The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) top disciplinary watchdog announced on July 22 the results of its disciplinary and criminal investigations for the first half of this year, with the number of officials probed for corruption reaching the highest level over the past decade.
Purged OfficialsMost of the officials under criminal investigation are low-ranking members of the CCP, including 1,588 officials at the provincial level, 13,000 at the city and county levels, and 31,000 at the village level.
Only 36 cases involve high-ranking officials appointed by Beijing’s top-level cadre personnel management, the Organization Department of the CCP’s Central Committee.
These 36 officials, known as “cadres managed by the Organization Department of the Central Commission,” include former heads of provincial-level governments, provincial- and city-level rubber-stamp legislatures, provincial- and city-level committees of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)—including the CCP’s United Front Work Department, former top officials of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs), banks, sports bureaus, and the state assets administration.
The CCP’s cadre management system is a copy of the former Soviet Union’s nomenklatura or “list of names,” a system whereby influential posts in the government, SOEs, and other affiliated government or business bodies are filled by CCP appointees. The Organization Department ensures that its establishments decide all promotions and appointments of officials throughout every level and industry. It also compiles detailed and confidential reports on future potential leaders of the CCP.
Power Struggle ContinuesSince taking office, Mr. Xi has been purging his political opponents. To date, nearly 5 million officials have been publicly investigated for graft. The highest-ranking official investigated and jailed for life is Zhou Yongkang, former security chief and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the CCP's top decision-making body.
Mr. Zhou is also the highest-ranking former politician to face court since the 1981 treason trial of Mao Zedong’s wife and other members of the “Gang of Four” who persecuted political opponents during the 1966–1976 Cultural Revolution.
While Chinese state-run media portrayed Mr. Zhou’s sentencing as a victory in the fight against corruption, his fall was a major step in Mr. Xi’s campaign to dismantle the political faction established by former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin. Though only officially in office from 1989 to 2002, the late Mr. Jiang and his clique (including Mr. Zhou) held de facto political and economic power over the Party and nation for over a decade after Mr. Jiang retired from his posts. Mr. Jiang passed away in November 2022.
“The authoritarian regime maintains its power by struggles,” Li Mianying—a Chinese philosopher and entrepreneur who recently moved to the United States—told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times in a recent interview.
“Just like former CCP leader Mao Zedong, Xi Jinping also needs internal struggles to maintain his authority,” said Mr. Li.
He said that Mr. Xi still feels threatened even though he is at the height of his power.
“The CCP’s internal fighting won’t stop until it collapses.”