Resisting Discipline: Is Someone Trying to Kill China’s Anti-Corruption Chief?

Armed 'petitioners' targeted Wang Qishan, Hong Kong media says
April 20, 2015 Updated: April 20, 2015    

For those running the machinery of the Chinese Communist Party’s offensive on corruption, not everything is always smooth sailing. Behind the impressive tally of Communist officials and businessmen investigated for “violations of Party discipline” lies a quiet but real struggle between different factions within the Chinese regime.

According to The Trend, a Hong Kong magazine known for its coverage of political rumors from the mainland, there have been over 40 attempts on the lives of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) officials since 2013, including a dozen targeting Wang Qishan, the secretary of the CCDI, personally.

The magazine said that some of the attempts have been carried out by well-armed, professional hitmen. It is impossible to know whether the incidents took place, or took place in the way The Trend alleges. It is, however, easy to understand why officials around China would like to get rid of Wang Qishan, given that billions of dollars in income streams from corrupt activities are on the line.

The ‘March 28 Case’  

The Trend said that one recent attempt against Wang Qishan occurred late this March when the anti-corruption boss headed to Henan Province in central China to take part in inspections.

For reasons of security, the details of Wang’s itinerary were kept highly secret and altered many times. The Henan provincial Party secretaries and CCDI staff were given only vague notice before the visit, which was originally scheduled for March 27 but then changed to the March 28 at the last minute.

Even when Wang arrived via military airbase in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, he abruptly changed the location of a scheduled conference and wholly restructured previous arrangements for his tour of cities throughout Henan.

These preparations did not deter the assailants, The Trend said. At 4 a.m. and 5:10 a.m. on March 28, they cut the electrical power from Wang’s guesthouse. Meanwhile, three parked cars belonging to the provincial security department exploded. Wang left the residence and opted to stay at the Zhengzhou military garrison that evening.  

The Central Security Department opened the “March 28 Case” to investigate the incident, The Trend said.

The Trend indicates that it has high-level sources that provide such information, though none of these allegations appeared in the official media, and it is unclear whether they in fact took place. 

Roadside Ambush

This April, The Trend reported that Wang Qishan had foiled a plot that was planned for while he traveled through Shanxi Province during an investigation tour. Two ex-policemen had reportedly been hired to ambush Wang’s vehicle in transit, and were found to be equipped with small arms for this purpose.

However, Wang was tipped off by central and provincial security branches, and changed his itinerary to avoid the attack. Facing capture, the gunmen committed suicide by swallowing poison capsules hidden in their collars, The Trend said.

‘Petitioners’ Come Calling

This March, prior to two major Chinese government and Communist Party conferences, Wang Qishan was present in the municipality of Tianjin to investigate a 3 trillion yuan (about $483 billion) investment debt. According to The Trend, Wang had requested that all loan receipts and official meeting notes since 2007 be archived.

During Wang’s visit, three people claiming to be petitioners filing complaints with the CCDI chief were stopped by the security bureau of the Tianjin Party committee. Body searches revealed that the “petitioners” were carrying loaded firearms.