After China’s Wuhan pneumonia spread in 2019, Xi Jinping returned from a visit to Myanmar in January, and the Communist Party leader did not visit abroad again. It was not until September this year, after the Beidaihe meeting, that he visited abroad again. Although the troops were divided into two groups, the focus was on Russia. One was led by Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and the No. 3 figure in the CPC, who visited Russia and South Korea, while the second was led by Xi Jinping, who visited the Kazakh Republic and then went to Uzbekistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Conference summit and meet with Putin. Both routes are related to Russia, indicating that China is also focusing its diplomatic efforts on top of China-Russia relations.
People are focused on Xi Jinping, but ignore the fact that Li Zhanshu’s visit to Russia made a big leak that affected the meeting between Xi and Putin later.
According to Xinhua’s report, Li Zhanshu did not talk about Ukraine, either with the head of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) or with Putin, but only mentioned that he was willing to continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation with the Russian State Duma and Federation Council, and thanked Russia for “its firm support on the Taiwan issue. He also mentioned that the Duma leader condemned U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “visit to Taiwan”.
However, on the eve of Xi Jinping’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 15, Li Zhanshu’s statements in support of Russia during his visit to the Russian State Duma on the Russo-Ukrainian war, especially his remarks that China had “given support from different sides,” came to light, first in text on the State Duma’s official website, and then in video footage, so China can’t get away with it. Obviously, this is Putin’s way of making Xi Jinping look bad.
After Xi Jinping promised to cooperate with Putin in the Winter Olympics without any limit, he encouraged Putin to invade Ukraine, and then when he saw that something was wrong, he retreated and claimed that there was a bottom line for cooperation. This is the Chinese Communist Party’s shameless style of speculation and lack of integrity. This time, Li Zhanshu’s talk said good words of support to his face, and then deleted the supportive remarks when it was officially announced. Apparently this style has made Putin intolerable, and the release of the film forced Xi Jinping to tie himself to the Russian chariot without a way out.
Putin’s move not only embarrassed Xi Jinping, but also disgraced the Chinese Communist Party. The meeting in Beidaihe was supposed to correct the deflection and ease relations with the West, but now it’s all gone. Li Zhanshu was Xi’s trusted deputy when he came to power, and his speech was of course at Xi’s behest, while other key members of the CCP naturally held Xi accountable. Therefore, Xi Jinping and Putin did not dare to support Russia again when they met in Uzbekistan and said they would remain neutral in the Russo-Ukrainian war. Surprisingly, Putin also openly expressed his understanding of Xi’s position, and presumably Xi Jinping had hinted to him about his plight at home. However, the communication between Xi and Putin has to go through an interpreter, and any improper communication will be caught.
Perhaps this is related, perhaps not, but in any case Xi abruptly bailed out of the SCO summit dinner. Rumor has it that Song Ping, the only remaining member of the “Red Generation,” intervened to replace the Beijing Guardian Force, and the news reached Xi Jinping, who immediately rushed back to deal with it. The situation in Beijing is so confusing that it is impossible to confirm that Xi has been placed under house arrest. However, Admiral Li Qiaoming, the commander of the Northern Theater of Operations, who was confirmed to have been removed from his post in early September, made another appearance on September 21, but Xi Jinping never showed up again after he returned to Beijing, was it just an anti-epidemic quarantine? The political situation in Beijing has indeed changed. Many overseas China watchers are still convinced that Xi Jinping is in power.
As for the truth, the first step is to see if a Politburo meeting will be held at the end of September, if Xi Jinping will chair it, and if there are any images; then what will happen on China’s National Day on Oct. 1, and finally the 7th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee on Oct. 9, the eve of the 20th CPC National Congress. Even the situation has changed, the Chinese Communist Party still want to take a gradual and legal form, to avoid the “coup d’état” said.