After Beijing replaced the Hubei Provincial Party Secretary and Wuhan Municipal Party Secretary for ineffective control of the coronavirus in Wuhan and Hubei, the media rarely mentioned the Wuhan Mayor, Zhou Xianwang.
However, HK01, a media in Hong Kong, reported that, on February 28 at a press conference, Ma Xiaowei, a member of the Central government’s Supervision Group at Hubei and Director of the National Health Commission, called Zhou Xianwang out and praised him for “directing work on the front line, mobilizing people in person, and organizing (hospital) construction work around the clock.” One of Zhou’s achievements was building 16 modular hospitals with 13,000 beds that host 12,000 patients.
New Tang Dynasty (NTDTV), a New York based independent Chinese language Television media, pointed out that this news was special because, in the past, Zhou Xianwang openly challenged the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) central leadership, which is very rarely seen in China’s political system.
In an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) on January 27, 2020, Zhou said that, until January 20, he had not been “authorized” to release information to the public or to take action. (See Chinascope posting: Leadership: Wuhan Mayor Not “Authorized” to Release Epidemic Information to the Public Before)
Then on February 11, 2020, Changjiang Daily, the official newspaper under the Wuhan Communist Party Committee, published an article to defend Zhou as he was not authorized to take action. (See Chinascope posting: Leadership: Wuhan Municipal Website Defended Its Mayor)
In his CCTV interview, Zhou also stated that he made the decision to lock down Wuhan. However, on February 20, Ding Xiangyang, the Deputy Chief Secretary of the State Council and a member of the Central government’s Supervision Group at Hubei, stated that it was Xi Jinping who ordered the Wuhan lockdown. (See Chinascope posting: Leadership: Ding Xiangyang: Xi Jinping Ordered Wuhan Lockdown)
Therefore, the praise of Zhou Xianwang may have a number of political messages behind it.
The Director of the Central government’s Supervision Group at Hubei is Vice Premier Sun Chunlan. The Deputy Director is Chen Yixin, Party Secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee Political and Legal Affairs Committee, who is said to be a Xi Jinping loyalist.
Related postings on Chinascope:
- Leadership: Wuhan Mayor Not “Authorized” to Release Epidemic Information to the Public Before
- Leadership: Wuhan Municipal Website Defended Its Mayor
- Leadership: Ding Xiangyang: Xi Jinping Ordered Wuhan Lockdown
1. Excerpt in Chinese:
Source: HK01, March 4, 2020
2. Excerpt in Chinese:
Source: NTDTV, March 2, 2020