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Party’s Power Struggle Extends to China’s Top Cop

After Bo Xilai was ousted from his position as Chongqing’s Party chief, speculation has been running high on the next target, Zhou Yongkang, Bo’s patron at the Politburo Standing Committee. They are part of the same Jiang faction, Party seniors who remain loyal to former President Jiang Zemin instead of current leader Hu Jintao.

Zhou, one of the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee and the chief of the Party’s Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC), controls the police, the Armed Police, the courts, and the procuratorate—nearly everything having to do with law enforcement. Zhou has been China’s top cop for a long time—he has headed the PLAC since 2007 and before that was the Minister of Public Security. Bo was Zhou’s handpicked successor to head the PLAC.

On the evening of March 21 Party mouthpiece Xinhua announced that the PLAC would hold a nationwide training session, the first meeting of which would take place on March 26. However, on March 19 when Zhou held a full meeting of the PLAC, he never mentioned that a nationwide training would take place in one week. Also, the announcement on March 21 did not mention Zhou himself. However, the announcement did mention Party head Hu Jintao. The training session would be devoted to the study of Hu’s contribution to CCP ideology, the theory of Scientific Development, which is considered a sign of paying loyalty to Hu.

Also on March 21, the Financial Times quoted “one person with close ties to China’s security apparatus” as saying “Mr Zhou had been ordered not to make any public appearances or take any high-level meetings and was ‘already under some degree of control.’”

On March 21, Hong Kong’s Apple Daily reported multiple arrests of top figures. The paper quoted Wu Guancong, a CEO of Guangzhou Sports Development Company, as saying a person from Beijing with inside information told him that the Party Central had a severe split regarding how to handle Bo Xilai. “Wen Jiabao and Zhou Yongkang had a serious conflict,” Wu was quoted as saying. “I heard that the gang of four [of the Jiang faction], Bo, Zhou, Jia (Qinglin), and Li Changchun, have all been sacked.”

The Epoch Times, March 22, 2012
Financial Times, March 21, 2012
Apple Daily, March 21, 2012