CCP Leader Xi Jinping’s Absence Fuels Speculation and Conspiracy Theories at Beidaihe Meeting
Beijing, August 11, 2023 – The leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping, has been absent from public view for consecutive 11 days, leading to intense speculation about the ongoing Beidaihe meeting. Held annually, the Beidaihe meeting brings together top CCP leaders to discuss pressing issues behind closed doors. However, this year’s gathering is believed to be clouded with dark clouds and conspiracy due to the multiple domestic and foreign crises faced by the Beijing authorities.
Xi Jinping’s last public appearance was on July 31, where he conferred the rank of general on Wang Houbin, the newly appointed commander of the PLA Rocket Force, and Xu Xisheng, political commissar of the PLA Rocket Force. Since then, the CCP leader has remained unseen. Several other members of the Politburo Standing Committee also entered a state of collective invisibility before Xi Jinping, leaving Chinese Premier Li Qiang to preside over the executive meeting of the State Council on August 8.
Amidst the ongoing Beidaihe meeting, floods have devastated many regions in China. However, Xi Jinping only sent Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing to inspect the disaster-stricken areas. Reuters analysis suggests that the CCP leader is seeking respite from the summer heat at the seaside resort of Beidaihe, despite the widespread floods in northern China.
While some analysts believe that the meeting’s focus revolves around domestic and foreign crises faced by the CCP, others point towards internal power struggles. The recent disappearance and subsequent removal of Qin Gang, the trusted foreign minister under Xi Jinping, along with corruption investigations into military and party discipline supervision agencies, indicate that the meeting may be fueled by conspiracy.
This year’s Beidaihe meeting is the first since Xi Jinping entered his unprecedented third term as the leader of the Communist Party of China. However, the gathering may be overshadowed by the economic recession and intensified hostilities with the West. The already turbulent Sino-US relations were further strained when US President Biden announced on August 9 that the US is prohibited from investing in China’s sensitive technology fields. Experts suggest that this move is a significant step toward limiting investment in China, potentially leading to reduced investment by large American companies.
Victor Shih, a professor of Chinese political economy at the University of California, San Diego, noted that the Xi Jinping government is desperate to revive the economy. However, the constraints imposed by the party-state interests are inhibiting economic growth. Shih emphasized that reducing spending on the military, national defense, internal security, and mass electronic surveillance of the Chinese population is challenging for the CCP leaders gathered at Beidaihe.
Wang Dan, the leader of the June 4th pro-democracy movement, expressed his concerns about Xi Jinping’s stability in power. He believes that the Beidaihe meeting should address economic, domestic, and foreign issues, but it remains unclear whether the authorities have effective tactics to resolve the crises. Wang Dan specifically referred to the Qin Gang incident, suggesting that a conclusion on the matter might be reached during the gathering.
As Xi Jinping and other high-level CCP leaders continue their vacation in Beidaihe, China’s relations with the US remain tumultuous. The “Wall Street Journal” reported on August 10 that the Biden administration is signaling American companies to invest away from China. These developments further contribute to the uncertainty and intrigue surrounding this year’s Beidaihe meeting.
The gathering of China’s top leaders at Beidaihe, usually veiled in secrecy, has become a subject of intense scrutiny as the stakeholders involved grapple with economic downturns, diplomatic tensions, and internal power struggles. The outcomes and decisions made during the meeting are destined to have far-reaching consequences for China’s future.