epoch Times have said high-level purges in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are signs of turmoil within the Xi Jinping regime.
Ely Ratner, U.S. assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 19 that the Pentagon is closely watching China regarding several domestic concerns, including potential political instability.
But longtime China watchers are saying the purges within the upper echelons of the communist government have been carefully orchestrated by Xi in following the ideological techniques used by Mao Zedong and Josef Stalin.
The lengthy list of recently purged officials under Xi includes the publicly televised ouster of former Chinese President Hu Jintao from a major party conference in October 2022; the firing in August of Foreign Minister Qin Gang over what U.S. officials say may have been the fallout of an extramarital affair; the recent disappearance from public view of Defense Minister Li Shangfu, who is said to be under party investigation; and the removal last summer of Gen. Li Yuchao as commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, China‘s nuclear missile arsenal.
Officials and analysts have said the “purges and disappearances among Chinese government leaders suggest there is growing instability in Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party leadership compound in Beijing,” security correspondent Bill Gertz noted in a Sept. 20 Washington Times analysis.
But others say the large-scale purges are not the result of internal political turmoil.
Miles Yu, a former State Department China policymaker and former contributing editor to Geostrategy-Direct
, said the recent purges within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) inner circle conform perfectly to the logic of communist dictatorship. That logic says that “any display, real or imagined, of insufficient absolute loyalty to the supreme leader means absolute disloyalty, which must be squelched without mercy,” said Yu, now director of the China Center at the Hudson Institute.
“The history of the Chinese Communist Party is among the bloodiest of all Marxist-Leninist parties,” Yu said. “What’s surprising is that we should be surprised by it at all.”
Col. Wu Qian was quoted as saying the PLA has been operating since its formation according to Mao‘s 1938 dictum: “Every communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
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