Revelations of a few events in China in the past few weeks give an uncanny feeling that all is not well with the iron-clad regime of President Xi Jinping. Sloppy performance on the economic front, on the one hand, coupled with uncertainties on the political front with top ministers going off the radar unannounced and then being sacked on the other, is not only unusual but makes one think whether this pushback from within, was waiting to take shape sooner than later? In order to grasp the intricacies of the situation and gain insight into the complete puzzle, BharatShakti’s Editor-in-Chief, Nitin A. Gokhale, engaged in a frank conversation with the Chinese expert Jayadeva Ranade on our sister concern platform StratNewsGlobal.
As per Ranade, the so-called ‘pushback’ to Xi’s regime is probably due to a combination of factors. To name a few, it could be the purging of the top Generals of the elite Rocket Force and many senior officers who presumably were involved in irregularities (read large-scale corruption) when the force was being expanded very ambitiously between 2015-18. As per reports, a high-level inquiry (Discipline Inspection Committee) has been ordered by Xi to look into the bidding process and other technicalities when the Rocket Force was being expanded.
Secondly, it could be the deteriorating economic situation over the past few years, which has caused the closing down of a large number of businesses and industries. As a result, thousands of private entrepreneurs and businessmen have been hit very badly. Unemployment in rural parts of China is at an all-time high. It has resulted in resentment amongst the population and has caused an enormous income disparity among the masses.
Another reason is the disapproval from a large number of veterans and party members, both senior and younger members of the CCP, who were not in favour of Xi Jinping making a bid for a third term in office. Many disapproved of a return to the one-man-rule.
Handling or mishandling international relations may be another issue that is also a bone of contention. The closeness of the regime with Korea, Pakistan and Russia is a fundamental cause of worry and a trigger in the bigger scheme of things against China. There are apprehensions, and rightly so, that the relations have nose-dived to such an extent that it may cause sanctions to be imposed on China, which is absolutely undesirable.
Also, the stand taken by Xi for going ahead with his plans for the reunification of Taiwan with China is an overreach and has worried many. It is widely believed that this stance taken by Xi has further isolated China from the world. Recent exercises by PLA forces around Taiwan, where warships and aircraft were involved in huge numbers, indicate that Xi’s stand on reunification is ‘non-negotiable’. Xi has undoubtedly pushed things further towards the threshold of conflict rather than easing out. Or, maybe he is testing the waters by observing the reaction of the US. Xi may resort to this option should the economic situation in China not improve to keep the heat off his back. Distraction at its best!
Finally, there was the mystery of disappearing ministers; first, it was the Foreign Minister Qin Gang, and now it is the Defence Minister Li Shangfu. Though both of them are supposed to be the Blue-eyed boys of Xi and have risen the ranks courtesy of their closeness with the powers that be, more than their core competencies, the CCP members are not in agreement with their meteoric rise. Their removal thus has been triggered by a factional fight between the groups and other reasons internal to the Central Committee of the CCP. By removing these two, President Xi is trying to do a swift balancing act or damage control.
Note: To watch full interview, click link below
‘Xi Jinping Facing Pushback From Within The Party’