As the Chinese Communist Party prepares large-scale celebrations for the upcoming 70th anniversary of its takeover of China, local governments are entering into lockdown mode to ensure that anything that could threaten the Chinese regime’s stability is squashed.
The Chinese-language Epoch Times recently obtained a classified document released by the Shanxi provincial government’s committee on national security, in which it instructed all security-related government agencies in the province to “prepare for war.”
The document, marked “extremely urgent” and dated on Sept. 2, warned of risks due to ongoing Hong Kong protests and “the United States’ suppression”—likely a reference to the ongoing Sino–U.S. trade dispute—adding that the province’s “political security and social stability” was very important for Beijing.
Shanxi Province is a landlocked province in north-central China, to the west of Beijing. The distance between the provincial capital of Taiyuan and Beijing is over 250 miles.
“Shanxi is an important part of the shield to protect Beijing,” the document stated, referring to a central government project initiated in the early 2000s for the areas near the nation’s capital, including Shanxi, Hebei, and Liaoning provinces, to provide extra security.
It emphasized that heightened security is needed for the 70th anniversary celebrations in Beijing on Oct. 1, as well as the upcoming fourth plenary session of the Party’s Central Committee, a political meeting in Beijing where top officials discuss the Party’s direction and future policies. The Party announced that it would take place sometime in October.
The Central Committee is a group of Party elite that currently consists of 205 members and 171 alternate members. According to Party convention, the fourth plenary session should have taken place last autumn. Some political observers believe that the session was postponed for over a year due to factional disagreements within the Party leadership.
Prepare for War
The document instructed security agencies to ensure the bottomline of “three things to prevent” and “three things that cannot happen.” Those are: preventing large-scale violent terrorist attacks; preventing the trend of violent attacks happening more and more frequently; and preventing the attacks from spreading to other regions. The document did not explain what constitutes a “violent terrorist attack,” but state media often use the term to refer to violent attacks that result in multiple injuries or deaths.
The three things that cannot happen are: large-scale power outages; incidents where people are killed; or incidents where equipments in large factories are damaged.
“All departments in each level of government must be in the status of preparing for war beginning Sept. 1. Each level of government must guarantee the security of the economy, society, internet, and so on,” the document dictated.
It added that senior officials should be assigned to oversee tasks related to these security measures, with officials filling shifts continuously 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The document then explained specific events could cause “conflicts” in society: “Many Western countries, including the United States, are tightening their suppression on our country. The negative impact of the Hong Kong anti-extradition-bill incident could possibly spill over into mainland,” the document stated.
Since June, mass protests in Hong Kong have ignited over a controversial extradition bill that proposed allowing the Chinese regime to transfer individuals for trial in mainland China, where there is no rule of law. The movement against China’s encroachment of Hong Kong’s autonomy has since broadened to include calls for open, direct elections and an independent investigation into police use of force against demonstrators.
The notice ended up calling on all officials to keep alert on “black swan and grey rhino events.”
A “black swan” is a metaphor for an unforeseen occurrence that has significant impact, while a “gray rhino” is a highly probable yet ignored threat.
U.S.-based China affairs commentator Shi Shi believed that the Shanxi announcement emphasized “political security” is because there are currently political risks—disagreement between local officials and the Party leadership in the Central Committee, which will hold its plenary session soon. Many of the elite officials are currently aligned with Party leader Xi Jinping.
“The confidential document shows that there are Party officials who don’t agree with the Central Committee’s opinion, are not ‘on the right team,’ and need to modify their political opinion,” she told the Chinese Epoch Times in a Sept. 12 interview, explaining that the difference in opinion suggested factional infighting.
Besides Shanxi, other regions have already begun placing tight restrictions on citizens’ activities in order to prevent any kind of dissent or disruption during the 70th anniversary celebrations, also known as “National Day.”
Beijing has planned a large-scale military parade and other activities in the capital. The city government has forbidden all shops to sell kitchen knives, hammers, axes, and scissors since August; temporarily closed hundreds of clubs, restaurants, and bars; and strictly controlled people’s movements.