With the appointment of a new head for the United Front Work Department, a decisive blow has been struck in the struggle behind the scenes for supremacy within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to a trusted source in Beijing. From Hong Kong to the Senkaku Islands, the United Front Department has been the cause of continuing trouble for Party leader Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao and a possible threat to their plans to appoint new Party leadership at the upcoming 18th Party Congress, according to the source.
The announcement on Sept. 1 that Hu Jintao’s long-time chief of staff Ling Jihua would take the helm of the United Front Department sparked much speculation in Beijing. The United Front is charged with isolating and attacking enemies of the CCP, particularly outside China, by forming alliances with groups in society not known to be affiliated with the Party.
The move was considered a demotion for Ling, who had been considered a likely candidate for the Politburo and, eventually, the Politburo Standing Committee—the group of nine that run the CCP. Ling was Hu Jintao’s most trusted aid, had served him well as chief of staff, and had taken the lead in dismantling the network of cadres loyal to disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai.
In fact, Ling’s appointment to the United Front is a continuation of his work in opposing those loyal to Bo and to the faction in the Party that Bo was a leading figure in the group assembled by former Party head Jiang Zemin.
The man whom Ling replaced, Du Qinglin, is a member of Jiang’s faction and had used his post in the United Front to foment schemes meant to return Jiang’s faction to power.
Jiang’s faction had been dominant in the Party since the late 1990s and for most of Hu’s time as head of the Party the faction greatly constrained what he could do.
Jiang’s faction has been attacked by Hu and Wen since former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun fled to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6. Wang is reported to have revealed crimes by his boss, Bo Xilai, and Bo’s wife Gu Kailai, and more importantly a plan by Bo Xilai and domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang to displace presumptive next head of the Party Xi Jinping.
Among other moves then taken by Hu and Wen to drain power away from Jiang’s faction: Bo was removed from his Party posts and placed under investigation; Bo’s cronies were swept up; Zhou Yongkang kept his title as head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), but real power in the PLAC was given to others; the PLAC itself was restructured to reduce its power within the Party; and the leadership of the military was reconfigured, with those loyal to Hu given the most sensitive posts.
Senkaku Islands Conflict
According to the source in Beijing, recent disputes over the Senkaku Islands, as Japan calls them or the Diaoyu Islands as they are known in China, were incited by a network of spies under the United Front that is controlled by Jiang’s faction.
In addition, the Senkaku Islands dispute put Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, and Xi Jinping in a dilemma.
Because Japan has begun to nationalize the Senkaku Islands, and the United States is pledged to defend Japan in the event of war, anti-American sentiments could be used to stir up certain senior Communist Party officials to pressure Hu and Wen.
If Hu and Wen constrained the movement in the Party and the military to lay claim to the islands, then nationalist sentiment could be inflamed and used against them.
If Hu and Wen supported the movement to claim the islands, then nationalist sentiment would also be inflamed and could be turned against Hu and Wen
The disputes over the islands were meant to pressure Hu and Wen to eventually use the military to put the country under martial law. This would delay the Party Congress, thought to be scheduled for sometime in October.
With martial law declared, the faction hoped to allow Zhou Yongkang and other faction members to hold onto power for an extended period.
Because of their roles in the persecution of Falun Gong, Jiang Zemin, Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang and other members of Jiang’s faction need desperately to keep power. If the faction loses power, its members run the risk of being held accountable for the crimes they committed in carrying out that persecution. For this reason, the faction will do whatever it can to regain power.
Replacing Du Qinglin
According to The Epoch Times source, the United Front’s move to stir up discontent over the Senkaku Islands dispute, including spreading rumors through its intelligence network outside China, prompted Hu to dismiss the United Front’s former head, Du Qinglin.
Hu and Wen had decided to replace Du Qinglin before Sept. 1, but the news was leaked. On Aug. 29, Mrs. Ding, a trusted aide to Du, was discovered to have fled on Air China flight CA981. Hu Jintao personally ordered the flight bound for the United States to return to Beijing, and had Du put under guard.
Three days later, Hu appointed Ling Jihua to take Du’s place heading the United Front and ordered Ling to conduct a thorough investigation of the department. With the removal of Du, Jiang’s faction has lost its last hold on real power within the CCP.
At the same time that Du was removed, the charges against Bo Xilai’s former police chief, Wang Lijun were announced.
Prosecution of Wang Lijun
According to the source in Beijing, Hu, Wen, and Xi had two reasons for suddenly announcing that Wang Lijun was going to be tried.
First, the announcement was made to show the United States, Japan, and other countries that unity existed among Hu, Wen, Xi, and Li Keqiang, the man ticketed to be the next premier. The four leaders want to show they had reached a consensus and secured control. This would serve Japan notice that it could no longer count on being able to take advantage of any chaos in China’s leadership.
Two, Hu, Wen, and Xi wanted to warn the remnants of the Jiang faction not to mess around, as saving Bo Xilai is now no longer an option.
Wang Lijun is being charged with: bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power, and taking bribes. Trying him on these charges, rather than others, lays the groundwork for prosecuting Bo Xilai.
Hong Kong’s Leung Chun-ying
Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been referred to in the Party mouthpiece People’s Daily as “cadre,” and was outed as an underground Party member in a book written by a former Hong Kong underground Party member.
The CCP’s underground agent system in Hong Kong has been under the control of Zeng Qinghong, who has been cultivating Leung Chun-ying. Zeng, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, is now officially retired. He is a staunch member of Jiang’s faction.
As soon as Leung became Hong Kong chief executive, he followed Zeng’s directions and began promoting the National Education plan. This curriculum is regarded in Hong Kong as an attempt at brainwashing the city’s children. Its adoption has caused mass protests.
The promotion of the National Education plan in Hong Kong fits into the overall plan of the UFWD, the Beijing source told The Epoch Times. The goal is to irritate the Hong Kong people, cause unrest in Hong Kong, and make trouble for Hu and Wen before the Party Congress.
At the same time, Leung conspired with the United Front, allowing activists to use Hong Kong fishing vessels to land on the Senkaku Islands, which put pressure on Hu and Wen, the source said.
Since this incident deals with China’s relations with Japan, Leung, in the absence of Beijing’s permission, would not dare make such a decision by himself, unless he had Zeng’s backing.
In response, Hu Jintao gave orders that Leung could not attend the APEC meeting in the Russian port city of Vladivostok on Sept. 9.
Zeng Qinghong also played a key role in one other event this past week.
According to the Beijing insider, senior officials did not allow Xi Jinping to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Clinton because of interference from Zeng Qinghong. This is also the reason why Xi has not been seen recently.
Read the original Chinese article.
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Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.