Rumors are circulating in Chinese social media platforms that President Xi Jinping, who is under fire for his draconian Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns, will step down from power.
These rumors stemmed from a recent meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee, the collective leadership group that rules China. They were apparently started by Canadian-based blogger Lao Deng through a Chinese-language video that he posted on YouTube.
In the video, the blogger said a source from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) revealed that there is a planned coup against Xi at the meeting of the senior party leaders. He also said that Xi was forced to step aside, but will stay in place until a major party meeting later this year. According to Lao, Premier Li Keqiang will take over the daily management of the party and the Chinese government.
Other reports mentioned that in a meeting presided by Xi on Thursday, May 12, the Politburo Standing Committee vowed to “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ and resolutely fight against any words and acts that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies.”
This is the first time that Xi made an important speech at the meeting, where he addressed China’s battle against COVID since the public erupted over the harsh lockdowns in Shanghai.
“Our prevention and control strategy is determined by the party’s nature and mission, our policies can stand the test of history, our measures are scientific and effective,” the seven-member committee said in a statement. “We have won the battle to defend Wuhan, and we will certainly be able to win the battle to defend Shanghai.”
However, the frequent lockdowns to continue the “zero-COVID” strategy has been fueling public discontent and giving a devastating blow to the Chinese economy.
Shanghai residents can be seen protesting from their windows, banging pots and pans and shouting in frustration. There are others that clashed with police and health workers in the streets, which is a rare scene in a country that suppresses dissent. (Related: Beijing lashes out against its own population using authoritarian measures amid coronavirus resurgence.)
Chinese government doubles down on lockdown approach, internal pushback seen against Xi’s policies
The latest statement from China’s top leaders has made it clear that the government is doubling down on its approach of relying on swift lockdowns, mass testing and quarantines to mitigate the highly transmissible omicron variant for the foreseeable future.
Xi himself has “personally commanded and made arrangements” for the country’s fight against the disease.
Analysts who have observed Chinese politics would see the stern warning as a sign that there had been pushbacks against Xi’s policies within the party.
David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project, noted: “This language should be read as a direct criticism of unspecified local CCP leaders who have questioned the policies at the center, or who have been insufficiently successful in applying them.”
Moreover, the grave economic fallout has drawn concerns from economists and business executives, especially considering Shanghai’s role as the country’s leading financial center and a major manufacturing and shipping hub.
Economists have predicted a worsening economic situation, with one projecting that it would cost the country $267 billion, or 1.5 percent of its 2021 GDP, by the end of the year if every tier-1 city employs the thrice-weekly mandatory testing.
Beijing authorities have so far resisted a citywide lockdown. However, the Chinese capital has imposed movement and transport restrictions, activity and venue shutdowns and lockdowns in individual residential compounds. (Related: Shanghai residents rush to stock up as Chinese officials place half the city under strict COVID-19 lockdown.)
Follow CommunistChina.news for more information about China’s draconian lockdowns and restrictions.
Watch the video below to know more about the troubles Beijing is facing amid the omicron surge.
This video is from the channel The HighWire with Del Bigree on Brighteon.com.
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