September 10, 2009Chinacivil-military relationsForeign Affairspolitics

Factional power struggle in Beijing

Cadres are competing to out-tough each other

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

So much bungling in such a short period of time—from a regime that is seen as a deliberate, strategic player—rules out mere incompetence” this blog wrote in July this year. While an outright leadership struggle is be unlikely, it could well be that a fratricidal war of succession is raging in Beijing.”

Well, the Sydney Morning Herald’s John Garnaut reports that’s what is going on. (via The Peking Duck & The Paper Tiger)

There are some well-connected political observers in Beijing who believe that the party’s recent across-the-board political and security tightening, including a ruthless attack on the legal profession, is linked to efforts by the vice-president, Xi Jinping, to secure the leadership of the country by 2012.

They say Xi is desperately wooing the hardliners, mainly allies of former president Jiang Zemin, who control the party’s core security apparatus: internal security, propaganda and the military. Xi’s immediate goal is to lock in a promotion to be vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission this month, in time for the National Day military extravaganza on October 1. President Hu Jintao received the same promotion at the same point in his transition to the leadership in 2002.

Beyond Xi, senior party figures are manoeuvring to get themselves or their allies into the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee by the time of the next party congress in 2012. Everywhere, cadres are competing to out-tough each other.

The internal competition is more unpredictable than usual because the party no longer has any god-like revolutionary heroes to defer to. [SMH]

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