Taking Down a Tiger: The Month’s Events Leading up to Zhou Yongkang’s Fall
The following account summarizes the events in China in the month leading up to the announcement on July 29 that former domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang was being investigated.
June 30: Beijing announces that Xu Caihou, former deputy chair of the CCP Central Military Commission, is expelled from the CCP. He is sent to the Supreme Procuratorate to authorize the military prosecutors to handle the case. On the same day, three of Zhou Yongkang’s right-hand men, Jiang Jiemin, Li Dongsheng and Wang Yongchun are arrested. On July 14, cases are filed to launch investigations on the three. This is regarded as a sign that Zhou’s case is being closed up.
July 2: Ji Wenlin, former vice governor of Hainan Province and Yu Gang, former deputy chief of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee are expelled from the CCP and fired from their posts. Tan Hong, former staff officer of Guard Bureau of Ministry of Public Security, is expelled from the CCP. Ji, Yu and Tan are prosecuted at the same time. These three were formerly Zhou Yongkang’s secretaries, the individuals who handled business for Zhou. By this time all of Zhou’s secretaries have been arrested.
In July, the six members (besides Xi Jinping) of the Politburo Standing Committee become unusually active. Wang Qishan goes to Inner Mongolia; Yu Zhengsheng goes to Inner Mongolia; Liu Yunshan goes to Qinghai and Shanghai; Zhang Gaoli goes to Ningxia, Gansu, and Fujian for “research and study.”
Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Dejiang, a member of Jiang Zemin’s faction and Chairman of National People’s Congress meet with Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and representatives from six chambers of commerce on July 19 in Shenzhen. For the next three days, Zhang meets with representatives from Hong Kong’s Pro-Beijing Camp. The CCP official media does not report on this, which silence typically suggests disapproval.
On July 24 Premier Li Keqiang visits Shandong province. According to a CCP media outlet, this is the 8th province visited by a Standing Committee member of the Politburo in July. Li visits Hunan Province before Shandong.
From July 4 to July 18, 12 lieutenant generals and 46 major generals are promoted in the Nanjing Military Region, Lanzhou Military Region, Guangzhou Military Region, Chengdu Military Region, Shenyang Military Region, and Jinan Military Region.
On July 18, a blogger @Niniuruchuan posts a picture file on the Sina microblog. In the picture is a list the blogger said showed the promotions promised to 18 people after a coup that had been planned by Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai against Xi Jinping. This post in the microblog is quickly deleted but is saved in other blogs overseas. The content of the post contains excerpts from an article from Chinese-language Epoch Times published on April 26, 2014 titled “Latest list from Bo and Zhou’s Coup, High ranking officials involved”
The 18 people include: Bo Xilai, Liu Yunshan, Liang Guanglie, Huang Qifan, Jiang Jiemin, Zhou Benshun, Luo Zhijun, Xia Deren, Zhao Benshan, Sima Nan, Kong Qingdong, Wu Fatian, Zhang Hongliang, Bo Guagua (Bo Xilai’s son), Liu Lefei (Liu Yunshan’s son), Gu Kailai, Xu Caihou, Xu Ming.
Among the 18 people, Bo Xilai, Jiang Jiemin, Gu Kailai, Xu Caihou, and Xu Ming are known to have been prosecuted.
From July 25 to August 1, the navy holds exercises in the Bohai Strait and north of the Yellow Sea. From July 26 to August 1, the Navy holds live fire exercises at the Gulf of Tonkin; from July 29 to August 2, the Navy holds live fire exercises on East China Sea.
CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping visited Latin America from July 15 to 23 and returned to Beijing at noon on July 25. From then on to the evening of July 27, the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee disappear from public events.
In the evening on July 28, the Air Traffic Management Bureau issued a red alarm indicating a large area of flight delays. It also announced that between 2 pm to 6 pm on July 29 the sky above Shanghai will be busy, during which time the capacities of Hongqiao Airport and Pudong Airport in Shanghai will be reduced by 75 percent, the capacities of the air routes in Zhengzhou and Shanghai areas will also by reduced by 75 percent.
During which period, airports in Linyi, Xuzhou, Lianyungang, Huai’an, Yancheng, Changzhou, Yangzhou, Nantong will not receive landing flights. Part of the north-bound flights are not allowed to take off from airports in Nanchang, Ganzhou, Jiujiang, Yichun, Jinggangshan, Jingde Town, Wuyishan, Luqiao, and Wenzhou.
On the afternoon on July 29, the air traffic above Shanghai is very busy. The Ministry of National Defense claims that the military is holding military exercises on the southeast coast. A part of eastern China continues to have flight delays, causing trouble and financial losses for the passengers and airlines. Many passengers take the train, causing tickets to be sold-out for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail and other rail lines.
At 6 pm on July 29, Chinese authorities announce that a case is being filed against Zhou Yongkang and an investigation on him has begun.
Online news outlet people.cn, part of the CCP’s mouthpiece People’s Daily, immediately issued a commentary at 6:43 pm titled “Removing the Big Tiger Zhou Yongkang Is Not the End of the Anti-Corruption Movement.” Though the article is quickly deleted, it’s widely quoted on the Internet. The article indicates that there is a “tiger” bigger than Zhou and there will be more fierce actions taken later.
Cui Chenghao, popular author on Sino Microblog, says “Tonight I eat instant noodles.” [bloggers use “instant noodles” to indicate Zhou Yongkang, since the name “Zhou Yongkang” is censored on Sina microblog.]
Blogger iHito replied “I have cooked the noodles months ago and am eating them now.”