A few days before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP), the internal struggles between the factions fighting for power are ramping up. Xi Jinping’s side has just sentenced six members of the so-called “Sun Lijun political gang” to severe penalties. Three others, including the leader Sun Lijun, received suspended death sentences.

Chinese regime propaganda media reports indicate that Sun Lijun, the former deputy minister of public security, and the two others (Fu Zhenghua and Wang Like) were sentenced to death for resisting Xi Jinping’s authority. It also serves as a clear warning against opposition forces within the Party attempting to overthrow Xi’s position. 

The secretary of the CCP Committee, Wang Xiaohong, emphasized a few months ago the need to “purify” the political ecology and eliminate the influence of dissident politicians, especially Sun Lijun’s group. Wang even formed a particular group to stop Sun’s political accomplices.

Now, Wang’s announcement seems to be coming true, and a new political purge is underway.

Who is Sun Lijun?

Sun Lijun is a former politician and police officer of the Chinese Communist regime. He was also director of the Ministry of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan Affairs and deputy director of the 610 Office, prosecuting practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline.

As early as April 2020, the Chinese authorities announced that Sun Lijun was under investigation.

Then, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Control (CCDI) ruling, Sun Lijun was expelled on public security grounds. He was accused of forming an interest group, cultivating personal power, storing a private cache of confidential materials, and forming cliques with many followers to take over a critical department.

Sun graduated from the State University of New South Wales in Australia after completing his studies in Public Health. There he developed overseas connections that served to enhance his power within China. He then developed as a CCP civil servant and, from March 2020, was part of a central regime steering group to coordinate the response to the pandemic after it broke out in late 2019.

As usual, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not very clear in reporting certain issues, such as the causes that led to the imprisonment of its opponents. Instead, it usually uses general and abstract charges such as “danger to public security,” “undermining stability,” and the like.

The CCP has always sought to hide its internal disputes and demonstrate a supposedly insurmountable unity to the world. In this sense, historically, the different leaders have eliminated their dissidents within the Party using all kinds of legal and illegal strategies to prevent any opposition from prospering. 

Sentences become effective

On September 23, Sun Lijun received a suspended death sentence. Fu Zhenghua (former justice minister) and Wang Like, both Sun’s close associates, met the same fate on charges of corruption and accepting bribes.

They were joined by six other gang members who received prison sentences and heavy fines.

Sun was expelled from the CCP and dismissed from his post for alleged serious disciplinary violations and “not respecting Party laws,” reported the official media Global Times.

Now the court sentenced him to death and issued a heavy financial penalty. Still, finding that he confessed to his crimes and offered assistance for other corruption cases, the court issued a two-year suspended sentence.

Fu, who also pleaded guilty in July to accepting $14.7 million (117 million yuan) in gifts and money for personal benefit, was handed a death sentence by a Changchun court on Thursday last week, which will be commuted to life imprisonment after two years.

As reported by national media, the fight against corruption is part of a major political dispute, and punishing Sun Lijun’s gang is Xi’s “firm determination to punish corruption.” The official information states that the current situation regarding corruption is serious and complex while warning of the need to unite closely around “Xi’s core” to ensure the normal conduct of the 20th CPC National Congress.

Purge comes amid rumors of a coup attempt against Xi Jinping

During the last few days, several foreign media and political analysts have been paying attention to “coup rumors” in China against Xi Jinping. While no one has presented evidence to confirm that such a thing has happened, there seems to be a certainty that “something strange” is going on.

“Something is up” with China and its President Xi Jinping, but “we don’t know what it is,” retired Air Force Brigadier General Blaine Holt alerted Newsmax last Sunday, responding to rumors of a coup attempt.

Holt noted that Xi Jinping and his delegation were at a head of state council meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan. Then, suddenly during the closing banquet, they got up and left without further explanation. 

It later transpired that they rushed to the airport and immediately returned to China. Just 24 hours later, rumors began to circulate that there had been a coup against Xi, and some even claimed that he was under house arrest.

According to Holt, another issue that attracted attention is that almost 8,000 commercial flights were suspended during the last hours, which triggered rumors on Wechat and other Chinese social networks about a possible coup d’état.

With the war unleashed against the opposing faction and the recent arrests and death sentences against its leaders, there is every reason to affirm that the rumors about a coup attempt against Xi could be true. 

Is there any certainty that such a thing has happened? No, not at all, but neither Xi nor any ruling elite has denied the strong rumors, which means that they will inevitably continue to spread. 

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