[The Epoch Times, November 05, 2023]With the death of Li Keqiang, the threat to Xi Jinping has completely disappeared; the main target of the “struggle” no longer exists, and the “struggle” within the Xi family army is expected to surface soon. Especially those in the inner circle around Xi Jinping will undoubtedly begin to compete for the position after Xi Jinping.
Xi Jiajun loses potential rivals
Although the CCP is on the verge of collapse and Li Keqiang’s sudden death should make many CCP officials feel that something is wrong, I’m afraid some people are still willing to dream. It is impossible for Xi Jinping to live forever. Almost everyone in the CCP official circles knows that Xi Jinping is trying to decipher the predictions of assassinations and coups. No one knows what will happen; of course, some people may want something to happen.
Xi Jiajun should always be on guard against Li Keqiang’s comeback. After Li Keqiang’s death, the Tuan faction was virtually extinct, and there was no one in the CCP political circle who could possibly replace Xi Jinping. After Jiang Zemin’s death, Zeng Qinghong and his gang could only make public announcements and were unable to recommend a candidate. The recent public announcements have pushed Li Keqiang to the forefront.
Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, and Han Zheng have no real power. After Li Keqiang, these three people should know that now they have become the targets of the Xi Jiajun. They probably just want to finish their term safely and retire, and not become the second Li Keqiang.
If the Xi Jiajun loses its opponents, internal fighting will quickly escalate, especially among the core members of the Xi Jiajun.
Who are the core members of the Xi Jiajun?
Those currently considered core members around Xi Jinping should at least include:
Politburo Standing Committee members Li Qiang, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi;
Politburo members Li Ganjie, Li Shulei, He Lifeng and Chen Wenqing;
Vice Chairman of the Military Commission He Weidong and Zhang Youxia;
Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong and Minister of National Security Chen Yixin;
Zhong Shaojun, director of the General Office of the Central Military Commission.
These people serve in key departments of the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the military, and are indispensable figures around Xi Jinping. Other members of the Politburo, as well as the top leaders of central ministries and commissions and local governments, are basically people who have been recruited by Xi Jinping, but they are not core members. They may also want to compete for high positions, but are temporarily powerless, and may have to fight among the core figures of the Xi family army. Make opportunistic choices.
Possible contenders for the post behind Xi Jinping
Li Shangfu and Qin Gang were dismissed. Regardless of the reason, Xi Jinping’s authority has actually been shaken. It would not be surprising if someone wants to take over as soon as possible. The external threat to the Xi Jiajun is almost gone. If we continue to “fight”, of course we will be “fighting” against the Xi Jiajun’s “own people.”
According to normal logic, only members of the Politburo Standing Committee have the opportunity to join Xi Jinping’s class, including Li Qiang, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi; other Politburo members are not high enough and lack strength.
Cai Qi is currently one of Xi Jinping’s most trusted people. He is currently secretary of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Central Office. He is also in charge of publicity and has a series of deputy titles such as the Security Committee.
Cai Qi worked with Xi Jinping in Fujian and Zhejiang. Cai Qi served as secretary to the Secretary of the Fujian Provincial Party Committee, and served as deputy director of the General Office of the Provincial Party Committee. After Cai Qi was transferred to Zhejiang, he followed Xi Jinping, then Secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee, and rose through the ranks.
Xi Jinping became General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in November 2012; a year later, Cai Qi became deputy secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee and executive deputy governor; four months later, he was transferred to deputy director of the newly established Office of the CPC Security Commission; in October 2016, he was appointed deputy secretary of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee Secretary; became mayor of Beijing in January 2017; took over as secretary of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee four months later. At that time, Cai Qi did not have the title of Central Committee member, but he was the first to publicly propose the “Important Thoughts of General Secretary Xi Jinping.”
Xi Jinping urgently needs to support his own people, and Cai Qi is one of them who was promoted like a rocket. At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017, Cai Qi, who was not a member of the Central Committee, became a member of the Politburo. At the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022, Cai Qi was promoted to a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and is now the de facto number two figure in the party.
When Xi Jinping goes out, Cai Qi usually stays close to him and is responsible for a series of matters such as security and services. Xi Jinping should have great trust in Cai Qi. However, if Cai Qi has second thoughts, he will also be the most dangerous person around Xi Jinping; Cai Qi can completely arrange for “a golden sword hidden at the east gate, and the warriors can enter the imperial palace through the back door.”
