Coup plotters foiled: Xi Jinping fended off threat to ‘save Communist Party’

Chinese securities watchdog chief names former Chongqing boss Sun Zhengcai as part of a cabal that schemed to seize power

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 October, 2017, 10:53pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 October, 2017, 3:30pm

The head of China’s securities watchdog has applauded President Xi Jinping for “saving the Communist Party” by foiling a coup plot by former political heavyweights.

Addressing a panel on the sidelines of the party’s national congress in Beijing on Thursday, Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, accused a string of disgraced cadres of plotting to seize the reins of power.

Among those named was the former party boss of megacity Chongqing, Sun Zhengcai, once a front runner for a place in the inner circle – the Politburo Standing Committee.

“[Xi] addressed the cases of Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, Ling Jihua, Xu Caihou, Guo Boxiong and Sun Zhengcai. They had high positions and great power in the party, but they were hugely corrupt and plotted to usurp the party’s leadership and seize state power,” Liu said, becoming the first senior official to accuse Sun of trying to take over the party.

Chinese ‘leader-in-waiting’ joins chorus of condemnation of former high-flyer Sun Zhengcai

Xinhua said late last month that Sun had been expelled from the party and handed over to judicial authorities for further investigation. The announcement came two months after his downfall but no details of the investigation were released.

Liu said Xi had taken great effort over the past five years to tackle corruption, which “seriously endangered the party’s ruling foundation and ability to govern”.

“Xi Jinping, with the historical responsibility as a proletarian revolutionist ... cleared up huge risks for the party and the country,” he said.

“The central leadership of the party with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core saved the party, saved the military and saved the country over the past five years ... He saved socialism.”

Wang Qishan, the country’s top graft-buster and the man widely seen as the country’s second most powerful man, reportedly told China’s top political advisory body late last year that some cadres had tried to take over the party.

“More seriously, some even sought to ... seize party and state power, engaging in activities to split the party, and seriously threatening the nation’s political stability,” People’s Daily quoted Wang as saying.

The report came out on December 1 but the speech was dated October 31.

Communist Party expels former high-flyer Sun Zhengcai in countdown to key congress

Wang also said the central authorities managed to punish Zhou, Bo, Guo, Xu and Ling, so as to eradicate a number of conspirators and ambitious schemers within the party, the report said.

As a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou is the highest ranking official to have been convicted of corruption in the party’s history. Bo, Guo, Xu and Ling were all former or serving party leaders. Xu died in 2015.