Loyal Party Members Urge Xi’s Resignation

’s efforts to maintain ideological conformity in the Party and the nation have recently met with opposition. After the president emphasized government control of the media with a visit to top state media outlets where he stressed that news must “speak for the Party,” famously outspoken commentator Ren Zhiqiang responded by posting to his Weibo account that state media should first speak for those who fund it: the people (Ren’s comment was answered with a banishment from Chinese social media platforms). After Caixin Media found an article in state censor’s crosshairs for quoting CPPCC delegate Jiang Hong on a lack of freedom to offer unrestrained suggestions at top political meetings, they pushed back with an English article on the original article’s deletion (which too was quickly removed from the Internet). Last week, a Xinhua employee posted an open letter denouncing the increasingly tight media constraints for “triggering tremendous fear and outrage among the public” (the letter, unsurprisingly, didn’t remain online for long).

An even more brazen act of resistance to the control of public and Party opinion was an open letter calling for Xi Jinping’s resignation from all state and Party leadership positions, posted to state-linked Wujie News website on March 4, the day that the annual “Two Sessions” political meetings began in Beijing. Signed by a group of “loyal Party members,” the letter blames Xi for an atmosphere of political, economic, ideological, and cultural anxiety currently sweeping China, and mentions that the “personal safety” of the president and his family could be in jeopardy if he does not comply. CDT has translated the letter below. For more context on the letter, see coverage from The Washington Post’s Emily Rauhala and Xu Yangjingjing.

[Updated at 15:25 PST on March 16, 2016 Several search term combinations related to the letter and calls for Xi’s resignation are now blocked from Weibo results.]

Loyal Party Members Urge Xi Jinping to Resign in Open Letter

Hello Comrade Xi Jinping,

We are loyal Communist Party members. On the occasion of the national “Two Sessions,” we write this letter asking you to resign from all Party and state leadership positions. We make this request out of consideration for the Party cause, out of consideration for the nation and its people—and also out of consideration for your personal safety and that of your family.

Comrade Xi Jinping, since your election as General Secretary at the Party’s 18th National Congress, your determination to fight corruption by “beating tigers” has led to some improvement in the unhealthy tendency of internal Party corruption. Your personal leadership on several Central Leading Groups working towards comprehensive reform, as well as the great amount of work you’ve made on economic development, has received some public support, and these efforts have not been unnoticed by us.  

However, Comrade Xi Jinping, we have no choice but to point out that, precisely due to your gathering of all power into your own hands and making decisions directly, we are now facing unprecedented problems and crises in all political, economic, ideological, and cultural spheres.

In the political sphere, your abandonment of important Party tradition, including most significantly the abandonment of the democratic system of the collective leadership of the Standing Committee, instead having all leaders at all levels support your position at the “core,” has resulted in an excessive concentration of power. While strengthening the power of the Party Committees within the NPC, CPPCC, and the State Council, you’ve weakened the independent power of all state organs, including that of Premier Li Keqiang and others. Meanwhile, the stationing of Central Disciplinary Inspection Commission patrols in work units and state-owned enterprises has created a new system of power, leading to a lack of clarity at all levels of government, and confusing the decision-making process.

In the diplomatic sphere, your abandonment of Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s consistent “hide your strength and bide your time” policy, has not only failed to create a favorable international environment, but has allowed North Korea to complete successful nuclear tests, creating an enormous threat to China’s national security; has allowed the United States’ successful return to Asia,  forming a united front with South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Southeast Asian countries to jointly contain China. In handling the Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan problems, lack of compliance with Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s wise concept of “one country, two systems” has created a further dilemma, allowing the Democratic Progressive Party to win power in Taiwan and letting sentiment of Hong Kong independence to rise. Of particular concern regarding Hong Kong, the irregular manner of bringing booksellers to the mainland has directly injured the “one country, two systems” policy.  

In the economic sphere, as the head of the Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, your direct involvement in the development of micro- and macroeconomic policy has created instability in the stock market and property market, allowing the wealth of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to vanish. Supply side reforms and production capacity policies have resulted in large numbers of layoffs at state-owned firms; and the closing of private firms have also led to many layoffs. The “One Belt, One Road” initiative has put a huge amount of foreign exchange reserves into chaotic countries and regions with no return. The excessive consumption of foreign exchange reserves, and renminbi devaluation cycles, has made everyone’s confidence decline, has brought the national economy to the verge of collapse. People want change.

On the ideological sphere, your emphasis of the “Media’s Party surname,”  has disregarded the media’s character of representing the people, and the entire country is stunned; your support of Zhou Xiaoping and Hua Qianfang as representatives on the literary front has left countless literary and art workers in bitter disappointment; your direct condoning of cultural units to sing your praises, and the appointment of your wife Peng Liyuan’s sister as director and producer of the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, has turned the once popular Gala into your personal propaganda tool. Your condoning this cult of personality, disallowing “improper discussion” of the central government, and “one-voice Party” method, make those of us who experienced the Cultural Revolution unable to not secretly worry—our Party, country, and people cannot bear another decade of calamity!

Comrade Xi Jinping, your carrying out a high-pressure anti-corruption campaign to correct unhealthy tendencies in the Party has had a helpful effect, but, since there are no supporting measures or objectives, it has given rise to an abundance of “slackness” at all levels of government, with officials too afraid to work, discontent openly voiced by the people, and the deterioration of our economy exacerbated. We also see the main goal of the anti-corruption campaign to be merely a power struggle. We are worried  that this type of inner-Party power struggle may also bring risks to the personal safety of you and your family.

Consequently, Comrade Xi Jinping, we feel that you do not possess the capabilities to lead the Party and the nation into the future, and we believe that you are no longer suitable for the post of General Secretary. For the Party cause, for the long-term peace and stability of the country, and for your own personal safety and that of your family, we ask you to resign from all positions of Party and state leadership, and let the Party Central Committee and the people of the nation select a virtuous leader who can vigorously lead us into the future.

Loyal Communist Party Members

March, 2016 [Chinese]

[Updated at 15:25 PST on March 16, 2016 Several search term combinations related to the letter and calls for Xi’s resignation are now blocked from Weibo results.]