Xi Jinping: Tiger slayer or paper tiger?

There is some fear that China's anti-graft drive will undermine stability in the administration but the President has no choice but to forge ahead if he does not want to end up being seen as weak and ineffective.

 
-- ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

CHINESE President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive seems to have entered a make-or-break phase as he fights several big "tigers" at the same time. If he wins this war, he would be a modern-day Wu Song - the legendary tiger slayer of Chinese folklore. But if he loses, he will expose himself as a "paper tiger", weak and ineffective.

It is therefore no surprise that he is resorting to military support to ensure his victory.

In an unusual move recently, a total of 53 senior military leaders collectively pledged their obedience to Mr Xi, who is chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission (CMC).

These included commanders, political commissars and their deputies from the seven Greater Military Regions; the air, naval and missile services; four departments (staff, political, logistics and armament) and military academies.

Background story

Mr Xi's anti-graft drive appears to have encouraged whistle-blowers to expose alleged corruption by senior cadres. This has opened up new battlefronts for Mr Xi, leading to the risk of the anti- graft drive getting out of control and putting him in a vulnerable position.

TO READ THE FULL STORY...