“Under pressure, Xi Jinping may need to offer some concessions…for example Xi’s No 1 thought leader Wang Huning could be dismissed or stripped of some of his powers.”
--Che-chuan Lee (李哲全), chief of the Division of National Security and Decision-Making (國家安全與決策研究所)
Proxy power watch
Under the Communist Party’s usual protocol, scholars and experts attending the annual Beidaihe summer gathering should have been greeted by the secretary of the party’s Secretariat: Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning (王滬寧). However, Wang didn’t attend, nor has he had much press in the Chinese state media lately. Moreover, one of Wang’s staff was replaced without his explicit directive, potentially indicating that Xi Jinping’s favored politician is being marginalized by the party’s upper echelon, according to analyses by Che-chuan Lee (李哲全), chief of the Division of National Security and Decision-Making (國家安全與決策研究所), and Johnson Kung (龔祥生), assistant research fellow in the Division of Chinese Politics and Military Affairs (中共政軍研究所), in the 17 August 2018 edition of the Defense Security Weekly (國防安全周報), our Chinese-language publication providing longer-form analysis by INDSR experts about news, security issues and trends that develop week to week.
Wang’s Beidaihe absence, which was out of step with usual party protocol, should be seen as one of the signs of increasing dissatisfaction emerging over Xi Jinping’s iron-fist rule and reinforce a belief that a counter-attack against his Mao Zedong cult-like rule is also on the rise. However, the pushback against Xi can be seen as only noise among some in the Communist Party elite using various channels to express their discontent with Xi. Following the summer conclave, the anti-Xi voices have been tamped down, but they have not been entirely silenced, Lee and Kung say.