If you’re wondering how to get kicked out of the Communist Party in China, you might try writing some “groundless commentary.” That’s why Zhao Xinwei, chief editor of the state-run Xinjiang Daily, was expelled last month. What counts as “groundless,” you ask? According to the Wall Street Journal, it could be pretty much any position with which the Party disagrees:
Mr. Zhao also held views on separatism, terrorism and religious extremism that differed from those of the central government, according to the website of the Commission for Discipline Inspection in Xinjiang, which further accused him of wasting public property, abusing his position in the cadre appointments process and accepting gifts. In local television reports, Mr. Zhao’s first name was given as Xinyu, another, more rare pronunciation of his name in Chinese. It wasn’t clear which version was correct.
Whatever else it might be, President Xi’s corruption campaign is a tool for quashing dissent and consolidating power. As long as it was businessmen and politicians getting caught, Beijing could still plausibly pretend only to be investigating very real corruption—but whatever cover was left has been blown now that journalists are involved.