Li Qiang, who is nominally ranked second on the Politburo Standing Committee, should be regarded by Cai Qi as his biggest opponent. There are already rumors of a fight between the two.
Li Qiang may not be willing to live under others
Li Qiang seems to obey Xi Jinping, but he may not really be willing to be subordinate to others, not to mention that he is nominally second in the Politburo Standing Committee and is also the Premier of the State Council of the Communist Party of China. It would be even more strange if he has no ideas at all. Perhaps because of this, Xi Jinping has repeatedly lowered Li Qiang’s status and did not even arrange a special plane for foreign visits.
Li Qiang worked in Zhejiang, serving as deputy director of the General Office of the Zhejiang Provincial Government in 1998; director of the Zhejiang Provincial Administration for Industry and Commerce in 2000; secretary of the Wenzhou Municipal Party Committee in 2002; and in 2004, he was transferred to secretary-general of the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee, serving as secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee at the time Xi Jinping. In 2011, Li Qiang served as Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of Zhejiang Province and Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee; in 2012, he became an alternate member of the Central Committee at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and subsequently served as Vice Governor and Acting Governor of Zhejiang Province; in January 2013, he became governor.
In June 2016, Li Qiang was promoted to Secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee; in October 2017, he was substituted as a member of the Central Committee. At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017, Li Qiang became a member of the Political Bureau and succeeded Han Zheng as Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee. Xi Jinping brought Li Jianping to Shanghai. On the one hand, he asked him to suppress and dismantle the Shanghai Gang, and on the other hand, it also paved the way for his future promotion. At the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022, Li Qiang became the second-ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee, and later became the Premier of the State Council of the Communist Party of China.
Comparing the resumes of Li Qiang and Cai Qi, Cai Qi was promoted more intensively. Cai Qi’s appointment as a member of the Politburo Standing Committee even surprised the outside world. Neither of them has any serious academic qualifications. It was only because they followed Xi Jinping that they climbed to the top of the Politburo Standing Committee. They should not be convinced by each other.
Cai Qi has more real power in his hands. He is in charge of the Central Office, the propaganda system, and can control the Central Security Bureau. He has some advantages over Li Qiang in the internal struggle.
Li Qiang voluntarily handed over the decision-making power of the State Council, and it was difficult for him to decide on his own the top leaders of various ministries and commissions. He lacked real power and was relatively weak in the internal struggle. However, both Li Qiang and Li Keqiang’s names are “Qiang” and “bow”, but they are not soldiers. I don’t know if they are counted as the people “with bows” in “Tui Bei Tu”. The State Council is in the north courtyard of Zhongnanhai. The entrance and exit are considered as the back door of Zhongnanhai. In theory, it can be arranged for “warriors to enter the imperial palace through the back door.”
Others who may compete for the position
Although Ding Xuexiang was promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee, he did not have much qualifications only because he had served Xi Jinping personally. He is likely to be the replacement candidate prepared by Xi Jinping for Li Qiang in advance. Xi Jinping himself wants to be re-elected forever, but the plan is to only let Li Qiang work for 5 years, and then be replaced by Ding Xuexiang, turning the State Council into an office. As the first vice-premier of the State Council, Ding Xuexiang has no real power. Although he has the advantage of age, he may be powerless if he wants to join Xi Jinping’s class.
Li Xi reluctantly entered the core circle of Xi Jiajun, but not Xi Jinping’s old troops in Fujian and Zhejiang. He once served as the Party Secretary of Yan’an Municipal Committee in Shaanxi Province; he has repeatedly arranged for Liangjiahe villagers who have been in the team of Xi Jinping to write letters to Xi Jinping. When Xi Jinping was appointed Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee, Li Xi also organized a delegation to inspect Shanghai, which was equivalent to joining Xi Jinping in advance, who was about to take office, and was thus recruited into the Xi Family Army. Li Xi controls the Discipline Inspection Commission and has some power, but also lacks strength.
Among other Politburo members, it is not ruled out that there are also people who dream of reaching the sky in one step, but it is much more difficult. I’m afraid it will be even harder for them to get the support of many figures from the Xi family.
If Cai Qi and Li Qiang want to compete for the top position, they need to try their best to win over other Xi Jiajun figures, thus forming the two most likely Xi Jiajun gangs.
