Home / WORLD NEWS / Xi curbs disloyalty as Communist party expels former rising star | World news

Xi curbs disloyalty as Communist party expels former rising star | World news

China’s Communist party has expelled from its ranks a former contender for a top leadership post for “serious discipline violations” before a major congress due to consolidate President Xi Jinping’s power.

Politburo member Sun Zhengcai was also dismissed from public office after the political bureau of the party’s central committee approved an investigative report, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The party accused Sun of abusing his position, receiving money and gifts in return for seeking benefits for others and trading power for sex. He was also accused of nepotism, sloth and leaking confidential party information and betraying party principles.

“Sun Zhengcai’s major problem was not corruption or womanising but failure to profess full loyalty to Xi Jinping,” said China expert Willy Lam, noting that the investigation was concluded unusually fast compared to similar cases.

“This is a warning that Xi sends to his enemies, that if you do not profess allegiance to me, you may suffer the same fate as Sun Zhengcai,” said Lam, politics professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Sun had also been under investigation by the Communist party’s anti-corruption watchdog.

He had already been sacked as party chief in the major south-west city of Chongqing in July, a move that was seen as having implications for the party’s twice-a-decade congress, which starts on 18 October.

Sun was replaced in the city by Chen Miner, a former Xi aide whose profile was elevated by the move.

At the congress, Xi is expected to secure a second five-year term as party chief and cement his position as the most powerful Chinese leader in a generation.

At 53, Sun was the youngest member of the 25-member politburo.

He had once been tipped for promotion to the politburo’s seven-member standing committee, the elite group of politicians who run the world’s second largest economy.

Sun was even seen in some quarters as Xi’s potential successor. He was the first serving member of the Politburo to be placed under investigation since Bo Xilai, also a former Chongqing party chief who was jailed for life in 2013 after Xi’s anti-corruption campaign.

As the country’s fourth-largest city and an industrial metropolis in the south-west of the country, Chongqing is a major post for ambitious politicians.

Bo was rumoured to be part of a network plotting to stop Xi from assuming control of the party in 2012, and Sun was tasked with erasing Bo’s influence on the city. But in February party discipline inspectors publicly rebuked Sun for failing to get the job done, leaving his future in question.

His successor, Chen, first worked with Xi in 2002, when the latter became party chief of the eastern province of Zhejiang.

His career took off after Xi became the party’s general secretary at the last congress in 2012. Chen became governor of the south-western province of Guizhou in 2013, adding the title of provincial party secretary in 2015.

Xinhua said 2,287 delegates were elected to attend the 19th Communist Party congress.

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