CHINA ELITE SKIRT CRACKDOWN
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.