Amid Chinese Communist Party In-Fighting, ‘Anti-Corruption’ Drive Expands

January 22, 2015 Updated: January 28, 2015

The Chinese communist regime’s top disciplinary authority shows no signs of letting up in its ostensible crusade against corruption in the new year as the fifth plenary session of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) came to a close on Jan. 14, as the regime mouthpiece Xinhua reported.

Results gleaned from the meeting, attended by 125 people, were summarized in seven priorities for 2015, including greater surveillance of senior officials and corrupt Chinese fugitives hiding abroad.

China’s sprawling and corruption-plagued state-run enterprises are being put under greater scrutiny. The CCDI’s disciplinary campaign plans to expand overseas as the Chinese regime seeks international cooperation in apprehending escaped officials on its hit list.

Since Xi Jinping rose to power as general secretary in 2013, tens of thousands of Chinese officials have been subjected to investigation and disciplinary measures at the hands of the CCDI. The wide-scale political action targets those with ties to the political faction controlled by former party boss Jiang Zemin and his immediate cronies.

The staggering number of officials investigated by the CCDI … speaks to the entrenched position of the Jiang faction.
The staggering number of officials investigated by the CCDI—a total of 71,748, including 68 high-profile cases, speaks to the entrenched position of the Jiang faction. Though he stepped down from his official capacities in 2002 and 2003, Jiang Zemin continued to influence Chinese politics from behind the scenes.

MORE: Corruption Watchdog in China Reports Accomplishments

According to sources inside the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang’s fanatical desire to hold on to political power as an at-times bedridden octogenarian is not a mere question of ambition—rather, it is one of survival. In 1999, Jiang Zemin mobilized untold state resources to carry out the unconstitutional, nationwide persecution of Falun Gong, a popular Chinese traditional spiritual movement that Jiang perceived as a threat to the Communist Party’s atheist worldview.

The Chinese Communist Party has failed at its goal of eliminating Falun Gong, despite the regime brutally persecuting the spiritual practice for over 15 years. Abuses range from social discrimination to torture, from forced injection of harmful drugs administered at brainwashing centers to the highly profitable harvesting and sale of organs from living Falun Gong adherents on an industrial scale. According to research by Ethan Gutmann, an American investigative journalist, over 60,000 people are estimated to have met this gruesome end at the hands of Chinese military and civilian doctors during the period 2000-2008.

With the rise of international and domestic scrutiny over the persecution, and with the fading of Jiang’s immediate political power, maintaining a shadowy influence over internal Communist Party politics was essential to avoid incrimination and retribution for the shocking crimes perpetrated by him and his henchmen.

Jiang Zemin’s meddling came to a head in February 2012 when the Bo Xilai scandal broke out. Bo was a Politburo member and charismatic head of the southwest megacity Chongqing. He colluded with Zhou Yongkang, who at that time directed the regime’s vast internal security forces. According to sources in the CCP, they attempted to orchestrate a coup against the then upcoming Xi Jinping, who was set to take the reins of communist rule following the 18th Party Congress held in late 2012.

The coup was foiled, and Bo was put under investigation until his trial the following year. In the current administration’s ongoing disciplinary campaign—which China experts see as Xi Jinping’s direct answer to the Jiang threat—the investigation of Zhou Yongkang is one of the most prominent and well-known cases.

Prior to their investigations and expulsions from the Communist Party by the Xi Jinping administration, both Bo and Zhou were Jiang Zemin’s loyal accomplices in the genocidal policies against the Falun Gong. As a result, they shared the same tainted legacy of Jiang and could be depended upon to protect his faction. By targeting Xi for a coup, Bo Xilai, who belongs to the same leadership generation as Xi, stood a chance of grabbing power for himself.

It was not until this January when Chinese media opted to address, even in abstract, the motives for Xi’s drastic moves against other communist party heavyweights. According to an article by Phoenix Weekly, a Chinese-language political magazine published in Hong Kong, “Former senior Party officials Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang planned to ‘do something big.'”

The article was posted and circulated on major Chinese Web portals like Hexun and Sina without censorship. Very quickly the news of the Zhou-Bo conspiracy was all over China.

MORE: Mainland Chinese Media: Purged Party Heavyweights Plotted Together