Recently, China’s rubber stamp National People’s Congress (NPC) delivered the deathblow to hopes for full democracy in Hong Kong. Despite promising universal suffrage by 2017, the NPC ruled that nominees for Hong Kong’s chief executive must be preapproved by the Communist Party.
That’s like telling a flock of sheep they get to choose whether a wolf or a dingo watches over them.
But why now? On Aug. 19, the Wall Street Journal reported that, “according to people familiar with the matter,” the NPC would announce a decision at the end of August regarding Hong Kong’s right to vote. So the exact date of the decision wasn’t set that much beforehand. It’s easy to say the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) never planned to let Hong Kong vote without restrictions, but still, why was this announced now?
But what if this isn’t really about Hong Kong. What if this is really about rival factions within the CCP?
You can’t think of the Party as this single entity stopping at nothing to feed itself. The Party is actually badly divided between rival factions. Current Chinese leader Xi Jinping has his greatest political opponent in former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and his faction. The hallmark of Xi’s quote-unquote presidency has been a quote-unquote anti-corruption campaign. It just so happens that most of the biggest players taken out by it have been a part of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin’s faction.
For the past year, Xi has been taking out everyone close to Jiang Zemin. The biggest tiger to take the fall so far has been former head honcho of China’s domestic security network, Zhou Yongkang. Epoch Times has reported that Zhou had even tried to assassinate Xi Jinping. Zhou was placed under official investigation just last month.