04/27/2021, 17.53
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Vice President Wang Qishan’s former right-hand man arrested

Dong Hong is accused of taking bribes when he was as anti-corruption inspector under Wang. Xi Jinping appears to be wiping the slate clean for new appointments. Rumours are growing about a possible showdown between the Chinese president and his VP. Signs of discord appear at the Boao Forum.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Monday indicted Dong Hong on corruption charges, China’s official state-run press agency Xinhua reported.

Dong, a close associate of Vice President Wang Qishan, came under investigation by the National Supervisory Commission in October 2020.

He was taken into custody yesterday on suspicion of taking bribes during his time as a senior member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection between 2012 and 2017. The latter was chaired at the time by Wang Qishan.

The 67-year-old Dong was once the secretary of Bo Yibo, a veteran Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official and father of disgraced former Chongqing leader Bo Xilai, who is now in prison.

The former anti-corruption inspector began to work with Wang in 1998, but on 13 April, he was expelled from the CCP for using his position to benefit business people in exchange of money and other gifts.

The charges against Dong include indulging in extravagance by “frequenting private clubs and attending banquets”, which might have compromised his work.

Some observers note that the accusations suggest that Dong might have helped some officials get a promotion and leaked information to local officials under investigation in order to muddy the waters.

Other analysts believe that Xi Jinping is wiping the slate clean for new appointments at the Party congress next year.

Some speculate that Dong’s downfall might even be part of a power struggle between Wang and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According Cai Xia, a retired professor from the Central party School, opposition to Xi inside the party grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has frightened the president, who is also CCP general secretary.

Fearing the loss of power, China's supreme leader Xi appears to have stepped up a crackdown against anyone inside and outside the party that might threaten his hold.

To this end, he is distancing himself from an old ally like Wang, considered by many in the Party as the regime’s most capable leader.

Signs of discord are said to have appeared on 20 April during the opening ceremony of the Boao Economic Forum, the “Chinese Davos”.

Called to the stage before Xi's speech, Wang made it clear that he would not give a speech, noting that he was there only as a “temporary host” to announce Xi’s address.

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