China's Political Struggle Is Widening, And The Country's Top Security Tsar Could Be The Next To Fall

Zhou Yongkang China

Photo: AP

Multiple sources following the Bo Xilai scandal and subsequent fallout have pointed towards a new target in investigations — Zhou Yongkang, the head of the domestic security apparatus.Perhaps the most damning report appeared in the Epoch Times, a newspaper founded by Falun Gong members and frequently critical of Communist party. The paper reports that the top leaders of the Party are currently split over how to publicly deal with Zhou, after an investigation reportedly started in March.

A Beijing source told the paper that Zhou’s crimes against Falun Gong members were thought to be the source of the investigation — with crimes of torture and even murdering members for their organs reported. Bo and Zhou were alleged to both be associated with a group who rose through the Party ranks with harsh crackdowns on Falun Gong members — and despite the fact their crimes had long been known, they are now under threat in power struggle.

Zhou is senior within the party than Bo is, leading the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC) and working as one of the nine members of Politburo Standing Committee — the top of China’s political ladder.

However, if reports are to believed, even Premier Wen Jiabao is pushing for his ousting.

Alleged insider accounts suggest that Bo is now blaming his actions on Zhou, NTD television reports. They had reportedly been plotting a smear campaign against future Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Zhou is reportedly capitulating. The AP cites rumours on the US-based Boxun website that suggest Zhou has made “tearful self-criticisms” to President Hu Jintao and former leader Jiang Zemin, his political mentor. A new report in the Epoch Times suggests that the Politboro Standing Committee may now be reduced to 7 members.

Confused yet? We certainly are. Ascertaining exactly what is going on during this entire thing is a nightmare given the opaque nature of Chinese officialdom. But regardless, it really does look like the Neil Heywood death may be a sideshow to what’s really happening.

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