26 June 2015
The staging of China’s former security czar Zhou Yongkang’s secret trial last month suggests schisms in the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party. Crucially, it is a clear sign that further arrests of other ‘big tigers’ within the Party’s top leadership will be unlikely for the foreseeable future.
The muted announcement by China’s state media a fortnight ago that the former security czar, Zhou Yongkang, had been tried behind closed doors and sentenced to life imprisonment has raised more questions about the sustainability of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. Does the fact that the trial was held behind closed doors indicate schisms in the upper echelons of the CCP? Is the life sentence – rather than the widely anticipated suspended death penalty – an indication that the CCP’s crackdown on graft is about to end with a whimper?
While the Communist regime has reasserted its ability to stay on top of matters yet again, its decision to choreograph proceedings behind the scenes – reportedly carried out on the 22nd of May – has led to speculation over what might have led to the unexpected verdict. Indeed, the life sentence handed out by the Tianjin People’s Intermediate Court on the former Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) member carries great significance, and has also cast doubts on the CCP’s proclamations of combating endemic official malfeasance.
… James Char is a Research Analyst with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015