The real explosive news of the Party Congress came the day after President Xi Jinping’s the arcane and long-winded opening speech. The Hong Kong–based South China Morning Post (SCMP), which has a history of leaking important China stories to the foreign public, reported on Friday that former Chongqing party chief Sun Zhengcai, 54, was involved in an attempted coup.
The revelation, wrote the SCMP, came at a sideline meeting on Thursday. «Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, accused a string of disgraced cadres of plotting to seize the reins of power. Among those named was Sun Zhengcai, once a front-runner for a place in the inner circle, the Politburo Standing Committee».
«[Xi] addressed the cases of Bo Xilai [also a former Chongqing party chief], Zhou Yongkang [Standing Committee member and security czar], Ling Jihua [head of the Party Secretariat], Xu Caihou [first vice chairman of the Military Commission], Guo Boxiong [second vice chairman of the Military Commission], and Sun Zhengcai. They had high positions and great power in the party, but they were hugely corrupt and plotted to usurp the party’s leadership and seize state power», Liu said, becoming the first senior official to accuse Sun of trying to take over the party.
The story tells us that there is deep-seated opposition to Xi Jinping and his way of ruling China, or at least Xi thinks so, and that is the same thing.
Sun was taken away just weeks before the congress and therefore some or many of his supporters/ sympathizers are still well entrenched in the party. Some in Beijing believe that the accusations of corrupt billionaire turned graft-buster Guo Wengui are linked with this opposition from within the party. Guo is self-exiled in the United States.
It is not clear what Xi will do next.
An indication of the internal difficulties also comes from Xi’s speech. He stressed the importance of the leadership of the party, which was repeated 16 times. It is a sign that many party cadres turn a deaf ear to orders from Beijing. If cadres obeyed, Xi would not need to remind them of this.
Furthermore, on Thursday, at the Congress opening, Xi sat between his predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Perhaps Xi wanted to stress continuity, or maybe it is a sign that he still has to deal with past leaders.