China. Who can still arrest President Xi Jinping?

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There is no suspense. The Chinese deputies, meeting in congress since Monday, will vote next Sunday the reform that will allow President Xi Jinping to exercise an unlimited number of mandates. The strong man of Beijing has his hands free.

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 25, 2017 shows Chinese President Xi Jinping waving at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China’s Communist Party is calling for the removal of presidential term limits, China’s official news agency reported on February 25, 2018, paving the way for Xi Jinping to remain as head of state after 2023. / AFP / WANG ZHAO

The 2,980 deputies of the National Assembly of China , have applauded the draft constitutional amendment that will remove the limit of two successive presidential terms. This device was introduced in 1982, drawing lessons from the drift of the founding regime of Mao Tse-tung (1949-1976).

Chinese parliamentarians will validate this reform on Sunday. They will give 64-year-old Xi Jinping the power for life if he wishes. “He did not need it, he had already short-circuited all the factions that could weaken him. Xi Jinping is able to fully dominate the next two terms, “said Canadian Alex Payette, a researcher for the University of Toronto’s Center for Global Social Policy.

Who will be able to arrest the Chinese president, already renamed “Emperor Xi” by pro-democracy Hong Kong? According to state of play of a rotting opposition.

The Chinese Communist Party? No !
There is no one left to oppose Xi Jinping in the single party. The president and his damned soul, the dreaded Wang Qishan at the head of the Disciplinary Commission, organized a ruthless and unprecedented purge in the reforming enemy clan. “The second generation of the Jiang Zemin clan (1993-2003) , which should have dominated the CCP, was completely rolled. Former President Zemin himself is old and totally isolated. Only second-class patriarchs remain, ” says researcher Alex Payette.

If there is still some opposition within the regime, nobody hears it and especially nobody dreads it. This is the case of Hu Jintao (2002-2012), the predecessor of Xi Jinping. “He still has interests to defend, especially in certain financial sectors. But he does not have the stature to oppose and will not run the risk of being “shot” by the allies of the Conservatives.

Alex Payette sweeps across China’s political spectrum, from party arcades in Beijing to local governments in the provinces, “Xi has everything in his hands.” Since 2012, he has ousted more than 1,000 officials, “tigers (big) and flies (small)  ” under the pretext of chasing corruption, otherwise very real.

On Tuesday, Minister Yang Xiaodu announced the creation of a “super-agency” that intends to triple the intensity of this struggle. He also planned to create new prisons. “That of Beijing, reserved for elites judged for corruption, is overcrowded,” notes the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post.

The Chinese people? No
There is no chance, in the short or medium term, that a majority of Chinese (1.3 billion) will rebel against Xi Jinping’s policy. On the one hand, “the people are quite proud of this new image of China on the world stage, which conquers market share, displays a triumphant nationalism”, analyzed Philippe Le Corre, China specialist and researcher at Harvard Kennedy School, at the CCP congress in October.

On the other hand, life has improved for a large part of the population. And the government maneuvers skillful to clear the grunts before they degenerate. The problem of air pollution has been taken head-to-head. Rising rents and pensions in an aging country are next on the table.

“China will do solid work for the well-being of all Chinese by addressing the issues that matter to them and by firmly guaranteeing their livelihoods,” Prime Minister Li Keqiang said on Monday. opening of the annual parliamentary session.

Lastly, intellectual dissent, which has not yet digested the end of the reform era, has been put on hold. Rebel ethnic groups, such as the Muslim Uygurs of the Northwest, have suffered the same fate. The safe, violent turn of the screw is Xi Jinping’s other weapon. Censorship has become ubiquitous.

The Chinese economy? Perhaps
Canadian researcher Alex Payette sees only one black cloud in Xi Jinping’s “blue sky” : “He engaged in a systematic hunt for the reform forces led by Deng Xiaoping (1978-1992) . This could have negative consequences for China’s economy, as this ideological battle has led to the ousting of highly skilled people. ”

Alex Payette cites the removal of Yin Yong, the right-hand man of Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, at a key moment in the transition of the banking sector in China  : “Zhou Xiaochuan, a proven reformer, will have to give way in March. Chances are he will be replaced by Liu He, a close friend of Xi. ”

By breaking the continuity of economic reforms , Xi’s conservatives are taking the risk of curbing the momentum created by Den Xiaoping. Already, the growth rate has stagnated in recent years. Prime Minister Li Keqiang has unveiled an economic growth target of “about 6.5 percent for 2018,” a rate that is consistent with last year’s. Some Chinese wealthy people, more liberal, have begun to protect their interests abroad.

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