China’s brutal government crackdown
Chinese President Xi Jinping has issued a new round of purges targeting police and judicial sectors, as part of his ongoing "anti-corruption campaign".
A senior ally of the President's called for the purge last month, saying it was time to "turn the blade inwards and scrape the poison off the bone", the Wall Street Journal reported.
Within a week, at least 21 police and juridical officials were being investigated, with dozens more removed from their posts.
WHY IS XI DOING THIS?
Mr Xi has made sweeping political crackdowns a key feature of his rule, eliminating his main political rivals.
Dozens of officials have already been arrested, including at least one major police chief.
Mr Xi doesn't have to fight an election. In 2018 he abolished term limits, effectively allowing him to remain president for life.
However, he does need to continue to run campaigns to stay in power, and avoid a potential challenge for his leadership - particularly amid the coronavirus-ravaged economy and rising tensions with the United States.
This means purging anyone who could pose a serious threat to that power.
While proponents of the purges say they are based on anti-corruption work, China's leader is targeting political rivals to keep them from taking power away from him.
The WSJ revealed at least 21 police and judicial officials are under investigation, including cadres who seem to have performed well.
Shanghai police chief Gong Daoan is the most senior target to be pulled. He was accused of "serious violations of party discipline and law" - no accusations, favours being granted or charges of money changing hands.
Ever since he became China's leader in 2012, Mr Xi has overseen a massive anti-corruption drive with more than one million officials either disciplined or removed from their position.
It's a move that harks back to the Mao era, when former Chinese leader Mao Zedong led a Cultural Revolution in 1966 that saw many top officials purged and consolidated his control over the party.
During Mr Xi's first five years in office, 1.34 million officials were brought down over corruption, according to official data.
XI ACCUSED OF 'KILLING A COUNTRY'
A Chinese Communist Party insider has accused Xi Jinping of "killing a country" and making China an "enemy" of the world.
Cai Xia, a former professor at China's elite Central Party School who currently lives in the United States, told The Guardian that his leadership is an "obstacle" to China's progress.
"But those below are too afraid to tell him and wrong decisions continue to be made until the situation is out of control," she said in June. "In this vicious cycle, there is no way to stop the country from sliding towards disaster."
Ms Cai initially asked the paper not to publish her interview based on threats she and her family received, but backtracked earlier this week, saying: "I have much more freedom now. My speech is free from any constraints. I am responsible only for my own conscience and principles."
Ms Cai claimed there is widespread opposition inside Mr Xi's party, but few will risk speaking out due to corruption charges and purges such as the fresh round seen overnight.
She said Mr Xi's absolute control had led to several mistakes, including the mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak.
In February, it was revealed that Mr Xi had met with the Politburo on January 7 and gave instructions on how to handle the country's response to the pandemic. But it wasn't until January 20 that Chinese health officials announced the virus was contagious.
Ms Cai said Mr Xi should be held responsible for the outbreak, given he knew about the virus for nearly three weeks.
Originally published as China's brutal government crackdown