A senior Chinese propaganda official was removed from his post shortly after his jilted mistress posted a detailed account of their affair online. While it seems like a mere sex scandal, the quick removal of the official is believed to be an effort by China’s new leadership to take over the state’s propaganda apparatus.
Yi Junqing, director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, was removed from his post because of an “improper life style,” state media Xinhua reported on Jan. 17.
Yi’s name became an online buzzword in China late last December after a married postdoctoral researcher of the translation bureau, Chang Yan, posted a 120,000-word diary detailing her affair with Yi.
According to Chang, she paid Yi 90,000 yuan (US$14,480) and had sex with him 17 times between November 2011 and November 2012 in exchange for his promise to transfer her to Beijing. However, Yi didn’t keep his promise, and she also found out that he had several other mistresses, Chang said.
The diary also mentioned that Yi boasted to Chang about his close relationship with Liu Yunshan and Li Changchun, two powerful Party officials of the Politburo Standing Committee. Liu is a current member and Li a former member of the Committee.
According to the diary, Yi told Chang that he had hopes of becoming deputy head of the Central Propaganda Department, and “it will be easier if Liu Yunshan makes it to the Politburo Standing Committee; he understands me better than others.”
Official media was quick to criticize Yi. “Yi Junqing, a veteran researcher of Marxist culture and philosophy, shattered his ‘high principles’ and preaches with his dirty deeds,” Qianjiang Evening News said in a commentary.
Of all the Party officials who keep mistresses and take bribes, many wondered why Yi was singled out and removed from his post so quickly.
Epoch Times news commentator Yang Ning believes it’s due to power struggles between new Party leader Xi Jinping and former leader Jiang Zemin.
The translation bureau is an important policy unit, directly subordinate to the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to Xinhua, the bureau is responsible for compiling, translating and researching Marxist works, preparing foreign translations of important Party documents, and providing theoretical support for the CCP’s policies.
As propaganda is an important pillar in the CCP’s rule, senior positions in the propaganda apparatus are coveted by all political forces. In the past two decades, the Jiang faction has controlled the system and occupied many key posts.
Yi’s patron, Liu Yunshan, is a prominent figure in the Jiang faction. Liu is believed to be behind the recent censoring of the liberal newspaper Southern Weekly’s New Year statement that echoed Xi Jinping’s calling for the rule of law in China in accordance with the constitution. The incident is seen as a public challenge Liu put forward to Xi.
Liu became head of the Propaganda Department in 2002 and is reported to have ingratiated himself with Jiang Zemin by organizing pro-Jiang propaganda in the domestic and foreign press. He is also opposed to any democratic reforms in China.
In the way it’s usually conceived, the Party’s rule relies on control over both the pen and the gun. When Xi took over the military leadership position, he took control of the gun.
According to commentator Yang Ning, Xi is now seizing control of the pen by replacing Yi Junqing with his own man, Jia Gaojian, to head the translation bureau.
The fact that Yi’s sex scandal was so widely publicized in such a tightly controlled media environment clearly shows the central government’s intention to reshuffle the propaganda system, Gang Liu, a regular contributor to the Jasmine website said.
Jia Gaojian was previously the Minister of Education of the Central Party School, placed in that position by Xi as part of a major reshuffle in the Party School, which began last April with the ousting and investigation of Politburo member Bo Xilai. Bo was a Standing Committee hopeful and a Jiang faction heir before his fall.
Analysts also suspect that Xi is also planning to take direct control of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee–China’s massive system of domestic security–or bestow their powers to an official loyal to him.
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