Chinese Academic Disciplined After Criticizing Xi and Communist Party

August 18, 2020 Updated: August 18, 2020

Beijing authorities announced on Aug. 17 that Cai Xia, who taught politics at the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) before her retirement, was disciplined for making remarks with “serious political problems and that damage the country’s reputation.”

She was expelled from the Party and had her retirement benefits revoked.

The announcement about her expulsion on the school’s website did not give further details about what remarks got her in trouble.

But in June, an audio recording of Cai’s speech at a private gathering of Party elite was leaked online—in which she called current Party leader Xi Jinping a “mafia boss.”

“With the control of ‘the knife target and the barrel of a gun’ [phrase referring to police and military], and then the system itself, 90 million CCP members are reduced to tools used by Xi as slaves,” she had said.

In the 20-minute-long audio recording, Cai also criticized the Party itself, calling it a “political zombie.” She said that the Party’s communist system has reached the end of the road. “This system must fundamentally be abandoned,” she said.

Later on Monday, Cai responded to the expulsion in another leaked audio, saying that she was happy to be expelled by the Party and can be truly with the people now. She said, “I think we must adhere to principles as human beings, and I will not live like a dog for those retirement benefits.”

Cai currently lives in the United States. She is the granddaughter of a former high-ranking CCP official—what is commonly known in China as a Party princeling.

Chinese authorities have cracked down on dissent in recent months.

Last month, a law professor at Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University who criticized Xi and the Party was detained by police and then fired. The professor, Xu Zhangrun, is seeking to clear his name by overturning a prostitution charge brought against him by police, his lawyer has said.

Also last month, Ren Zhiqiang, who had been the influential chairman of a state property company, was ousted from the Communist Party after he called Xi a “clown.”

Reuters contributed to this report.