[Epoch Times, October 1, 2022](The Epoch Times reporter Zhang Ting comprehensive report) The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China not only means a change in the top leadership, but also means a political purge of key departments. As Xi Jinping prepares to win a third term at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the political and legal committee system known as the “knife handle” can be in charge of Xi’s cronies, which has attracted much attention from the outside world.
The Political and Legal Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (hereinafter referred to as the Political and Legal Committee) is responsible for overseeing not only the public security and judicial departments, but also the Ministry of State Security, which oversees counterintelligence and secret police. The secretary of the Political and Legal Committee is at a higher level than the minister of public security, the minister of justice and the chief prosecutor, and can influence the handling and ruling of cases.
The two candidates for the secretary of the Political and Legal Committee have attracted much attention
According to Nikkei Asia, Xi is believed to have two candidates for the important post of secretary of the Political and Legal Committee, which controls law enforcement. The clear frontrunner is Wang Xiaohong, who was appointed minister of public security in June.
Wang also serves as deputy secretary of the Central Political and Legal Committee. He has known Xi Jinping for more than 30 years. He is Xi’s former Fujian ministry and has an extraordinary relationship with Xi. Wang was responsible for keeping Xi Jinping himself safe. Whether Wang Xiaohong will be promoted to the Politburo at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has also been closely watched before.
Wang Xiaohong has appeared on Xi Jinping’s trips to Hong Kong and Xinjiang this year. Katsuji Nakazawa, who was the China bureau chief of Nikkei Asia, said that based on previous observations, those selected to travel with Xi to Hong Kong and Xinjiang are likely to join Xi’s new leadership. When Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong in 2017, the escorts were promoted at the 19th National Congress that followed.
Another potential candidate for secretary of the Political and Legal Committee is Chen Yixin, secretary-general of the Political and Legal Committee, Nikkei Asia said. Chen and Xi Jinping have a close relationship. Chen Yixin worked closely with Xi in Zhejiang province 20 years ago, when Xi was governor and party secretary in Zhejiang.
In early 2020, as the novel coronavirus (CCP virus) spread in Wuhan, Chen Yixin traveled to Wuhan, where he cracked down on critics of the government. Lately, he has been paying attention to any dissent ahead of the 20th Congress.
Xi Jiang’s battle in the Political and Legal Committee
Xi’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign of “tiger and flies” has taken down many senior party and military officials who were not his allies, especially during his first term. At the time, his ally Wang Qishan was appointed secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. However, those associated with former party leader Jiang Zemin and his associate, former vice-chairman Zeng Qinghong, retain some influence in the party’s judicial and security apparatus.
The Nikkei said Zhou Yongkang, a former secretary of the Political and Legal Committee with close ties to Jiang Zemin, reportedly tried to block the handover of the power of the Communist Party leader from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping. When Xi Jinping took power, he set out to “reform” the Political and Legal Committee, eroding the influence of the secretary of the Political and Legal Committee, essentially demoting the post from Politburo Standing Committee member to Politburo member.
Although Zhou Yongkang was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for alleged corruption. He is by far the most powerful member of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. But Xi Jinping cannot root out the influence of his political opponents. When Xi Jinping took office, Meng Jianzhu was the secretary of the Political and Legal Committee. Meng was closely related to Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong. Guo Shengkun, the current secretary of the Political and Legal Committee, is seen as belonging to the Zeng Qinghong faction. Guo is not considered close to Xi Jinping.
It is unclear whether Xi Jinping can successfully shape the leadership of the Political and Legal Committee in his favor at the 20th Party Congress. Samantha Hoffman, a sinologist at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told the Financial Times that the Politics and Law Committee was crucial to stability. In CCP politics, it is said that a leader who has a firm grasp of the military and political law can enjoy so-called “stability” of power.
CCP leaders tend to stabilize the military (the barrel of the gun), strictly control the propaganda (the barrel of the pen), and then hold the political and legal system (the knife handle) and target the financial system (the money bag). These are the departments that are easiest to replace in a political purge every five years.
Xi Jinping has already overhauled the military in his first term, and Wen Xuan has routinely and regularly flattered him.
Commentary: The CCP’s Political and Legal Committee has done many evils
Current affairs commentator Li Linyi believes that the CCP’s Political and Legal Committee is a major department that persecutes and oppresses people, and it is also one of the most hated internal CCP organizations. The CCP’s system determines the nature of this sector and what it does. In other words, the CCP needs this department to maintain stability, so it has given it enormous power to target the common people. In this sense, no matter who takes over the post of Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee, it is impossible to fundamentally change the evil behavior of this department.
Responsible editor: Lin Yan#