Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Political Risk Watch: State Media Commentary Reveals Real Target of China’s Anti-Mafia Campaign

◎ Officials in the domestic security and legal apparatus are the “protective umbrellas” that Xi is aiming at with his anti-organized crime campaign.

On Jan. 31, state mouthpiece Xinhua ran a commentary on the anti-organized campaign which the Xi Jinping administration recently launched.

The commentary, titled “To Sweep Black, ‘Umbrellas’ Must be Eliminated,” opens with the case of 29 Guangdong public security officials being punished for their collusion with local mafia. The final paragraph of the article borrows a line from Xi’s 19th Party Congress speech: “We must guard against and correct with resolve the practices the people oppose and resent.”

Commentaries by “Xin Shiping,” a homophone of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, first started appearing in Xinhua in March 2017. “Xin Shiping” writings are supposed to be representative of Xi’s views.

The backdrop:
Jan. 24: The CCP Central Committee and State Council issued a document to launch a “sweeping black” campaign against organized crime. Concurrently, Xinhua ran an article on how Xi’s “sweeping black” drive differs from an earlier “hitting black” campaign. State media starts giving publicity to the new campaign.

Jan. 30: Xinhua reports that 29 officials from the Guangdong Province Public Security Bureau were punished for serving as “protective umbrellas” to local criminal organizations.

Why it matters:
The “Xin Shiping” commentary piece makes it clear that officials in the domestic security and legal apparatus are the “protective umbrellas” that Xi is aiming at with his anti-organized crime campaign.

Our take:
1. In our Jan. 26 brief, we noted that the Xi administration’s latest campaign is aimed at tackling many problems that took root during the Jiang Zemin era, including malfeasance in grassroots governments and the security apparatus. The “Xin Shiping” commentary affirms our earlier analysis that Xi is using the opportunity of cleaning up local mafia to oust the remaining Jiang faction elements in the public security and legal apparatus.

2. In context of the commentary, the line, “we must guard against and correct with resolve the practices the people oppose and resent,” is a reference to the oppressive official-mafia networks that sprung up and were not curbed during the Jiang era. Reading between the lines, the commentary is holding Jiang Zemin responsible for the phenomenon of widespread official-mafia collusion and its impact on society.

In fact, Xi has already hinted at the 19th Congress that Jiang is culpable for the ills in today’s China. When Xi read out the line above during his three-hour speech, the televised broadcast immediately switched to the camera that was filming Jiang.

After the speech, Xi descended from his podium and went over to shake hands with Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. Hu and Xi were both in frame when they shook hands, but a staff worker happened to stand in the way of the camera when Jiang and Xi’s handshake was being televised, effectively “blocking” out Jiang from the frame.

3. We believe that the domestic security and legal apparatus (Political and Legal Affairs Commission, Public Security Bureau, courts and procuratorates, etc.) will undergo a great “cleansing” after the Two Sessions in March. The new National Supervisory Commission could ride the wave of the “cleansing” to prominence.

4. Given the need to maintain “guanxi” with officials when operating in China, Chinese and foreign businesses will very likely be affected to some degree by the anti-organized crime campaign. Big companies should pay attention to political risk in China and made advanced preparations.

