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China News: Three Reasons Why Xi Jinping Regained Exclusive Control of the Armed Police Force

China News published an article on the three reasons why Xi Jinping regained exclusive control of the Armed Police less than one week after the 19th National Congress. According to the article, an announcement was issued that the State Council and the Military Commission will no longer co-manage the armed police. The Military Commission will manage the armed police directly. The local municipal government does not have the authority to mobilize the armed police either. The article listed three reasons why Xi Jinping decided to gain the sole authoritative power over the armed police:

First, Xi Jinping wants to prevent any future “usurpation of party or state power.” When Zhou Yongkang was in power, the armed police expanded rapidly. The millions of armed police enabled the Political and Legal Affairs Commission to be the second power center in the central administration. On the second day of the 19th National Congress, the official news media disclosed for the first time that Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, Ling Jihua, Guo Boxiong and Sun Bocan allegedly planned to “usurp the power of the party and the state.” The news became the focus of the media overseas because the armed police force was used and directly involved in that unsuccessful coup. The old structure became a major threat to Xi Jinping. Therefore Xi decided to eliminate it.

Second, Xi disabled the power of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission over the armed police force and placed it directly under the control of the Military Commission. His real intent was to diminish the power of Political and Legal Affairs Commission. During the power struggle at the National Congress, Xi won in most of the areas but not in all. One of the areas he failed to win was the Political and Legal Affairs Commission which Zhou Yongkang and Meng Jianzhu controlled and which Guo Shengkun currently leads. All of them belong to Jiang Zemin’s faction and Jiang did not want to let go. Detaching the armed police from the Political and Legal Affairs Commission is the first step in that direction and more may follow.

Third, during the era when Jiang Zemin and Zhou Yongkang were in power, they established a system to “use violence to achieve stability” in which the armed police played a critical role. Now the armed police force is directly under the Military Commission. The local municipal government no longer has the authority to direct it when there are large scale rights protests or mass incidents. They must let the central administration decide whether the armed police force can be used. This represents a change in the old model Jiang and Zhou developed: to “use violence to achieve stability.”

Source: China News, November 2, 2017