Xi Jinping’s purge enters a Stalinist phase and the paranoia it generates shakes the Chinese regime

Xi Jinping (Reuters) (CARLOS BARRÍA/)

The disturbing events of recent months have shaken the political elite of the Chinese regime, where any misstep by senior officials can mean a living death: joining the purge list of Xi Jinping.

The climate of paranoia spreads in the Chinese Communist Party. The mysterious disappearance of leaders including key ministers and generals, and then quietly announcing his departure from office, are reason enough to walk around watching your back. All this while international attention focuses on the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“Since his reign began in 2012, Xi Jinping’s endless purges have eliminated millions of officials, from high-ranking Communist Party ‘tigers’ to low-ranking bureaucratic ‘flies,’ to use Xi’s evocative terminology. “, summarizes the portal Politicalin an article that compares the process to purging Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union.

Even on social media there were jokes comparing Xi’s cabinet to the Agatha Christie novel “And there were none left”, whose protagonists are killed one by one on an island from which they cannot escape. The author of the irony was none other than the American ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel.

The inexplicable disappearance and dismissal of Li Shangfu and Qin Gang, Chinese foreign and defense ministers – both loyal to Xi, hand-picked and promoted just months before his demise earlier this year – are just two examples.

Other high-profile victims include the generals in charge of China’s nuclear weapons program and some of the most senior officials overseeing China’s financial sector. Several of these former Xi acolytes have reportedly died in custody.

Another ominous sign is the premature death of Li Keqiang, the recently retired prime minister of China – number 2 in the communist hierarchy – who reportedly died of a heart attack in a Shanghai swimming pool in late October, despite enjoying some of the best medical care in the world. After his death, Xi ordered that public mourning for his former rival be severely restricted.

Obituaries of Li Keqiang (Reuters)
Obituaries of Li Keqiang (Reuters) (TINGSHU WANG/)

For Politicala death from a heart attack is similar to a “fall from a window” in Russia.

However, the difference is that the purged They are not low-ranking officials. (as happened at the beginning of Xi’s term), but rather members of the inner circle of Xi’s own clique (who had precisely benefited from the previous purge), leading to serious doubts about the stability of the regime.

Given the opacity of the Chinese system, it is impossible to definitively confirm the countless rumors that emerge as possible causes of falls from grace (ranging from romances to all kinds of scandals). The government does not comment on the internal workings of the Communist Party.

“This reinforces the feeling of unpredictability of Chinese foreign policy, at a time when the Chinese political system is less transparent and more difficult for foreigners to understand,” notes Sheena Chestnut Greitens.

The paranoia is such that, as reviewed Political, some officials are avoiding attending summits abroad. Any off-schedule meeting may be frowned upon by Beijing.

“This seems to be the inevitable fate of anyone who associates too eagerly with foreigners and should serve as a warning to those who still believe that China is open to business with the West,” he noted. Political.

(With information from AFP)