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China Reform Monitor - No. 1259

Pro-China groups rally in Hong Kong;
In ongoing reshuffle Xi populates more ministries with loyalists

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
December 7, 2016

November 7:

President Xi Jinping is further consolidating his power against rival Communist Party factions with the latest round of official reshuffling at the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Huang Shuxian, a deputy at China's anti-graft watchdog serving under Xi ally Wang Qishan, is now Minister of Civil Affairs. "The Ministry of Civil Affairs has always been considered the powerbase of the Tuanpai," 
Ming Pao reports, referring to the clique led by former President Hu Jintao. "The ministry's past three top officials - Doje Cering, Li Xueju and Li Liguo were all members of Hu's clique." 

November 8:

China’s new Minister of State Security Chen Wenqing will remodel the state security ministry after the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. "The reshaped ministry will specialize on counter-espionage and intelligence gathering. It will no longer be involved in domestic politics,"
 the Apple Daily reports. Under the influence and instructions of now-disgraced minister Zhou Yongkang the ministry had been used to spy on Chinese officials. "Chen has helped in Wang Qishan’s anti-corruption campaign and is trusted by Xi Jinping and Wang. He was appointed into state security to 'rectify' the influence of jailed former security chief Zhou Yongkang," the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

November 13:

More than 40,000 people took part in a pro-Beijing rally in Hong Kong, including many high-profile pro-Beijing political figures and the city's delegates to the National People's Congress (NPC). Speakers at the rally reiterated support for Beijing’s decision to bar two pro-independence members after they intentionally mocked their oaths of office. The Apple Daily reports that participants were paid between 38 to 77 Hong Kong dollars to cover "transportation costs." The pro-Beijing group Federation of Trade Unions organized coach services to take the protesters to the rally site, Ming Pao reports. The pro-Beijing Wen Wei Popublished an editorial arguing: "Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents have voiced their objection to the independence movement and support for the NPC's intervention in the rally. This shows the overwhelming views in Hong Kong supporting the NPC's decisive move which has helped Hong Kong put a stop to the chaos. 'Hong Kong independence' is like a rat crossing the street - anyone that sees it will step up and chase it away." 

November 14:

Beijing’s top man in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, has launched a blistering attack on Hong Kong separatism. Zhang, the Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government, upped the ante in the controversy over the Legislative Council oath-taking saga by accusing pro-independence lawmakers of “blasphemy” against the oaths and of treating the Hong Kong community like ¬“idiots.” Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying also warned that his government would not allow ¬independence advocates to “appear in the city’s political system,” including the Legislative Council and civil service, or to spread their ideas in schools,
 the South China Morning Post reports.

November 16:

Some Beijing residents have cast their votes for new delegates to the local people's congress. Independent papers have questioned the polls, while the official press has proudly reported the election. The 
cover of the People’s Daily included a photo of smiling President Xi Jinping's casting a vote in a local polling booth. Xi was quoted as saying that the government must guarantee the people's right to vote, but that elections must "uphold the party's leadership." Ming Pao described the local elections as "universal suffrage with Chinese characteristics." "Unlike elections in the West, you won't see candidates rallying for support or debating each other in most constituencies. This is a style of election under the leadership of the Chinese Communists." The security services are investigating dozens of independent candidates who are not party members, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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