Grumbling mounts in China, even in the party. Is President Xi losing his grip?
BEIJING — A series of extraordinary outbursts of public criticism of Chinese President Xi Jinping in recent weeks has raised the question of whether his crackdown on dissent is backfiring. The sniping has come from the highest levels of the business community and the media, but most tellingly from within the Communist Party itself.
At its core is a growing unhappiness with Xi’s attempts to centralize power and crush dissent, both within the party and outside.
No one is predicting that China’s president is about to be toppled or even that he is about to change course. More likely is that Xi will be so preoccupied with internal politics that he continues to shy away from the painful changes needed to resuscitate China’s slowing economy. He may also continue to take policy in a more nationalist direction to bolster his support.
One criticism, reported by The Washington Post this month, came in the form of a letter by “loyal Communist Party members” calling on China’s president to resign for gathering too much power into his own hands and provoking a series of political, economic, ideological and cultural crises.
But a second essay was equally explosive — because it was posted on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the anti-corruption body that has been at the center of Xi’s efforts to reform the party, eliminate rivals and crush internal dissent.