Fujian gang has the advantage
Among the officials quickly promoted by Xi Jinping, the Fujian gang is undoubtedly the best, including: Cai Qi, member of the Politburo Standing Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee; He Weidong, member of the Politburo and vice chairman of the Military Commission; He Lifeng, member of the Politburo and vice premier of the State Council; Huang Kunming, member of the Politburo and secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee ; State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong; Minister of National Security Chen Yixin; Member of the Military Commission and Director of the Political Work Department Miao Hua; Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Communist Party of China Song Tao; President of the Central Party School Chen Xi; Director of the National Development and Reform Commission Zheng Shajie; Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Lin Rui ; Lin Xiangyang, commander of the Eastern Theater Command; Zhang Hongbing, political commissar of the Armed Police Force, etc.
These people have all interacted with Xi Jinping in Fujian, and some have interacted with Xi Jinping in Zhejiang or other places. They have been promoted continuously and are called the Fujian Gang or the Minjiang New Army. Some have entered the core circle of the Xi family army.
In addition, there are some people who have worked in Fujian after Xi Jinping, or were born in Fujian, and are also included in the broad Fujian Gang, including: Yin Li, member of the Political Bureau and Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee; Li Shulei, member of the Political Bureau and Minister of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China; Politburo member Bureau member and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee Chen Wenqing; Shandong Provincial Party Committee Secretary Lin Wu; Shanxi Provincial Party Committee Secretary Tang Dengjie; Hubei Provincial Party Committee Secretary Ni Yuefeng; Yunnan Provincial Party Committee Secretary Wang Ning; Gansu Provincial Party Committee Secretary Hu Changsheng; Fujian Provincial Party Committee Secretary Zhou Zuyi; Fujian Provincial Party Committee Secretary Zhao Long, deputy director of the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China; Huang Jianfa, deputy director of the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China; Hou Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Zheng Xuan, political commissar of the Northern Theater Command; Xu Qiling, deputy chief of staff of the Joint Staff Department of the Military Commission, etc.
After Xi Jinping came to power, because there was no one available, people who had interacted with him were constantly promoted. The Fujian Gang became the biggest beneficiary, and other people with ties to Fujian were also quickly recruited. In the past 10 years, the Fujian Gang has actually become the largest gang within the Xi Jiajun, and is currently the largest gang within the CCP.
Cai Qi is the most powerful person in the Fujian Gang. If he wants to compete for power, he must rely on the Fujian Gang and try to win over other gang members.
The Zhejiang Gang followed closely behind
There are not enough people in the Fujian gang, and Xi Jinping continues to promote people who have interacted with him in Zhejiang. Li Qiang is the most typical representative. Zhejiang Gang or Zhijiang New Army figures also include: Politburo member and Tianjin Municipal Party Committee Secretary Chen Min’er; Supreme Procuratorate Chief Prosecutor Ying Yong; Minister of National Security Chen Yixin; Henan Provincial Party Committee Secretary Lou Yangsheng; Hunan Provincial Party Committee Secretary Shen Xiaoming; Shaanxi Province Party Secretary Zhao Yide; Secretary-General of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China Liu Qi and others.
The Zhejiang Gang has fewer troops than the Fujian Gang, but some occupy key positions. If Li Qiang wants to fight for a big position, he must rely on the Zhejiang Gang, and he must try to win over members of other gangs, such as the Pujiang New Army, the Military Industry Gang, the New Shaanxi Gang, the New Guangdong Gang and Xi Jinping’s Classmates Gang.
It is still unknown whether the Fujian Gang will follow Cai Qi and the Zhejiang Gang will follow Li Qiang. The fight between these two gangs and other gangs’ mutual attraction and fighting may turn into a melee, which will give birth to new Qin Gang and Li Shangfu. Make room for a new position as soon as possible before continuing the fight.
Because Xi Jinping lacked available people, he had to recruit the Fujian Gang and the Zhejiang Gang, but these people generally have mediocre education, qualifications, and abilities. If Xi Jinping does not arrange his own successor, these gangs will think about Xi Jinping’s successor and even plot against Xi Jinping himself. But those who are preparing to succeed him may also know that it is more difficult for them to convince the public.
The members of the Xi Jiajun are not convinced by each other, and their fights are not disciplined. It may still be considered a consensus to protect the party; but the rapid escalation of internal strife in the Xi Jiajun will most likely lead to the disintegration of the CCP as quickly as possible.
The Epoch Times first