Who Gets to Control Chongqing and its Wayward Party Boss?

February 22, 2012 Updated: February 22, 2012

Chinese media reports reveal intense infighting in the Chinese regime’s Politburo Standing Committee. Most of the members have been dragged into the political drama triggered by Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun’s taking a medical “leave of absence” and ending up at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu requesting protection from party boss Bo Xilai.

Insiders from each faction are using different media to reveal sensitive information to the public. The unusual phenomenon has broken the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) tradition of hiding its dirty laundry from public eyes.

Chinese media reported on Feb. 18 that Chongqing municipal authorities had decided to appoint Tai Zhan to become deputy secretary of Chongqing’s Municipal Party Committee, replacing the incumbent, Ding Xianjun.

Tai was transferred in 2011 from Beijing’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce to Chongqing’s Administration of Industry & Commerce. He is the son of (former regime leader) Jiang Zemin’s cousin, Jiang Zeling, while Ding Xianjun’s political career was once promoted by He Guoqiang, Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

On Feb. 18, Chongqing’s largest Party newspaper, Chongqing Daily, said in a front-page article that Guan Haixiang has been appointed to take the post of Party Secretary to oversee security work in Chongqing and will continue the “hitting the black” campaign in the spring.

Guan was a political worker in the Communist Youth League from 1994 to 2009. The Communist Youth League has formed Hu Jintao’s power base.

Bill Gertz, a national security writer specializing in China issues, wrote on Washington’s Free Beacon, quoting Chinese officials saying that Zhou Yongkang, China’s most senior security official and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, has taken charge of Chongqing from Bo Xilai. However, Zhou has not allowed Beijing security authorities to further investigate or arrest Bo.

The state-run People’s Daily published a commentary on Feb. 16 criticizing some local officials for focusing on vanity projects that waste money and manpower for the purpose of climbing the political ladder.

The commentary can be regarded as the position of the Party’s top leaders who are probably preparing propaganda to target Bo Xilai, Zhang Weiguo, editor-in-chief of Hong Kong’s Trends magazine told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

The commentary echoes a speech Xi Jinping made last year about cadres’ position changing hands, indicating Xi has already taken the lead in the Party organizations, Ming Xia, a professor of Political Science at City University of New York, told RFA.

Another commentary on People’s Daily on Feb. 17 stressed that during changing hands of leadership, some officials tend to leave problems to their successor, instead of finding solutions during their terms.

The article implies that Hu Jintao should deal with the problem caused by Bo and Wang promptly and not leave it to the new leadership after the 18th Party Congress, according to the Chinese-language dissident website Boxun. This articles also shows Xi’s supporters urging Hu and Wen via People’s Daily to handle the matter as soon as possible, according to Boxun.

The Mingjing Monthly magazine, which Chinese-language media regard as being tied to Jiang Zemin, recently quoted an insider’s words and listed five pieces of evidence incriminating Bo Xilai. The article said, “Bo has reached a frenzied state trying to enter the standing committee of the Politburo. He is now known as the biggest hypocrite in the Party by the top Party leaders.”

On Feb. 14 the Mingjing website was the first to publish an article saying that all nine Politburo Standing Committee members agreeing to conduct a criminal investigation task force targeting Bo Xilai.