Charles Burton, Associate Professor of Political Science and a former counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, wrote a piece recently published in the Globe and Mail about China’s political turmoil, internationally and at home.
While the Hong Kong showdown continues to deteriorate in clouds of tear gas, hundreds of arrests and increasingly dark rhetoric out of Beijing, the Chinese Communist Party senior leadership has relocated to the seaside town of Beidaihe, 200 kilometres east of Beijing, for their summer retreat.
A party tradition since the 1950s, this is not simply two weeks of sun, sand and sea-bathing with the bodyguards. It is also about political factional posturing in secretive preparation for this fall’s policy debates. There will be a lot of politicking by the beach, as party General-Secretary Xi Jinping strives to reinforce the critical support he needs from the party and military elders, and to stave off any challenges to his authority over the next year.
But things may not go as smoothly as in past retreats. Among the elders attending Beidaihe is former strongman Jiang Zemin. At 92, Mr. Jiang is the patriarch of a significant faction of senior officials who have been severely discomfited by Mr. Xi’s purges, anti-corruption investigations and administrative restructuring to centralize party authority in his own office.
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