The President of China is looking for the authors of a mysterious editorial published earlier this month, accusing him of becoming an authoritarian and turning his back on the Communist Party.
That means people are disappearing.
The FT reports:
On Friday Wen Yunchao, a New York-based human rights campaigner, said three of his family members had been detained by police in China after he was accused of helping publish the letter — a claim he denies.
That follows the disappearance 10 days ago of a well-known columnist called Jia Jia who, according to his lawyer, was also suspected of involvement with the letter, and the reported vanishing of several journalists from a little-known state-controlled Chinese news website that originally published it.
Late on Friday it emerged that Mr Jia had now been released, and had been seen by his wife.
The editorial was published by Wujie News, a media outlet located in Xinjiang, a province in Western China. It’s a province known for its Muslim Uygher population and their contentious relationship with China’s Han majority.
It said that Xi was hurting the country — that because he had become an authoritarian, hoarding power that used to be dispersed throughout the party more equally, China is “now facing unprecedented problems and crises in all political, economic, ideological, and cultural spheres.”
It should also be noted that this was written shortly after the Chinese government unveiled a bunch of new restrictions on the media. The editorial was taken down, but a cached version was found by the Washington Post.
The new restrictions, by the way, sound like this. From Xinhua News:
All news media run by the Party must work to speak for the Party’s will and its propositions and protect the Party’s authority and unity, Xi said.
They should enhance their awareness to align their ideology, political thinking and deeds to those of the CPC Central Committee and help fashion the Party’s theories and policies into conscious action by the general public while providing spiritual enrichment to the people, he said.
Pretty much all media in China is party media too, which is what makes the fact that this editorial was even published so incredible. According to the Washington Post, Wujie News is jointly owned by SEEC Media Group, Alibaba and the government of Xinjiang.