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CCP using war on graft to clamp down on Xi opponents

OPINION
By Juan Carlos | February 26th 2021

Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the highest internal control division of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tasked with countering corruption within the party held a meeting in late January has recently vowed to step up its anti-graft wars

Chinese President Xi Jinping took over the party based on strong campaigning and motto about uprooting corruption from China, hence the popular tag ‘Anti-corruption Crusader’.

This campaign has led to thousands of arrests, nevertheless, the business sphere in the country keeps getting negatively impacted by corruption. 

Corruption in China presents entities operating or planning to invest in the country with enormous danger intense political intrusion or assistance pay-outs. Corruption is ingrained into China’s structure of governing institutional foundations and such has been affirmed by many Chinese refugees and businessmen despite officers saying otherwise.

But what started as an aggressive anti-corruption crusade has now turned into a strategic run down of dissent with Xi people now fearing that Xi might stay longer in power like his predecessor Mao with claims that he is using the corruption card to weed out the would-be opponents. 

With his tunnel vision focus, Xi is more concerned with steering the consequences of corrupt actions against the interest of his party than rooting out corruption altogether. 

CCP is steadfast at putting down any voice of defiance and disagreement which works against the party. The association between the country’s businessmen, high society nobles and the draconian leadership has been in the stew.

Nevertheless, there has been a slow but consistent rise of dissenting views in the face of repressive state power in China. And the apparent discontent among the populace does not seem to be limited to a particular social class or section.

Moreover, with social media, the crackdown on dissenting voices have become more impossible to conceal from the public eye. The most recent example is when Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma disappeared from public life for three months after his remarks on China’s financial industry. 

There have been numerous such cases before. Ren Zhiqiang (‘Cannon Ren’ named by netizens), a real-estate tycoon wrote on February 23 about Xi describing him as ‘clown rather than emperor’.

Ren condemned the limits imposed by the state on free speech before he went missing. Later, it was revealed that CCP had initiated an investigation against him in which he was charged in a district court of Beijing for economic crimes.

Xu, a law professor at Tsinghua University, also had made some remarks against Jinping in May accusing him of pushing towards a Cultural Revolution. The Beijing police kept him in custody for almost a week alleging charges of soliciting prostitution to discredit him. The University later revoked his licence and sacked him. The Chinese Communist Party does not even provide for an independent judiciary rejecting any separation of powers.

The Communique adopted by CCDI at its recent meeting has an eight-point list of requirements. They talk about upholding Xi's position as the core of the whole party; investigating corruption cases involving political and economic issues; supervising the regulations on the businesses conducted by spouses of top officials, children and close relative etc.

The commandments make it clear that corruption which is generally recognised as an economic offence, founds a duplicitous place in China. Xi is concerned with political aspects rather than economic implications.

He is being seen as selective in the handling of graft cases with those who criticise CPP targeted. It does not matter that you have been stealing from the government, what matters is that you shall not criticise CCP or its leader with dissenting from the party views now a more serious crime than actual corruption. 

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