Did Xi Jinping bypass Zhou Yongkang in his 'consultation' with retired Party leaders?
President Xi Jinping has consulted with almost all retired Communist Party leaders on his current anti-graft campaign, state-media said, raising speculation on which ones he chose not to confer with.
There are at least 19 retired Politburo members still living, and Xi consulted 17 of them on how to pursue his campaign against graft, Xinhua news agency said.
One of the retired elders, former security zsar Zhou Yongkang, is understood to be the target of a graft investigation – the highest-profile corruption inquiry in decades.
The report did not name the elders Xi had consulted.
These consultations preceded an extraordinary meeting by the current Politburo on “four styles” – the party-speak for lean and efficient governance – from June 22 to June 25, which included criticism and self-criticism.
Xi had consulted the elders prior to the meeting, the report said.
The austerity campaign, launched in a speech shortly after Xi became the Communist Party's general secretary a year ago, has been felt throughout the nation, with a stark slowdown in luxury spending. A dozen inspection teams have combed through the finances of ministries, provinces and state organs over the last months.
Among those sacked for “serious discipline violations” was Jiang Jiemin, the man overseeing the nation's state-owned assets after running one of China's largest oil firms for more than a decade.
The period following the consultations also saw the trial of former Chongqing party secretary and Politburo member Bo Xilai on graft charges as well as initial reports on the decision to investigate Zhou Yongkang.
Xi Jinping also consulted 478 “other comrades”, the report said.