In June, two senior officials of the political and legal system were announced to have fallen within two days: Gan Rongkun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial Party Committee and secretary of the Political and Legal Committee, and Meng Yongshan, the prosecutor of the Qinghai Provincial People’s Procuratorate. According to current affairs commentator Liu Rishao, the successive removal of officials from the political and legal system before the 20th National Congress is a power tactic used by CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping to consolidate his power and governance.
The Central Discipline Inspection Commission of the Communist Party of China (CCDI) announced on Tuesday (1) that Gan Rongkun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial Party Committee and secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission, is under investigation for allegedly “serious violations of discipline and law”. In addition, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection also announced on Wednesday (2) that Meng Yongshan, the prosecutor of the People’s Procuratorate of Qinghai Province, is also suspected of “serious violations of discipline and law” and has taken the initiative to surrender and is under investigation.
Gan Rongkun is 59 years old, a native of Guangshan, Henan province, with a background in economics, he had worked in the customs system for a long time. Later, in August 2013, Gan was parachuted into Hubei as vice governor in the capacity of Beijing Customs chief. He was later transferred to Heilongjiang in July 2016 as a member of the Standing Committee of the provincial party committee and secretary of the political and legal committee, during his tenure in Heilongjiang, where a number of “anti-triad storms” took place. A number of “heavyweight” cadres in Hulan District of Harbin City, as well as Harbin Municipal Committee Standing Committee, Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee Ren Rui Chen have been investigated by the 14th Supervisory Group of the Central Committee to fight against black and evil.
Gan Rongkun was transferred to Henan in September 2019 as a member of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee until he was suspended in June 2021. Before Gan Rongkun was investigated, Yu Donghui, a member of the Standing Committee of the Zhengzhou Municipal Committee and secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of Henan Province, was transferred out of his post after being reported by businesswoman Jiang Shumin on May 20 for soliciting tens of millions of yuan (RMB, same below) in bribes and actually receiving gold bars, wormwood and other finances totaling more than 5 million yuan.
Gan Rongkun was last seen on May 25, attending the first batch of political and legal team education and rectification in Henan Province to give a speech at the site meeting of the resident steering group. It is worth noting that after Wu Tianjun, former member of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee in November 2016, Gan Rongkun became the second Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of the Henan Provincial Committee to be suspended after the 18th Congress.
As for Meng Yongshan, 57, a law major who worked in his hometown of Guangxi for years until he was transferred to the party secretary of the Qinghai People’s Procuratorate in October 2018 and has also served as the procurator general of the Qinghai People’s Procuratorate since February 2019, the procurator general of the Qinghai Provincial People’s Procuratorate is 57 years old.
Meng Yongshan’s last public appearance was on May 26, 2021, when he attended the closing ceremony of the 25th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th Qinghai Provincial People’s Congress. Meng Yongshan’s deputy, Jia Xiaogang, deputy secretary of the party group and deputy procurator general of the Qinghai Provincial People’s Procuratorate, also a “veteran of politics and law,” was investigated by the Qinghai Provincial Discipline Inspection and Supervision Commission (QDISC) in July 2020 and dismissed in November of the same year. Meng Yongshan is the first provincial procuratorate chief to voluntarily surrender since the 18th National Congress, and the second provincial ministerial-level cadre to do so in Qinghai Province in a year.
Current affairs commentator Liu Ruishao believes that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has recently made a series of moves to consolidate its own governance by targeting the political and legal system.
Liu said: “Since last October, many officials in the political and legal system have been “dismounted” one after another, using the traditional Chinese power tactics that have always been the norm. This is because Xi Jinping intends to consolidate his own rule by disconnecting the middle-ranking cadres from the top ones and cutting back on their support before the 20th National Congress next October.
He also believes that the political and legal system in China has been baptized by time and inevitably there is cronyism. Xi Jinping is looking for live targets in the political and legal system in order to remove these interest groups, hoping to make an example of them. The hope is to prevent infighting and, in the long run, consolidate Xi’s own governance.
Liu Ruishao also believes that the central government’s replacement of the top local officials before the 20th National Congress will allow the outside world to understand the new personnel layout of the 20th Communist Party Congress. Xi Jinping once said that he would step up supervision from the top to the bottom by the first in command, from himself, to the central committee members, to the local governance. This statement has shown the outside world that Xi Jinping’s replacement of local officials in all such cases is aimed at building a tight system and consolidating his rule.
Since October last year, a number of senior executives in the political and legal system have been investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, such as Wang Like, then a member of the Standing Committee of the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee and secretary of the Political and Legal Committee, who was suspended while in office; Li Wenxi, former vice chairman of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and provincial public security chief, who retired years ago; Peng Bo, former deputy director of the Central Leading Group Office for the Prevention and Handling of Cultism, who was investigated; and Liu Xinyun, vice governor of Shanxi Province and head of the provincial public security department, who was The government has also removed him from his post.