Deng Xiaoping's son (L) Deng Pufang talks to general Tian Xiusi at Great Hall of the People on Nov. 8, 2012. Tian has recently been placed under investigation for violation of Party discipline. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)Deng Xiaoping's son (L) Deng Pufang talks to general Tian Xiusi at Great Hall of the People on Nov. 8, 2012. Tian has recently been placed under investigation for violation of Party discipline. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

Tian Xiusi, the former political chief of the Chinese Communist Party’s airforce, enjoyed a series of connections to elite political figures that allowed his career to prosper. His only problem was, they were the wrong figures.

With a July 9 announcement that he was under investigation, Tian is the latest retired military official to be purged for his association with a political faction that has opposed Party leader Xi Jinping.

Tian, 66, will now been handed to the People’s Liberation Army’s internal disciplinary unit on suspicion of corruption, according state mouthpiece Xinhua. His wife and secretary were also taken away, according to Beijing Daily, a semi-official Chinese publication.

Tian’s most recent occupation, after his retirement from the military last August, was deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, the regime’s faux legislature.

Tian is one of the highest ranking former Chinese military officers to be investigated for corruption since Xi Jinping took office in 2013. Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, both former vice chairs of the Central Military Commission, and patrons of Tian, have also been probed and purged.

Before taking on his civilian post in the regime’s legislature, Tian was a career military man. He had spent over 40 years in the Lanzhou Military Region in west China before being made political commissar of the neighboring Chengdu Military Region in 2009. (The Lanzhou Military Region and Chengdu Military Region have since been modified in a recent military reform.)

Then in October 2012, Tian was promoted to political commissar of the People’s Liberation Army’s air force—an unusual appointment at the time because Tian only had experience commanding ground troops.

It appears that Tian had secured his promotions through bribery, according to a recently published book by a former official who worked in a department linked with the old Lanzhou Military Region.

Chen Xi, the author of “The Autobiography of Guo Boxiong,” wrote that Tian had paid former military vice chair Guo Boxiong 50 million yuan (about $7.5 million) in 2012 to be the air force’s political commissar, according to Radio France International. Tian had also bribed Xu Caihou, the other military vice chair, to get the Chengdu job. Both Guo and Xu oversaw all promotions and appointments in the Chinese military during their tenure as vice chairs of the military.

Guo has been expelled from the Party for corruption in July 2015, and is currently awaiting trial. Xu passed away from bladder cancer in March 2015, but otherwise would almost certainly have been prosecuted.

Tian Xiusi also appears to have been something of an ally of Bo Xilai, the ambitious former Politburo member and chief of southwestern megapolis Chongqing.

After Tian’s investigation was announced, popular Chinese news website Netease declared in a headline that the former air force political chief had “frequent meetings” with Bo, though the report itself did not elaborate.

Overseas Chinese media offer more detail of the Tian-Bo connection. While Tian was still the political commissar of the old Chengdu Military Region in 2012, he issued an article that was widely interpreted to be supportive of Bo Xilai’s “red” political campaign in Chongqing, according to the Chinese language edition of Deutsche Welle.

Tian’s article was issued in April that year, merely two months after Bo’s former ally Wang Lijun attempted to defect to the United States Consulate in Chengdu spilling details of what is believed to have been a coup plot featuring Bo Xilai and then security czar Zhou Yongkang.

In a 2015 speech, Party leader Xi had implied that Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, Xu Caihou, and two others had “carried political plot activities” to “wreck and split” the Communist Party. These disgraced elite cadres are known to be part of a rival political network grouped around former Party chief Jiang Zemin.

Given Tian Xiusi’s connections to Jiang’s loyalists, it would appears that his purge is part of Xi’s attempt to root out Jiang’s influence in the military and the Party, and consolidate his control over the regime.

Read the full article here

Ling Jihua, an aide to former Party leader Hu Jintao, was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 7, 2016. (CCTV)Ling Jihua, an aide to former Party leader Hu Jintao, was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 7, 2016. (CCTV)

Ling Jihua, an aide to former Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao and director of the Party’s secretive General Office, was sentenced to life in prison, according to state run media.

On July 4, Xinhua News Agency reported that Ling was found guilty by the Tianjin No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on June 7 of taking bribes, illegally obtaining state secrets, and abuse of power. State mouthpiece China Central Television ran footage of a grey-haired Ling in a white shirt in the courtroom.

Ling and his family had accepted bribes totaling 77.08 million yuan (about $11.6 million), Xinhua reported. He had also obtained large amounts of classified documents while serving as head of the United Front Work Department, the regime’s political subterfuge and espionage organ, and vice chair of the National Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body.

Huo Ke, Ling’s former aide at the General Office, had furnished his ex-boss with the classified documents, according to Xinhua.

This February, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Ling Wancheng, the older brother of Ling Jihua, is in possession of the over 2,700 classified documents in Ling’s possession.

Given Ling’s highest official position was analogous to the White House chief of staff, he is one of the most elite Party cadres to be jailed in recent decades.

Ling pled guilty and said he would not appeal the sentence.

Ling’s downfall can be traced to the suspicious death of his son in a Ferrari accident in Beijing in March 2012. He was investigated for corruption in December 2014, and formally arrested on July 20, 2015.

Party leader Xi Jinping had in a recent speech accused Ling, former security czar Zhou Yongkang, former military vice chair Xu Caihou, and former Politburo member Bo Xilai of having “carried out political conspiracies to wreck and split the Party.”

