Former Central Party School professor Cai Xia has been formally expelled from the Party following a speech she gave online in May, in which she called the party “a political zombie.” (CDT published a translation of her talk in June.) The CCP took the unusual step of removing her retirement benefits as part of her expulsion.
Central Party School announced expulsion of retired scholar Cai Xia from Communist Party, citing her speech had “serious political problem and damaged the state’s reputation”, months after rumoured audio clip critical of party leadership emerged #China https://t.co/8BT8oS4VhW pic.twitter.com/MGGgyRCDuD
— Matt Ho (@mcmchoho) August 17, 2020
Cai Xia, a former professor at the Central Party School, was punished because she had made speeches with “serious political problems”, according to a notice on the school’s website.
Her speeches were of “extraordinarily execrable nature”, and seriously violated the political discipline of the party, the notice said.
Cai told the South China Morning Post that she was safe and well in the United States but declined to elaborate.
The school’s decision came after a joint investigation by anticorruption officers within the party school and the Central Organisation Department, the party’s top organ in charge of personnel, according to the notice. The statement did not refer to the content of the speeches in question. [Source]
In Cai’s talk, she condemned Xi Jinping without ever mentioning his name. Cai had delivered the talk to a private group online in May, but it was shared and quickly spread online. From the transcript:
So, the Party itself is already a political zombie. And this one person, a central leader who has grasped the knife handle [police apparatus], the gun barrel [military], and faults within the system itself—that is: one, corruption among the officials; and two, the lack of human rights and legal protection for Party members and cadres. With these two grasped in his hands, he has turned 90 million Party members into slaves, tools to be used for his personal advantage. When he needs it, he uses the Party. When he doesn’t need it, Party members are no longer treated as Party members. He can easily put you somewhere and label you as a corrupt official. [Source]
Cai, who was born into a military family and served in the People’s Liberation Army, has long argued for internal reform of the CCP and has defended individuals who were disciplined by the government for publicly posting dissenting views. From CDT’s China Digital Space profile of Cai:
Cai has drawn on her deep understanding of Chinese law and the CCP to criticize law-bending by the authorities and the silencing of debate within the Party. When Chinese-American businessman Charles Xue was detained on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute in August 2013, Cai wrote on Weibo that “the relationship between the prostitute and man who solicited her was a private transaction that is not within the scope of the law,” and that the authorities had therefore infringed on the rights of both Xue and the Ms. Zhang whom he had allegedly called.
In February 2016, when Ren Zhiqiang was excoriated by the Party and removed from social media in punishment for criticizing state media, Cai spoke out on his behalf in an online opinion piece. She said state media’s attack on Ren violated the constitution of the Chinese Communist Party, and lamented the lack of channels for communication inside the Party. Cai’s article quickly disappeared from Chinese social media. [Source]
Ren Zhiqiang is one of several intellectuals, writers, and activists—including rights lawyers Yu Wensheng and Xu Zhiyong and former Tsinghua professor Xu Zhangrun—who have been detained over the past year amid a broadening crackdown on ideology and political speech.
In a comment posted online, Cai reportedly responded to her expulsion:
"I have finally rejoined the "team of the people. Every generation has their own responsibilities, and we need to fight for the political transformation of China and we need to bear the results of these efforts."
— William Yang (@WilliamYang120) August 17, 2020
“Enjoying pension is my right so by canceling my pension, they have violated human rights. Having different political views is not the same thing as my pension. They can’t infringe on my rights.”
— William Yang (@WilliamYang120) August 17, 2020
Update (Tuesday August 18, 1:30 pm PST): Cai Xia has been interviewed by Lily Kuo of The Guardian and Chris Buckley of The New York Times about her political views and her expulsion from the Party. From Kuo’s interview:
“Under the regime of Xi, the Chinese Communist party is not a force for progress for China. In fact, it is an obstacle to China’s progress,” she said. “I believe I am not the only one who wants to leave this party. More people would like to withdraw or quit this party,” she said. “I had intended to quit the party years ago when there was no more room to speak and my voice was completely blocked.”
The comments from someone once firmly part of the establishment – several of China’s leaders such as Mao Zedong and Hu Jintao, as well as Xi were head of the Central Party School – are remarkable and potentially dangerous for the Chinese leadership. Cai is the latest prominent public intellectual to be punished for criticising Xi.
Cai initially spoke to the Guardian in June after the recording was first released. On that occasion she went further in her denunciation of Xi, blaming him for making China “an enemy” of the world, in comments that will reverberate across the party and the country, where such public criticism from within the party establishment is extremely rare.
[…] She said there was widespread opposition within the party but few dared to speak out, afraid of political retaliation in the form of internal party discipline and corruption charges. In this environment, Xi’s “unchecked power” and hold on all major decision-making had led to inevitable mistakes such as in the handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to Cai. [Source]
See also an edited transcript of The Guardian interview with Cai.