Beijing: Several high-ranking members of the China’s Communist Party had plotted to seize power from President Xi Jinping, a top Chinese official has claimed, contradicting the party’s “unified” image.
The party members involved in the plot have since been arrested or jailed in a wide-reaching corruption crackdown launched by Xi, who appears set for a second term.
According to some observers, the crackdown was used to conduct a political purge of Xi’s opponents, the BBC reported.
Liu Shiyu, the chief of China’s Securities Commissions, on Thursday listed names of six “high-ranking and powerful officials, who were hugely greedy and corrupt. They plotted to usurp the party’s leadership and seize state power”.
Liu’s list included top names whose downfall attracted intense scrutiny, such as former security chief Zhou Yongkang, prominent politician Bo Xilai and Sun Zhengcai, a member of the decision-making Politburo body who was recently expelled.
The other names were former presidential aide Ling Jihua, the late Army General Xu Caihou and former top military officer Guo Boxiong.
“These cases were definitely shocking,” said Liu, who was speaking at a panel for the ongoing Communist Party congress in Beijing.
It was unclear whether he was referring to one coordinated plot or separate attempts at a coup.
Liu said that Xi had “addressed these problems and eliminated a huge and hidden danger to the party and the country”.
More than one million officials have been jailed or arrested in the corruption crackdown which began shortly after Xi took power in 2012.
The depth of the crackdown led many to speculate that some arrests were politically motivated and that part of Xi’s overall strategy was to consolidate power.
Xi had previously denied claims there was a “power struggle” within the party.
The claim comes as Xi created his own political ideology in the latest move to entrench his position in the Communist Party.
The party is widely expected to rewrite its constitution to enshrine this theory before congress ends next week.