Recently, many rumors have surfaced about the coup in China. Among these rumors, Chinese President Xi Jinping was taken prisoner on his return from the SCO summit in Samarkand. In the meantime, many such tweets have also arrived, in which it was shown on video that there was a huge movement of the army in the Chinese capital, soldiers marching with tanks through the streets. China also did not react to these rumors circulating on social networks, because of which there was an illusion that there was indeed a coup in China. This matter became even more complicated because another thing in all of this was that Xi Chin Fing himself was not going to any public meetings and was not visible anywhere.
These rumors have also been fueled by ongoing political developments in China. We have to see what has happened in Chinese politics in recent days and what will happen in the coming days:
- In a month, the session of the Communist Party (National Party Congress) will be held in China. Think of it as if elections were held in democratic countries and whatever leadership is in power, a new leadership comes in its place. But elections do not take place in China. In this National Congress of the Party, a new leader is elected there and he then obtains a mandate of ten years. After this term, he retires with his entire cabinet, called the Politburo, and a new leader arrives. This national party congress begins on October 16.
- Prior to the coup, six senior officials implicated in public order and security issues were convicted. It also included former deputy public security minister Sun Lijun, who was sentenced to death. Former justice ministers Fu Zhenghua and Wang Laik, who handled political and legal issues in Jiangsu, were also given suspended death sentences.
- Chinese media suggest Sun Lijun amassed $92 million through bribery deals over nearly two decades, while Fu and Wang received $16 million and $62 million in bribes. Now the former police chiefs of Shanghai, Chongqing and Shanxi provinces – Gong Daoan, Deng Huilin and Liu Jinyun – will also spend more than a decade in prison for corruption and their links to Sun Lijun.
- But he was convicted not for corruption, but for political activities. Sun Lijun is accused of supervising senior party officials and members of the Politburo. Sun Li’s connection has also been with major Chinese tech company Tencent.
- Sun Lijun and Tencent had attempted to do the same in China by measuring leadership ahead of elections in democratic countries. It’s a very common thing to do in a democracy, but it’s a very sensitive issue in China. Until the last minute, no one knows who will become the leader. Sun Lijun and Tencent said they had nothing to do with it, it was the work of the sub-juniors.
- Shortly after the sentencing of these senior officials associated with the security establishment, there was speculation on social media about a coup in China and Xi’s captive.
Lulu Chen’s book “Influence Empire” reveals that Sun Lijun asked Tencent to help him keep tabs on the ruling CCP members. Incidentally, Tencent founder Ma Huateng (also known as Pony Ma) was also a representative of the National People’s Congress, or China’s national legislature. Although the tech giant denied any involvement in the effort, it is likely that some of the CCP’s tech companies made more profits. In his January 2022 article in the CCP’s QiXi magazine, Xi himself said that China’s economic expansion has posed a threat to economic and financial security by transforming social media companies. Such fears were also echoed by Professor Wu Xinwen of Fudan University in Shanghai, saying China’s business elite have accumulated economic power and are keen to convert it into political influence with the help of some CCP elements. .
There are no facts related to the coup rumors that have gone viral. It’s just a theory that Tencent and China’s internal security must have something to do with it. Xi’s relationship with the security establishment is rocky. This is also proven by the downfall and humiliation of former ministers associated with security. But there is no truth to the coup rumors as Xi is also listed as one of the representatives of the 20th Party Congress. Xi himself also aspires to a third term and has yet to name his successor. But now that Xi Chin Fing says he has full control over domestic security, it’s so clear that such coup rumors can hurt his public image.
(The author is China Fellow at ORF)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are those of the author.