Ling, Zhou, Xu, and Bo are known allies of former Party chief Jiang Zemin. Since taking office, Xi has been dismantling Jiang’s political network and consolidating his own power.

Read the full article here

Xu Jiatun, a 100-year-old, former elite Chinese Communist Party official turned defector, chooses his words carefully. In the two decades he has lived in exile—he defected after the June 4 massacre in 1989—he has only given a handful of interviews to Hong Kong media, and says little that’s worthy of a good headline.
After an emergency spell in a Los Angeles hospital, however, he appears to have thought it time to confide his musings and hopes for current Party politics in a well-known Hong Kong journalist.
Simon Kei Shek Ming, the 2009 winner of the prestigious Society of Publishers in Asia’s Journalist of the Year award, has had about a dozen informal interview sessions with Xu over the past eight years. Kei, formerly with the reputable Chinese language magazine Yazhou Zhoukan, connected with Xu in Los Angeles, and got the centenarian to share his thoughts on Party leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.
Now, steps are being taken to go after bigger tigers.— Xu Jiatun

From the late 1970s to the 1980s, Xu held prominent positions in the Chinese regime: he was a member of the Communist Party’s elite Central Committee, governor of Jiangsu Province, and was the head of Party mouthpiece Xinhua in Hong Kong, the Party’s de facto presence in the then-British colony. He went into exile in the United States in 1990 because he opposed the Tiananmen Square massacre, and was expelled from the Party in 1991, after Jiang Zemin, leader at the time, got wind of the defection.
Somehow, Xu appears to remain a staunch believer in the Party, though has no kind words for the Party officials that effectively ruled from the time of his exile until recently. Xu resides in Chino Hill, Los Angeles.
“China, in 30 years of reform and opening, has unexpectedly achieved a level of development that the West only attained after 300 years of industrialization,” Xu told Simon Kei. The interview was published in The Initium, a new Hong Kong-based news website.
“However, Jiang Zemin and Li Peng placed their interests above all else during their reign,” Xu added. Jiang the former Party chief, and Li the ex-Chinese premier had “formed cliques, engaged in corrupt activities with their children, and bred streaks of tigers and swarms of flies everywhere in China.”
Xi Jinping coined the term “tigers and flies” at the start of his anti-corruption campaign in 2013 to reference venal and crooked elite and low-ranking officials.
There is basis for Xu’s critique of Jiang and Li, the inheritors and propagators of Party paramount Deng Xiaoping’s bureaucratic capitalism, or the use of political power for private, monetary gain.
Jiang had built up a sprawling political network during his time in office, and continued to influence Chinese politics for over a decade after relinquishing the position of Party leader. (He only gave up the military chair three years later.) Elder son Jiang Mianheng leveraged his father’s prestige to build up a telecommunications empire, while younger son Jiang Miankeng had a stranglehold on the transportation and public works industry in Shanghai.
Li Xiaolin, the daughter of former premier Li Peng, was for many years a state electricity mogul, and until last year, was the CEO of the Hong Kong-based China Power International, a subsidiary of one of China’s five biggest electricity companies. In 2015, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed that Li and her husband had a Swiss bank account with about $2.5 million, and the Panama Papers showed that Li owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands; offshore companies are often used as tax havens by the wealthy.
Conversely, Xu Jiatun holds Hu Jintao, Jiang’s immediate successor, and Hu’s premier Wen Jiabao in good esteem. In a 2008 interview with journalist Kei, Xu said that Hu and Wen, had, “in the face of disaster, showed ‘people-oriented’ governance by respecting the rights and values of the people, and embraced the philosophy of ‘serving the people.’”
“Not just me, but fair-minded people everywhere rated them highly,” he added.
He has similar regard for Xi Jinping.
“After the 18th National Congress, the Party leadership of Xi Jinping has not only cleaned up the ranks and restored China’s traditional national virtues, but also arrested tigers and flies,” Xu said. “Tigers have been arrested regardless of position or power, such as Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, and Xu Caihou and Gu Junshan in the military; they have been purged, expelled from the Party, and dealt with in accordance with the law.”
Bo, Zhou, Xu Caihou and Gu Junshan all occupied important positions in the political web woven by Jiang Zemin.
Jiang had intended for former Chongqing chief Bo Xilai to take over Zhou Yongkang as security czar—and perpetuate Jiang’s control—at an important political conclave in 2012. The plan, however, was derailed when former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun outed a Bo and Zhou plot to eventually displace Xi Jinping as Party leader to the Americans when he tried to defect at a U.S. consulate in Chengdu.
When it came to the takedown of Jiang’s army designees, anti-corruption investigators had to bring in several trucks to haul away the ill-gotten loot accumulated by the late Xu Caihou, the former second-in-command of the Party’s military governing body, and Gu Junshan the former military logistics general.
Xu says it’s far from over.
“Now, steps are being taken to go after bigger tigers,” he told journalist Simon Kei.
Given how extensive the anti-corruption campaign has already been, there are only so many “bigger tigers” available to be removed. Perhaps the only men that fit this description are Jiang Zemin and his key henchman, former Chinese vice president Zeng Qinghong.
Last year, state mouthpiece People’s Daily published an editorial calling for Party elders to stop interfering in current political affairs, and the anti-corruption agency criticized a long-dead Manchu noble. Both were interpreted by observers as public warnings against Jiang and Zeng. A large stone stelae bearing the calligraphy of Jiang Zemin was also unceremoniously removed from the entrance to the Central Party School, the regime’s ideological training ground, in Beijing. (As the public engaged in heady speculation that it was

Read the full article here