As the ongoing anti-corruption drive launched by China’s ruling communist administration clamps down on thousands of Party officials, even the family of general secretary Xi Jinping has to take heed of the changing political environment.
The recent closure of Xinyou Tongxun, a Chinese information technology company linked to Xi’s elder sisters, has invited speculation about the motives of the regime boss, as well as who may be the newest targets in his efforts to tighten the screws of political power.
As reported on Dec. 31 last year by Singapore newspaper Lianhe Zaobao, the ten-year-old company was under the management of Xi An’an, Xi Jinping’s elder sister, and her husband Wu Long. Relatives of Xi’s other elder sister, Qi Qiaoqiao, who worked at Xinyou Tongxun had quit their positions there as well.
According to an unnamed insider source cited by the report, Xi Jinping, shortly following the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that brought him to power, met with his relatives and explicitly told them to remove themselves from commercial activities. It was also Xi Jinping who ordered the closure of Xinyou Tongxun.
He Qinglian, a China expert residing in the United States, says the report may be an intentional move on the part of the Xi administration to send a message to the rest of the CCP.
Speaking to Voice of America, He Qinglian noted that the author of the Lianhe Zaobao piece, Chen Jieren, is also a commentator on mainland Chinese state-run radio and even has his own program, called “the Jieren Perspective.”
Details in the lives of CCP officials are usually kept under wraps, but the report was also published on Chen Jieren’s account on Weibo, a mainland Chinese social media site, without meeting with any censorship.
According to He Qinglian, the closure of Xinyou Tongxun is meant to send a message to other Chinese officials, in whose hands or in whose relatives’ hands rest much of the country’s wealth. She says that Xi, by apparently removing his own relatives from the business scene, is setting himself apart from the previous generation of CCP officials, who in recent years have been increasingly characterized as corrupt and mired in commercial interests.
Xi Jinping’s new image may be intended as a contrast to that of former general secretary Jiang Zemin, known for extensive nepotism and fostering an atmosphere of corruption across the country, He Qinglian said.