Is Xi Jinping consolidating power in the name of fighting corruption?

DelhiEdited By: Palki SharmaUpdated: Jun 03, 2020, 09:35 PM IST
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File photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping Photograph:(ANI)

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This is a crackdown on former senior officials who served in the Xinjiang province, the most-intensely monitored region in China.

China has been cracking down on a growing number of officials in President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. This time, the anti-graft watchdog has stretched its arms to the far western region of Xinjiang.

A high-level official in northwest Xinjiang region, where Muslim minorities have been held in internment camps, has come under investigation by the country's anti-corruption agency.

Ren Hua, the 56-year-old vice chairwoman of the region, is suspected of "serious violations of discipline and law", a euphemism for corruption, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

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Ren is the fifth senior official to be investigated this year. Ren Hua started off as a clerk in the communist party's regional office in Xinjiang in 1986.

Since the start of the year, Xinjiang's regional corruption watchdog has detained - a former deputy mayor, a former deputy director of the transport and a former deputy commissioner.

This is a crackdown on former senior officials who served in the Xinjiang province which is the most-intensely monitored region in China. Beijing has peddled unfounded claims of terrorist threats, and thus, these investigations don't look like an anti-corruption drive, but political vendetta - an attempt to consolidate power.

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The power struggle seems to have reached the top and now it's a fight between President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Kequiang. 

At a recent gathering, Li said that China must leave room for fiscal, financial and social security policies. "China now faces a daunting task in slashing absolute poverty due to the COVID-19 impact," he said.

In response, Xi is said to have criticised Li's welfare approach as such a wide-ranging poverty alleviation scheme would put more curbs on government spending on infrastructure.

It would hamper China's big lending operations across the world, most importantly, it would weaken Xi's position as a leader who could not take China back to its economic heights.

China''s economy contracted to 6.8 per cent in the first quarter for the first time since 1976 due to coronavirus lockdowns. Beijing has suffered a blow to its international image, with the world pointing fingers at China for the pandemic that has infected nearly six million people around the world while claiming over 3 lakh lives.

Beijing-backed crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong has also sparked an international backlash.

(With inputs from AFP)