Over the night of March 19 and early morning of March 20, Bejing local time, a message about a large number of military police showing up in Beijing spread widely across microblogs in mainland China.
The key figures in the action are said to be: Hu Jintao, the head of the CCP; Wen Jiabao, the premier; Zhou Yongkang, who has control of the People’s Republic of China’s police forces; and Bo Xilai, who was dismissed from his post as head of the Chongqing City Communist Party on March 15 by Wen Jiabao, after a scandal involving Bo’s former police chief.
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Li Delin, who is on the editorial board of Securities Market Weekly and lives in Dongcheng District of Beijing, wrote on his microblog a report that confirmed unusual troop movements: “There are numerous army vehicles, Changan Street is continuously being controlled. There are many plainclothes police in every intersection, and some intersections even had steel fences set up.”
According to the message that went viral on China’s Internet, a military force with unknown designation quickly occupied many important places in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound in Beijing, and Beijing in the early morning of March 20, with the cooperation of Beijing armed police.
The troops entered Beijing to “get and protect Bo Xilai,” according to the message.
A mainland Chinese reader has told The Epoch Times that a military coup has taken place in Beijing.
It is still unknown who, if anyone, has been arrested.
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The message claims Zhou Yongkang first used armed police force in an attempt to arrest Hu and Wen. However, Hu and Wen had been prepared and Zhou’s coup was subdued, though rumors of Hu and Wen being arrested had been spread earlier.
The message says that now both sides, Hu and Wen on one side, and Jiang Zemin and Zhou Yongkang on the other, are mobilizing armed forces. However, only Hu Jintao can mobilize the regular army, which he still controls, according to the message.
The message also claims that forces directed by Zhou Yongkang had taken control over CCTV and the Xinhua News Agency, but that the regular army under the command of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao had since taken back control of the news outlets.
The news column on Xinhua’s website was all foreign news from 11 p.m. on March 19 to at least 8 a.m. on March 20, with not a single piece of domestic news—which is quite unusual.
One netizen posted on microblog: “Strange! Except Beijing Television, no other television in Beijing is broadcasting. This is very strange!!! It had never happened before.”
However, Beijing state-controlled media have observed that imposing a curfew on Changan Street is quite normal, as the North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is seeing Wu Dawei, the People’s Republic of China’s special representative for Korean affairs, and had made a rare advance appointment with media to give a speech outside the east entrance of Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
Beijing media has also noted that the China Development Forum is closing, with guests from across the country leaving after the forum. For these reasons, Beijing media said there are many police on Changan Street, and taxis are not allowed to stop next to the airport terminal building.
The Epoch Times is at present trying to verify the messages.
UPDATE: Weibo messages on the subject “北京出事了” in the original Chinese are now unable to be searched. This was a major meme around the coup rumor, translating roughly as, “something important yet problematic happened in Beijing.”
Weibo appeared down briefly between approximately 12:00 and 12:20 p.m. Beijing local time. Check to see if Weibo is up now.
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Correction: The original Weibo screenshot from user Wangdaxia published with this article was found by Epoch Times reporters to be a fake and not actually from the events on the night of March 19. It originated from this page on Eastday.com.