China crisis: Power struggle threatens to erupt in Beijing amid economic punishment fears

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China could erupt into a political power struggle according to recent intelligence indications, according to Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat. The Tory MP told Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO that there are “real pressures on the Chinese communist party”. He said there are “indications” that Beijing’s political unity “may not be quite as tight as it wants you to imagine”.

The MP said: “Like all dictatorships, it wants to pretend that it is all-powerful, all central, and one mind.

“Yet, a few weeks after the huge spike in deaths in Wuhan over COVID-19, there was a day of mourning around the whole of China.

“That was not sanctioned by the supreme leader, by General Secretary Xi.

“That in itself is interesting. There are divergent views within the central administration.”

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Mr Tugendhat went on to predict economic sanctions would help change the country’s mind over their new Hong Kong law.

He said that China could be crippled by collective economic sanctions if countries around the world “banded together”.

The Conservative politician pointed to China’s decision in May to ditch its GDP target for the year for the first time in history as proof China was economically vulnerable.

For the first time in 30 years, Beijing decided not to set a growth target due to “great uncertainty” sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

China, which is the world’s second-biggest economy, shrank 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020.

Mr Tugendhat continued: “We know, because they abandoned its GDP target of six percent for the first time, that China is deeply concerned about the economic fallout of COVID-19.

“But, unlike us and other democracies, they don’t have the legitimacy of representing the people.”


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He added: “Their only legitimacy is in their actions and if they can’t deliver, that raises very serious questions.

“There is a real question there about whether the internal pressures will cause changes in the way it behaves.

“There are real pressure on the Chinese Community Party, so we really need to see us banding together with countries around the world.

“And so getting countries like South Korea and Japan, India, Singapore, Brazil, Nigeria, to actually stand up and be counted in this debate really, really matters.”

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