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Battening Down the Hatches
China's Leadership Arrests General, Bans Ramadan Fasting

The biggest fish yet has been caught in China’s anti-corruption net: retired General Xu Caihou has been accused of bribery and kicked out of the Communist party. The NYT reports:

Until his retirement in late 2012, General Xu held one of the highest ranks in the People’s Liberation Army, as a vice chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission. He was also a member of the elite Politburo. He has become the most prominent Chinese military leader to be purged in decades, and the most senior official named publicly in Mr. Xi’s campaign to clean up the elite and impose his authority on the party, government and army. [...]

“I think Xi is building to a crescendo, and he’s aiming for others to be rolled out,” [Christopher K.] Mr. Johnson [a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington] said. “This is the most high-profile attack on a military figure since Deng Xiaoping’s time. There’s a message here from Xi to all resisters. It also sends a huge message on defense structural reform.”

We’ve written in the past about the political implications of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crusade to capture the “flies” and “tigers”—code for corrupt officials, low-level and high. While these kinds of purges have been par for the course when leadership changes happen in China’s closed political system, Xi’s actions have been notable for how far and wide they have swept. Bo Xilai, it seems, was just the tip of the iceberg.

Put these kinds of stories together with the widely reported increases of religious repression—including most recently the ban on public employees fasting during Ramadan—along with the ongoing economic, environmental and demographic challenges facing China’s leadership, and you have a worrying picture of a nation that is only growing more insecure. All is not well and the Politburo knows it. They are battening down the hatches.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    China is in the enviable position of being able to block the bulldozer of Islam inside its country. Many in Europe would LOVE to be able to slow their Islam down, but they can’t due to not being formatted as authoritarian and due to already having too much Islam.

    It’s one thing to criticize Xi for purges, if they are unjustified, but the Ramadan fasting matter is completely unrelated. These are not things you should “put together” (as you mentioned in last paragraph).

  • jb willikers

    Just remember, this is the system Obama wishes he could emulate.

    • richard40

      On rooting out corruption I wish he would. But Obama only wants to emulate the big gov dictatorial bad parts of China.

  • A Smith

    As Thomas Friedman might say, “Look! China is rooting out corruption!” Uh, yeah.

  • David Govett

    Corruption in the Communist Party.
    Quelle surprise.

  • CruisingTroll

    Let’s hope that China goes near-full counter-jihad. Nothing quite like seeing your adversary (China) destroy your enemies. (Islam)

  • Fred234

    Yeah, the mussies are going to stop fasting because some fast-a$$ed bureaucrat in Beijing said so. All the Beijing boys did was poke the hornets nest.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “The net worth of the 70 richest delegates in China’s National People’s Congress, which opens its annual session on March 5, rose to 565.8 billion yuan ($89.8 billion) in 2011, a gain of $11.5 billion from 2010, according to figures from the Hurun Report, which tracks the country’s wealthy. That compares to the $7.5 billion net worth of all 660 top officials in the three branches of the U.S. government.”

    How corrupt is the Chinese government? Numbers don’t lie, it looks like it’s rotten to the core.

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