Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Xi Bags a Tiger

Xi Jinping rises further to the top with the formal arrest of Zhou Yongkang
If you've been counting, Chinese President Xi Jinping's name has been mentioned in 4,186 articles in the first eight pages of the People's Daily for the past 18 months.

This compares to former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao mentioned in less than 2,000 reports each. The statistics are collected by Qian Gang, a former journalist who is the director of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong.

He compared the coverage of eight party leaders of their first 18 months in office. The leaders were: Xi, Jiang, Hu, Mao Zedong, Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang.

Of course Mao and Hua were mentioned most frequently because of their cult-like status at the time.

But with Xi's numerous mentions, does this mean he is trying to elevate himself to the status of the Great Helmsman Mao?

There has been a two-year wait for today's announcement
Qian says no, but with the current anti-corruption campaign and today's official announcement of former security chief Zhou Yongkang being investigated for "serious disciplinary violations", Xi seems to be further consolidating his power (and mentions in the paper).

Zhou's case, which will be handled by the Commission for Discipline Inspection, ends the unspoken rule among party elders that Politburo Standing Committee members would not be prosecuted on economic or social crimes for the sake of party unity.

The announcement also signals that all party leaders are finally behind the decision, including Zhou's former patron Jiang, and now they can move forward on the main policy issues to be discussed in October during the fourth plenary of the 18th Party Congress.

It was only a matter of time before Zhou would be formally investigated. He was a strong ally of Bo Xilai and we know what happened to him. Zhou seemed to be the only person publicly defending Bo before his formal arrest, and at one point they allegedly conspired to grab power from Hu.

On the outside many ordinary people are pleased Xi has bagged himself a "tiger", taking down corrupt senior officials, but deep down, is this Xi's strategy to further build his power base by eliminating his enemies?

Or is this his way of uniting the Party?

Either way Zhou is going down... crashing and burning big time...

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