Inhumane detention structures for Uyghurs. Infringing rights through mass surveillance. Unscrupulous corruption at all levels of politics.
Most of us who follow the horrifying events of our world, and even some who don’t, would know that these are all just a few of the major issues plaguing the People’s Republic of China. The blame can very easily and accurately be blamed on the Chinese government led by President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party of China. However, the widespread prevalence of these issues are only exacerbated by events like one that happened on October 22 during the closing session of a key Chinese Communist Party meeting in Beijing. President Xi once again showed his acquisitive nature, not for money or material wealth, but power. He clinged on to his current positions as President of China and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and portrayed his dominance over the government in a way never seen before, almost as if he were proprietorial of the future he plans to build for China. However, he went to great lengths to assert his power, even publicly escorting his top advisor and predecessor, Hu Jintao, off the stage.
Before we delve into this issue, let’s understand what actually occurred during this political party convention. On October 22, during the closing ceremony of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing, many members of the media discovered an odd moment when, according to The Guardian, “China’s former leader Hu Jintao was arguing about official papers, moments before he was escorted off the stage.” In large-scale, publicly-broadcasted events like these, almost all occurrences are meticulously scripted and choreographed, everything from seating orders to elections. This incident, however, has been described in the same article as a “rare moment of unscripted drama.”
A lengthy analysis by BBC finds that “[the footage] shows in greater detail how outgoing Politburo member Li Zhanshu, to Mr Hu’s left, takes a file away and speaks to him. Then China’s current leader Xi Jinping gives lengthy instructions to another man who subsequently attempts to persuade Mr Hu to leave. Zhanshu appeared to be about to stand up to help Mr Hu but was then seemingly tugged back down into his seat by Wang Huning to his left. Meanwhile Mr Hu said something to an impassive Mr Xi as he was escorted out, while the other men seated in the row did not turn around as he was led out.”
Many analysts believe that the rest of Xi’s inner circle in the CCP were aware of the escortation as they didn’t seem surprised by the incident, almost as if they expected it to happen. China’s state news agency, Xinhua, later reported via Twitter that Jintao had been escorted from the chamber after feeling unwell. This claim is also somewhat suspicious as they didn’t report it domestically.
Jintao, 79, held the same positions as Xi and stepped down 10 years ago; he was the General Secretary of the CCP from 2002 to 2012 and the president of China from 2003 to 2013. Currently, Jintao serves as an advisor to the CCP and is still a top delegate with high authority and respect. Although Xi and Jintao are part of the same party, their future visions and goals for the CCP were vastly different. Xi has been known to advocate for a future in which he remains the paramount leader even after being above the retirement age at 79. He re-emphasized this point during this year’s CCP meeting and isn’t expected to retire anytime soon as he was re-elected for his current positions. Jintao, meanwhile, has made his mark on Chinese politics by introducing a CCP division for younger members of society. During his early years in his career, as he was climbing up the ranks of his party, he strongly supported former President, Deng Xioping’s “Four Transformations” program which was meant to make CCP “more revolutionary, younger, more knowledgeable, and more specialized.” Seeking more growth in the party, he led the All-China Youth Federation towards progress.
It is important to note that this article isn’t meant to support Jintao’s administration or actions by any means. I am completely aware of the many troubles the former leader has caused for China’s livelihood and standard of living. It is simply meant to bring light towards the many injustices that are being caused in the present by Xi’s administration and the ways in which he deals with dissidents. For the sole reason that Jintao didn’t believe in Xi’s capability to lead the CCP and the Chinese people even though he is also a well-experienced leader and politician, Xi decided that the best way forward would be to publicly escort him, figuratively interpreted as a removal from the CCP’s inner circle. Some have also seen this as an act of embarrassment, so that other objectors would see that even a previous leader shamefully stood no chance against the wrath of Xi.
Taking all of these circumstances into account, it is inevitable that President Xi Jinping’s plans for the future of China primely involve continuing, if not exacerbating, current pressing issues for personal and Communist Party benefit, even if it means publicly ousting a previous holder of his position. Hu Jintao was the signal to the world of how Xi will deal with those who show even the slightest signs of dissent, and in Hu’s case, simply having a different opinion than Xi. As we established in the beginning, China is quite definitely facing a wide array of problems. But needless to say, those who bring up these faults in a negative manner will face the unfortunate consequences that Xi and his Communist Party have put in place, effectively setting a precedent of silencing the freedom of speech in this country bedeviled with predicaments.
Hello! My name is Krishna Mano and I am a sophomore at City High School. This is my fourth year writing for The City Voice and second year as an editor. Apart from the newspaper, I am part of the Speech and Debate team, President of the 10th Grade Student Council, and Treasurer of the NHS. Outside of school, I enjoy playing the violin, reading, skiing, and paddleboarding. If you have any questions about my articles, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.