Despite calls for his ouster, it seems Zhou Yongkang won’t be leaving the Politburo Standing Committee anytime soon. He is believed to be a lone supporter of ousted Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai. Rumors that Bo and Zhou were plotting a coup spread on Weibo in March; as apparent punishment, the central government forced Sina and Tencent Weibo to suspend the comment function for three days in late March.
As Secretary of the Central Political and Legislative Committee, Zhou oversees a broad range of public security apparatuses, from police enforcement to labor re-education. This year’s national public security budget surpasses that of defense spending.
Zhou was in charge of the “Clean the Web Campaign” (清网行动) to scour the Internet for criminal suspects between May and December 2011. He alluded to that campaign this April:
SouthernMetropolisDaily: Zhou Yongkang: Public Security Maintains Conformity with the Party center from Beginning to End: During an April 6 discussion of the “Clean the Web Campaign,” Zhou Yongkang expressed that public security is a blameless shield for the country. “The Party and the people thank you.” He stressed that “what the masses most abhor, we will attack; what the masses most loudly make known, we will tame.” In addition, public security must “maintain conformity with the Party center from beginning to end.” People’s Daily
When this screenshot was taken in April, the post on Southern Metropolis Daily’s Weibo account had been forwarded 2,179 times and commented on 1,254 times. As of June 13, there are 2,917 forwards, but only 11 comments. From the selection of comments below, it’s easy to see why so many disappeared. Still, a few telling remarks been left, such as this one from May 31:
TravelingDoctor: Supposing the masses most abhor the central government, what will Public Security do? “What the masses most abhor, we will attack” or “maintain conformity with the Party center from beginning to end?” Please respond!
JadeMama: Recently, it seems like in every piece of news you see this sentence: Maintain conformity with the Party.
HuaiRiverEastBarbarian: Do the Party and the people include me? I don’t have a f*cking vote, and I can’t open my own mouth. Like f*ck I’ve been represented by you.
xuyichao: You carry guns everyday. Do the masses dare say what they abhor?
_QiJY: What if we abhorred the Party?
LoveVienna: Just like a bunch of gangsters.
MiTuLiuJingWen: Why keep stressing conformity these days? Haven’t things always conformed?
Charlescc0574: Before there was one rumor after another. These days you are suddenly so animated. Is it that the more you try to hide, the more you expose?
HappyYilan: Is it the Party or the masses [that matter] after all? Don’t you think you’re contradicting yourself? Shouting a slogan, can’t you put a little effort into thinking about this?
Lxion-Lixi: Attention all departments, attention all departments. Everyone please line up in order. Stand properly. There will be meat.
SouthSeaGuest: Last month Chongqing’s municipal government said the same thing. Wasn’t it said in vain? Chinese society now—whether Chongqing’s government, the Ministry of Public Security or even the whole national system from top to bottom—must without a doubt maintain conformity with the central government. Need this be said? Once you’ve said it, won’t other people think you have ulterior motives?!
SeanAzureSky: The masses most abhor corrupt officials and public servants who misbehave. And we most abhor the police officers—they’re shadier than the mob. Take a look and do what you see fit.
DunWeiqing: This is great material for textual analysis. Since that which represents the Party also represents the people, the thank “you” (Public Security) is immediately followed by maintaining conformity between the Party and that which represents “us” (Public Security). This is a power play: I am not only myself, I am also you. The identity transforms so quickly, it’s breathtaking.
TangBiqing: Later, the name will be changed to “Party Security.”
CantFindHunger: Not allowing Weibo comments is what the masses abhor most.