China is slowly becoming a suffocating police state like the former Soviet Union as President Xi Jinping wanted the security apparatus under his direct grip, Nikkei Asia reported citing sources.
The sources have expressed concern over the possibility of creating a new police and state security organization, which would be placed under the direct command of Xi, the “core” of the party’s Central Committee.
These concerns came after the communique issued on Tuesday after a three-day session of the party’s leadership — known as the second plenary session of the party’s 20th Central Committee.
As per the sources cited by Nikkei Asia, Xi is planning to beef up organizations related to state security and public security under a completely non-traditional framework.
“The number of personnel could double if rural areas are included. The goal is to establish such a structure by 2027 when the next national congress of the Communist Party will be held,” the sources said.
The sources believed that China could become a country like the former Soviet Union within the next four or five years, according to Nikkei Asia.
Recently, Hong Kong-based Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao reported that China’s Ministry of Public Security, which supervises the police, and its Ministry of State Security, in charge of hunting down spies, will be separated from the State Council — China’s government — and placed under the party as a new organization called the Central Internal Affairs Committee.
In China, law enforcement is not limited to formal public security and police organizations run by the central government. There are also units established by local governments in charge of managing public order. Removing unlicensed stalls from streets is one example of what these units do.
At large-scale events, such as the party’s national congress or the National People’s Congress, temporary administrative staffers appear, wearing jackets and armbands with “volunteer” printed on them.
As per Nikkei Asia, local law-enforcement organizations are believed to have more members than public security and police organizations.
In the 10 years of Xi’s rule, the power of the central government has been gradually curtailed. Organizations and functions under the State Council have been shrunk, while there has been a proliferation of “small groups” under the direct control of the party’s Central Committee.
In the eras of China’s leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, there was an effort to separate the party and government. Now, this trend has been unequivocally reversed.
The State Council Information Office, in charge of government public relations, still exists but has been integrated with the party’s Publicity Department, in effect. It operates under the party organization, reported Nikkei Asia.
In a report he delivered at the party’s 19th national congress in 2017, Xi declared that the party would manage all organizations and groups within the country. The State Council has since seen its powers further reduced, with Premier Li Keqiang’s influence lost.
If the new internal security organization is established, it will be placed under the direct control of Xi.
Recently, in the ongoing National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China announced a draft budget for 2023, which is an increase of 7.2 per cent, remaining single-digit for the 8th consecutive year.
China is aiming to achieve the centenary goals of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by 2027, basically realize the modernization of national defence and the armed forces by 2035, and fully build the armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century, the Xinhua News Agency reported on August 1, 2022, which marks the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, according to The Global Times.