China’s second most powerful man ‘reappears’ on state television – 6 Sep 2017

  • After about a month’s silence in state media, Wang Qishan has finally made an officially reported public appearance in Hunan province, calling for the tightening of Communist Party discipline at grass-roots party organisations. Wang, the party’s formidable discipline tsar, paid a three-day visit to the central province and held a symposium on discipline inspection work on 5 Sep 17, according to the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which he heads.
  • On the evening CCTV news broadcast on 5 Sep 17, China’s most watched news programme, a smiling Wang was seen shaking hands with local officials and speaking with villagers in Hunan. This was the first time Wang appeared in official media since party leaders returned from their annual retreat at Beidaihe in mid-Aug 17.
  • Wang, who has maintained a relatively low profile in the past five years, was thrust into the spotlight in the lead-up to a key leadership shake-up. Known as a long-time ally of President Xi Jinping, whether the 69-year-old will stay on the Politburo Standing Committee for another term despite exceeding the unofficial retirement age has been one of the biggest questions surrounding the 19th party congress.
  • As the meeting approaches, Wang’s every move and word are being closely watched by observers and overseas media. But in contrast to the intense attention, his whereabouts have become even more elusive, fuelling all sorts of speculation.
  • It is not the first time the top graft buster has disappeared from the public view for a long period of time. His previous long absence ended with the CCDI’s sudden announcement of its investigation into Sun Zhengcai, former Chongqing party boss and a member of the Politburo, the party’s second-highest decision-making body.

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