07/07/2022, 13.23
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Xi Jinping's Fujian province rises to prominence

by Li Qiang

China’s president is promoting allies from one of his political fiefdoms to the highest offices of the state. Wang Xiaohong is now national security czar and can control Xi's rivals. The Fujian faction also has a foothold in the Central Military Commission. Their rise is however threatened by Xi's protégés in Zhejiang and those of Premier Li Keqiang.


Beijing (AsiaNews) – China’s southeastern province of Fujian is taking centre stage in the country’s politics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is promoting his political allies from this province, one of his two political fiefdoms (the other being Zhejiang), to the highest offices of the state ahead of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled for this fall.

The rise to power of Xi's Fujianese protégés also touches the high military spheres. The province has a strategic role in the supreme leader’s geopolitical calculations since right across its shores lies Taiwan, which Xi wants to reunify with the mainland at any costs.

The most significant promotion is that of Wang Xiaohong as Minister of Public Security. Until his recent appointment, Wang served as deputy in the same ministry. Before that he served as deputy mayor of Beijing, responsible for security.

Wang will oversee all police forces and intelligence services. In view of the power games that are preceding the 20th Congress, the presence of one of his associates in this role strengthens Xi's ability to exercise control. Now Wang will be able to monitor all of his mentor’s rivals in the Party.

Xi is coming to the congress a little weakened by the country's lacklustre economic performance over the past year. Analysts expect the president (who is also general secretary of the Party) to strike a deal with Premier Li Keqiang in order to get a third term in office, breaking the practice of serving two five-year terms at the helm of the country.

Since 2017, the Fujian faction close to Xi has had a man in a top position in the military. Another of the president’s protégés, Miao Hua, heads the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission (headed by Xi), which is responsible for the political and ideological education of officers and troops.

The military importance of Fujian province in Xi's plans is further highlighted by the fact that China’s latest aircraft carrier is named after it.

The Fujian is the People’s Liberation Army Navy third vessel of this type, and is considered to be of a higher capability than the other two (the Liaoning and the Shandong) and a central asset in any invasion of Taiwan.

However, as indicated by Nikkei Asia, it is not certain that the Fujian faction will succeed in placing its men in the two main institutions of power within the Party, namely the Central Committee and its standing committee (much more important and restricted to seven members).

In addition to the challenge launched by Li's Communist Youth, Xi will have to take into account his allies in Zhejiang, as well as the demands that come from the heads of the four autonomous municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin.


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