Neo-Maoist Xi consolidates power, cracks down on activists, Tibet

China Digital Times

China Digital Times

A year before a Communist Party conclave that could decide who will eventually replace him as China’s next leader, President Xi Jinping is maneuvering to reduce the power of a rival political bloc while seeking to get members of his own faction onto the country’s top ruling body, according to three sources with ties to the leadership, Reuters reports:

Xi’s group is known as the “Zhejiang Clique” after the eastern province of Zhejiang where be built support when he was governor and party boss from 2002-2007. He also has the support of the so-called “princelings”, or red aristocrats, because like him they had parents who were senior party, government or military officials…..The Youth League, known as the party’s “helping hand and  reserve army”, is the entry point for those wanting to join the Communist Party. It recruits and trains the nation’s best and brightest, mostly university students. The older officials are considered to be members of the faction, though they are no longer members of the actual league.

Meanwhile, the regime continued its crackdown on civil society with this week’s sentencing of three labour rights activists to suspended prison terms in a case which illustrates Beijing’s growing anxiety over worker unrest as the economy stalls, The Daily Telegraph reports:

The three had had all worked at the Panyu Workers’ Centre in the southern province of Guangdong and had been in detention since last December. Among the trio is the centre’s manager, Zeng Feiyang, who was handed a four-year suspended sentence, a close friend told The Telegraph on Tuesday….The activists were said by state media to have been charged with “disturbing social order”, a phrase often used by China’s stability-obsessed authorities to clampdown on dissent.

The clampdown “is not just about scaring labor NGOs, but reasserting that issues relating to strike resolution and bargaining are completely off limits” to civil-society groups, said Eli Friedman, an assistant professor at Cornell University who studies labor relations in China.

China will make countering the Dalai Lama’s influence the “highest priority” in its work on ethnic affairs in Tibet, the region’s Communist Party boss has said, vowing to uproot the monk’s “separatist and subversive” activities, Reuters adds.

tibet in agonyBeijing is positioning its preferred successor to the Dalai Lama, notes China Digital Times, a grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy:

As political appointments set the stage for one leadership transition in China, authorities are maneuvering for another, positioning their chosen Panchen Lama to assume a more prominent role after the death of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama. In 1995, Beijing installed Gyalsten Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama—the second highest ranking cleric in the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama—after rejecting the incarnation the exiled Dalai Lama had helped recognize from exile. …. At The Washington Post, Simon Denyer reports on signs that Party authorities may be grooming their controversial Panchen Lama to fill the traditional political role of the Dalai Lama after the current exiled high lama dies.

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