CHINA ELITE SKIRT CRACK­DOWN

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

The anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign of Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping tar­get­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and mil­i­tary of­fi­cers is no­table for not tar­get­ing “princelings” — the priv­i­leged off­spring of Com­mu­nist Party el­ders and mil­i­tary lead­ers.

That is the con­clu­sion of an U.S. in­tel­li­gence anal­y­sis that re­veals the elite princelings are flour­ish­ing un­der Mr. Xi, the lead­ing mem­ber of those known in China as “Sec­ond Gen­er­a­tion Reds.”

Since tak­ing power as Com­mu­nist Party gen­eral sec­re­tary two years ago, Mr. Xi has taken down some 50 se­nior of­fi­cials and thou­sands of lower-rank­ing of­fi­cials in the cam­paign.

The two most se­nior of­fi­cials axed for cor­rup­tion — called “tigers” be­cause of their high ranks — were Zhou Yongkang, the party’s se­cu­rity czar and a mem­ber of the seven-per­son col­lec­tive dic­ta­tor­ship that rules China, and Gen. Xu Cai­hou, a for­mer vice chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, the most pow­er­ful or­gan within the com­mu­nist sys­tem.

How­ever, nei­ther of the two of­fi­cials was part of the princeling fac­tion now in charge. Only Bo Xi­lai, the party chief in Chongqing who was ousted in 2012 in a ma­jor cor­rup­tion scan­dal, is a princeling.

The dis­par­ity be­tween princelings and non-princelings caught up in the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign was not lost on Chi­nese In­ter­net com­men­ta­tors.

A tally of cor­rup­tion tar­gets posted on the popular mi­croblog­ging site QQ Weibo stated that no princelings were among the 842 of­fi­cials ar­rested in the first half of this year. Also, the 54 of­fi­cials who died of un­nat­u­ral causes from Jan­uary 2013 to April 2014 were all of hum­ble ori­gin.

The se­lec­tive crack­down prompted one In­ter­net user to post a pic­ture of Mr. Zhou with the com­ment: “Cor­rupt of­fi­cials all hail from lowly classes and the Sec­ond Gen­er­a­tion Reds are all per­fect men.”

Another blog­ger said the anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign will fail if it “turns out to be a case of Sec­ond Gen­er­a­tion Reds clear­ing out their do­mes­tic slaves.”

A third post praised the down­fall of Mr. Zhou and Mr. Xu, but asked: “What about the nu­mer­ous tigers with a rev­o­lu­tion­ary back­ground?”

A blog­ger iden­ti­fied by the han­dle Pris­on­ers of Huaxia wrote that the an­ticor­rup­tion cam­paign ap­pears fruit­less be­cause the princelings re­gard China as a “fam­ily as­set” for China’s com­mu­nist lead­ers and their rel­a­tives to gain riches.

To bol­ster his cam­paign and pre­vent po­lit­i­cal and other snip­ing from non­princelings within the regime, Mr. Xi last month picked two gen­er­als, Liu Yuan and Zhang Youxia, for pro­mo­tion to the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sions, the South China Morn­ing Post re­ported.

Both gen­er­als are the off­spring of party el­ders and close as­so­ciates of Mr. Xi.

Con­tact Bill Gertz on Twit­ter at @Bil­lGertz.

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