On Jan. 4, Xi Jinping, head of China’s Military Commission, signed the commission’s first order of 2022, announcing the start of annual training for the entire army and stressing the importance of military training in a bid to ensure the smooth running of the Twentieth Congress.
In the brief military order, Xi asked the army to keep an eye on “the changes in national security and military struggle,” and “the changes in technology, warfare, and opponents.” Xi didn’t indicate who those opponents are.
Xi’s current concern seems to be over the ruling party’s infighting, with his guns inward-facing to protect the party’s Twentieth Congress, preparing for a civil war or defending against political enemies, according to Chen Pokong, a U.S.-based current affairs commentator.
In previous years, Xi had been focused on military threats from foreign countries and warfare preparation, with numerous paragraphs describing how to prepare for war. This year, however, has no such text, merely an emphasis on the importance of military training for the Twentieth Congress.
“For Xi’s consideration, the goal is to pursue reelection in the 20th Congress,” Chen said.
The Twentieth Congress will be held in the fall of 2022, a crucial time that will reveal who China’s leader will be in the next four years.
Notably, Xi’s three short paragraphs highlighted carrying out decisions of the Party’s Central Committee and Military Commission, relatively low-key compared to language in previous years which contained six or more longer paragraphs, Chen added.
The day after Xi issued the military order, Jan. 5, Wang Xiaohong, secretary of the Party committee of the Ministry of Public Security, who is considered Xi’s close confidant, published an article in the mouthpiece People’s Daily, saying public security departments should be guided by Xi’s thought to maintain a social environment of “stable country and peaceful people” to ensure the party’s congress be held successfully, and “crush all kinds of attempts to endanger political security.”
According to the article, political security, including the security of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) regime and system, is the first thing to safeguard.
“Of course, what Wang can’t speak out is, the security is actually about Xi’s personal security … so his article is to defend Xi’s security in the name of the people and the country,” Chen said.
“Wang’s speech is aimed at the party’s political opponents, revealing murderous intentions towards the anti-Xi camp.”
Qiushi, another state media, set a similar trend earlier on Jan. 1, re-mentioning Xi’s speech at a CCP’s central committee meeting in 2021 and citing “political gang and small clique” within the ruling party that must be investigated strictly.
With Xi’s past internal speech being officially put up on the first day of the year, the signal could not be clearer: around the Twentieth Congress, internal “struggle” is even more important than the external one, said Zhong Yuan, a Chinese Epoch Times current affairs commentator.
“Aside from his own re-election, Xi is arranging his people to occupy more decisive positions, which definitely spur infightings with the opposite or other gangs of the party.”
According to Zhong, in the nine years since Xi Jinping took office, the struggle with former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin and former Politburo Standing Committee member Zeng Qinghong has continued, with many anti-Xi officials pulling down from power. But the Xi camp still feels threatened at all times, and many officials appear to be loyal to Xi but are actually not.
“The stage seems to be set for a big play in 2022,” said Zhong.