China’s Domestic Security Chief Fights Back

April 3, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Generally, when internal affairs are unstable, a head of state wouldn’t leave the country. There are a number of reasons why Chinese leader Hu Jintao dares to attend the Nuclear Security Summit and visit three Asian countries while Party faction infighting at home is still smoldering. 

One reason is that Hu is sure of his control over the country and confident in his ability to control the situation; the second is that he has been setting a trap for his enemies to come out; the third is to calm the minds of the international community; and the fourth is to obtain word from Obama about the leaked information by Wang Lijun.

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U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly asked Hu Jintao at the summit meeting, “How are things going at home?” Maybe he was trying to see how confident Hu is. It appears that the 10-year-long question of “Who is Hu?” will only be revealed through results on the battlefield of the Communist Party’s infighting.

Control of the PLAC

Hu seemed to achieve most of the goals he set for this trip. Especially the trap seems to be working out well, as the Jiang Zemin faction and Zhou Yongkang launched a timely counterattack as soon as Hu had left the country.

Right after Hu left China on March 26, Zhou tried to weaken Hu’s influence during the first of a series of training sessions for the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC) heads at each level of Party organization. 

The training was ordered by Hu, and was to be devoted to the study of Hu Jintao’s thought during his absence. Apparently Zhou knew nothing of it in advance, but was ordered to give the opening speech to the heads of his own organization.

Zhou, however, never mentioned Hu in his speech, and also tried to separate Hu from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee. Zhou stressed that the Party Central Committee is leading the police, judiciary, and armed police, but didn’t mention Hu. 

The CCP established the PLAC, a party organ, to control the police, judiciary, and armed police systems. The Party Central Committee that Zhou referred to is the PLAC under his leadership, not the Party Central Committee led by Hu Jintao. 

This quite clearly reveals Jiang Zemin’s goal of controlling the police, judiciary, and armed police systems through the PLAC and to establish a second CCP Central. Zhou was directly telling the local level PLAC heads to listen to him and not to Hu.

During the State Council meeting the same day, Wen Jiabao pointedly said that the Party’s problem is corruption, hinting to Zhou Yongkang that he has evidence of Zhou’s corruption. This showed that Wen is in command during Hu’s absence.

Control of Chongqing

After Hu left Beijing, Chongqing officially replaced the new police chief Guan Haixiang, who was installed just 44 days previously and is reportedly a member of Hu Jintao’s Communist Youth League faction. He Ting, Jiang Zemin’s son-in-law, took over as Chongqing deputy-major, party secretary, and chief of police. 

This was obviously approved by Zhou Yongkang and Chongqing’s new CCP secretary Zhang Dejiang, and is an open challenge of Hu and Wen’s orders to reform Chongqing. Even as more than 50 former Bo Xilai subordinates have been detained and interrogated, the Jiang faction is still trying hard to wrestle for control over Chongqing.

Internet Control

Following Bo Xilai’s arrest, the regime’s Internet censorship seemed to have relaxed somewhat. For a few days, many “sensitive” key search terms were unblocked on Baidu. As soon as Hu had left the country, Zhou seized the opportunity to retighten control and regulate the Internet.

Li Changchun, the Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of Party propaganda, who had previously displayed an ambiguous attitude, now also responded in a show of support for Zhou. On March 26, state media Global Times initiated a stern counterattack against Internet rumors with an article titled, “Keep the social defense line against rumors.” 

On March 30 and 31, respectively, both Xinhua and the People’s Daily picked up the call and issued articles denying information of a Zhou coup or that Zhou was under internal control by Hu and Wen. They warned that anyone disseminating such messages would be punished by the law.

Then suddenly Internet censorship was further tightened. Beijing police detained six people for “fabricating rumors online.” Seventy Internet companies were punished. Commentary websites on Sina and were closed for three days, and 16 other websites were shut down.

The crackdown was obviously instigated by Zhou Yongkang, who was fighting back against Hu and Wen. Carrying out arrests and Internet blocking in such a short period of time reveals Zhou’s fear of having his crimes exposed. 

Zhou’s counterattack also indicates that Zhou and the Jiang faction don’t intend to be a sitting duck. 

There is now no way to turn back for both Hu and Wen.

Hu and Wen’s Next Move

Battles between Jiang and Hu have come to the final showdown stage, and China is also on the eve of drastic changes. Hu and Wen’s next move is critical. For Hu and Wen to really make a difference, what can they do now? How can they win the game? 

There are actually several things that Hu and Wen can do right away.

The first step is to release human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, and then to release all those who have innocently or arbitrarily been detained, including Falun Gong practitioners. 

With the PLAC’s weakened power, this is a realistic approach for Hu and Wen to win the people’s hearts, defeat Zhou and the Jiang faction, and detach themselves from the crimes committed by the Jiang faction. 

Gao Zhisheng published three open letters to the CCP in the past, with two directly addressed to Hu and Wen, in which he demanded an end of the Falun Gong persecution. 

Gao’s release will be a major blow to Zhou and the Jiang faction, as it will cause a subsequent exposure of the heinous crimes by the Jiang faction and the PLAC during the persecution of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and also people from all walks of life. It will arouse universal indignation. By doing so, Hu and Wen will be able to cut themselves free from the Jiang faction, reduce their own guilt and responsibility, and obtain the goodwill of Falun Gong practitioners. It will also win them support across the country.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.