Chinese Top Officials Split Over US–China Trade, Insider Reveals

By Olivia Li
Olivia Li
Olivia Li
July 1, 2019 Updated: July 3, 2019

China’s top leadership is very divided, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, being surrounded by people holding opposite opinions and various motives, is in a very complicated and difficult situation, according to an insider. 

After the last round of trade talks with the United States concluded with no agreement in May, Chinese state media have been telling the Chinese people that China won’t accept the terms proposed by the U.S. delegation because they undermine China’s national sovereignty and dignity. In addition, the Central Propaganda Department issued orders for major TV stations to air 70 movies on the theme of patriotism.

On June 26, the day before Xi left for the G20 Summit, the regime’s mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency once again denounced the pro-American faction and warned that all must stay alert to those “who throw grenades backwards” during a time when “two armies are directly confronting each other.” 

Infighting and Chaos

An insider from Beijing who is the daughter of a top Chinese Communist Party elder, revealed to the Chinese-language Epoch Times on the condition of anonymity that the phrase “throwing grenades backwards” means infighting within China’s top leadership.  

She explained that with regard to the U.S.-China trade war, there are two different opinions among the top leadership. One is that China needs to maintain a good relationship with the United States. If China chooses to fight with the United States, both countries will suffer and it’s not good for the Party’s interests either. 

The other side, those who hold onto Mao Zedong’s hardline ideology, believes that China must not surrender to the United States and must fight to the end. 

According to this insider, Chinese media’s denunciation of the “capitulators” continued until the day before Xi’s visit to Japan; apparently they are referring to Xi as a capitulator. She said Beijing’s top leadership is very divided and in chaos.

“Some people set traps to make it very difficult for Xi, some want him to fight with the United States, some have their own secret agenda, some are Xi’s supporters. It is a very complicated situation,” she said. 

Xi Has Final Say

According to this female “princeling”, although the hardliners have taken control of the media and public opinion, Xi is the Chairman of the CCP, and in China, the Chairman always has the final say on important issues.  

In her opinion, Xi wants to reach an agreement with the United States, as he openly referred to President Trump as “a friend of mine” during a speech in Russia. 

In addition, Xi won’t hold onto a tough stance, because that would irritate Washington, and when the two countries are in a constant fight, it will involve other issues, such as Taiwan, the insider said.

“Xi must consider many factors, including social stability and the stability of his own political power and political career. He has to consider all these when he talks with President Trump,” she said. “It’s important that he makes his own judgement when he is surrounded by people with different opinions and different motives. He also needs to be able to tell who is supporting him and who is setting a trap for him.” 

As for those who are setting traps for Xi, the insider pointed out that Xi’s anti-corruption campaign did not go all the way to the top to bring to justice Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong, who are the “number one and number two tigers.” High-ranking corrupt officials are referred to as “tigers” in China.  

“If you don’t take them down, they will certainly set a trap for you and make trouble for you; your political power is not secure for sure,” she said. “Some of the officials have served under several different Chinese leaders. Can this type of person be loyal to Xi? It is really hard to tell.”

Although she did not name the person, it is very likely that she was referring to Wang Huning, China’s propaganda head. The hawkish propaganda initiated by Wang has placed Xi in a very difficult situation in the trade relations with the United States. In addition, Wang has worked for former Chinese leaders Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. During Jiang’s tenure, Wang was promoted to work in the central government on strong recommendations from Zeng Qinghong and Luo Gan. 

Epoch Times reporters Luo Ya and Zhang Dun contributed to this report.

Olivia Li