Search past entries by date
“The breadth of SinoInsider’s insights—from economics through the military to governance, all underpinned by unparalleled reporting on the people in charge—is stunning. In my over fifty years of in-depth reading on the PRC, unclassified and classified, SinoInsider is in a class all by itself.”
James Newman, Former U.S. Navy cryptologist
“Unique insights are available frequently from the reports of Sinoinsider.”
Michael Pillsbury, Senior Fellow for China Strategy, The Heritage Foundation
“Thank you for your information and analysis. Very useful.”
Prof. Ravni Thakur, University of Delhi, India
“SinoInsider’s research has helped me with investing in or getting out of Chinese companies.”
Charles Nelson, Managing Director, Murdock Capital Partners
“I value SinoInsider because of its always brilliant articles touching on, to name just a few, CCP history, current trends, and factional politics. Its concise and incisive analysis — absent the cliches that dominate China policy discussions in DC and U.S. corporate boardrooms — also represents a major contribution to the history of our era by clearly defining the threat the CCP poses to American peace and prosperity and global stability. I am grateful to SinoInsider — long may it thrive!”
Lee Smith, Author and journalist
“Your publication insights tremendously help us complete our regular analysis on in-depth issues of major importance. ”
Ms. Nicoleta Buracinschi, Embassy of Romania to the People’s Republic of China
"I’m a very happy, satisfied subscriber to your service and all the deep information it provides to increase our understanding. SinoInsider is profoundly helping to alter the public landscape when it comes to the PRC."
James Newman, Former U.S. Navy cryptologist
“Prof. Ming’s information about the Sino-U.S. trade war is invaluable for us in Taiwan’s technology industry. Our company basically acted on Prof. Ming’s predictions and enlarged our scale and enriched our product lines. That allowed us to deal capably with larger orders from China in 2019. ”
Mr. Chiu, Realtek R&D Center
“I am following China’s growing involvement in the Middle East, seeking to gain a better understanding of China itself and the impact of domestic constraints on its foreign policy. I have found SinoInsider quite helpful in expanding my knowledge and enriching my understanding of the issues at stake.”
Ehud Yaari, Lafer International Fellow, The Washington Institute
“SinoInsider’s research on the CCP examines every detail in great depth and is a very valuable reference. Foreign researchers will find SinoInsider’s research helpful in understanding what is really going on with the CCP and China. ”
Baterdene, Researcher, The National Institute for Security Studies (Mongolian)
“The forecasts of Prof. Chu-cheng Ming and the SinoInsider team are an invaluable resource in guiding our news reporting direction and anticipating the next moves of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments.”
Chan Miu-ling, Radio Television Hong Kong China Team Deputy Leader
“SinoInsider always publishes interesting and provocative work on Chinese elite politics. It is very worthwhile to follow the work of SinoInsider to get their take on factional struggles in particular.”
Lee Jones, Reader in International Politics, Queen Mary University of London
“[SinoInsider has] been very useful in my class on American foreign policy because it contradicts the widely accepted argument that the U.S. should work cooperatively with China. And the whole point of the course is to expose students to conflicting approaches to contemporary major problems.”
Roy Licklider, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
“As a China-based journalist, SinoInsider is to me a very reliable source of information to understand deeply how the CCP works and learn more about the factional struggle and challenges that Xi Jinping may face. ”
Sebastien Ricci, AFP correspondent for China & Mongolia
“SinoInsider offers an interesting perspective on the Sino-U.S. trade war and North Korea. Their predictions are often accurate, which is definitely very helpful.”
Sebastien Ricci, AFP correspondent for China & Mongolia
“I have found SinoInsider to provide much greater depth and breadth of coverage with regard to developments in China. The subtlety of the descriptions of China's policy/political processes is absent from traditional media channels.”
John Lipsky, Peter G. Peterson Distinguished Scholar, Kissinger Center for Global Affairs
“My teaching at Cambridge and policy analysis for the UK audience have been informed by insights from your analyzes. ”
Dr Kun-Chin Lin, University Lecturer in Politics,
Deputy Director of the Centre for Geopolitics, Cambridge University
" SinoInsider's in-depth and nuanced analysis of Party dynamics is an excellent template to train future Sinologists with a clear understanding that what happens in the Party matters."
Stephen Nagy, Senior Associate Professor, International Christian University
“ I find Sinoinsider particularly helpful in instructing students about the complexities of Chinese politics and what elite competition means for the future of the US-China relationship.”
Howard Sanborn, Professor, Virginia Military Institute
“SinoInsider has been one of my most useful (and enjoyable) resources”
James Newman, Former U.S. Navy cryptologist
“Professor Ming and his team’s analyses of current affairs are very far-sighted and directionally accurate. In the present media environment where it is harder to distinguish between real and fake information, SinoInsider’s professional perspectives are much needed to make sense of a perilous and unpredictable world. ”
Liu Cheng-chuan, Professor Emeritus, National Chiayi University