Divining Xi's Behavior: It's All About Power

(MENAFN- Asia Times) In China , espionage laws are being tightened and senior officials are“disappearing” - most recently the defense minister. Meanwhile, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is throwing its weight around in the region.

Here's the thing to remember when considering Communist China: It's all about power and control for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP ) and especially for whoever is at the top. Xi Jinping also has to control the CCP and that's still a work in progress. It always is.

Regarding the“disappearing officials” and the defense minister, in particular, one hopes the CIA and the rest of the US intelligence community with their US$80 billion budget know the answer and aren't just speculating like the rest of us.

But here's how I see it.

There probably isn't a single Chinese official at these levels who isn't guilty of corruption. And even if there are a few“clean” ones, as Soviet secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria said,“Show me the man and I'll show you the crime.”

So it is unlikely that the minister got caught because of“corruption,” unlikely that Xi is just cleaning out a corrupt official or three.“Corruption” seems to be the modern version of the Maoist era's“counter-revolutionary activities.” It's the go-to, catch-all charge for getting rid of people and making it look like they were guilty of something.

So why is Xi doing it?

Defense Minister Li Shangfu at the Asian Security Conference in Singapore on June 4, 2023. Photo: Kyodo Possible motives

It could be the officials' poor performance. The PLA has flubbed some exercises. And it has exhibited some serious failings.

Or maybe they just weren't taking things seriously enough and Xi didn't think he'd gotten their attention or could count on them.

But the PLA has had problems for years and the Chinese talk about it all the time.
Note frequent complaints about the PLA's“peace disease” and other military shortcomings.

suspect Xi is worried about something internally. He might see opposition forming in certain quarters. He's no doubt got plenty of enemies after purging his rivals over the years. This is the nature of dictatorships and regimes that rule by force and intimidation. All opposition is rooted out – even preemptively, and even where it does not exist.


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