Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wide-ranging reforms in politics and military backed by a massive anti-corruption drive against “tigers and flies” have faced unimaginably resistance”, a media report said today. “The scale of the resistance is beyond what could have been imagined,” Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted an article in the state-run Guangming Daily.
In unusually strong language, the article said the reforms were at a critical stage and had encountered immense difficulties, affecting the interests of various groups. “The in-depth reform touches the basic issue of reconfiguring the lifeblood of this enormous economy and is aimed at making it healthier,” the article said.
Since he took over Xi carried out unprecedented anti-corruption campaign against “tigers and flies”, namely high and low level officials in which thousands of officials were punished or faced probes. He even broke the long held convention of not prosecuting retired leaders by launching probe against Zhou Yangkong, the former security chief chief and standing committee member of the previous Hu Jintao led administration. Zhou was sentenced to life for heavy corruption and excesses.
About 40 military officials including two Vice Chairmen of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest military body, faced probes. Post quoted observers as saying that the commentary suggested the reforms had not achieved the desired results and were opposed by various factions.
Xu Yaotong, a political science professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the commentary came amid concerns the anti-corruption campaign was waning and that other reforms had attracted opposition. “The tone [of the commentary] reads furious,” Xu said, adding, “I feel that the central leadership has started to worry, based on the message indicated in the article,” he said.
He said the resistance could be from any of three powerful groups: retired leaders who wanted to exert influence, cadres whose power had been weakened and civil servants unhappy with austerity rules. The publication comes after a series of People’s Daily articles this month criticising retired cadres for continuing to exert influence behind the scenes.
Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said the commentary signalled that “things are not going well”. “Obviously they did not reach any consensus at the political activities in Beidaihe,” the annual informal get-together of Chinese Communist Party leaders at a health resort. Earlier reports said the Beidaihe meet had been cancelled.
“Different groups are pursuing their own ways. This is a test of the leadership’s ability to execute its mission,” he said. Renmin University political science professor Zhang Ming said the reform push had not only failed to deliver results, it might have gone backwards. “There’s resistance not just to the reforms, there’s other resistance too,” he told Post.