Several high-ranking members of the Communist Party of China plotted to seize power from President Xi Jinping, a top Chinese official has said, with the claim going against the ruling party’s efforts to portray a picture of unity at its ongoing national congress.
The party members involved in the plot have been arrested or jailed in a wide-reaching crackdown on corruption launched by Xi, who appears set for a second term.
On Thursday, the chief of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Liu Shiyu, listed names of six “high-ranking and powerful officials, who were hugely greedy and hugely corrupt, and who plotted to usurp the party’s leadership and seize state power”, BBC reported.
“These cases were definitely shocking,” Liu was quoted as saying while speaking at a panel for the Communist Party congress.
He said Xi “addressed these problems, and eliminated a huge and hidden danger to the party and the country”.
Among the six were key leaders whose downfall had attracted scrutiny, such as former security chief Zhou Yongkang, politician Bo Xilai, and Sun Zhengcai, a member of the Politburo who was recently expelled.
The other names in the list were former presidential aide Ling Jihua, late general Xu Caihou and former military officer Guo Boxiong.
It was not clear whether Liu was referring to a coordinated plot or separate attempts at a takeover.
Xi’s detractors have noted that the anti-graft crackdown was used as a pretext to purge the powerful president’s opponents and to consolidate power.
More than one million officials have been jailed or arrested in the crackdown which began soon after Xi took over in 2012. It has since become one of the centrepieces of his regime.
In the past, Xi has denied claims of a “power struggle” within the Communist Party but Liu’s remarks are sure to ignite a fresh debate about power struggles.