There is a power struggle under way in China . How serious it becomes, or how it will be resolved, is difficult to predict. By year’s end Communist Party of China (CPC) will select a new president. Along with that the CPC will also elect its all powerful nine-member Politburo. Recently there have been rumours in China of an attempted coup. There were Internet reports of tanks on Beijing ’s streets, of shots being fired in high security areas. According to reports in the western media international intelligence communities, including the U.S. and UK , were closely monitoring these online reports. However, Chinese authorities have nervously blocked all internet reports of the alleged attempted coup.
The alarming rumours began after a powerful senior leader Mr. Bo Xilai was sacked from his official post. Mr. Bo is reputed to have very close ties to hardcore generals in the People's Liberation Army (PLA). As the Party Secretary of the large Chongqing city he was widely believed to join the all-powerful nine-strong Politburo Standing Committee come autumn. Mr. Bo was sacked after his trusted police chief, Wang Lijun, sought asylum at a U.S. consulate last month. Mr Wang fled in fear after he was dismissed for ordering an investigation into the business dealings of Mr Bo's family.
Mr. Bo was an unabashed supporter of Mao Zedong’s policies and favoured a hard left line. His ouster has reportedly polarized the Party between outgoing Prime Minister Mr. Wen Jiabao and the Minister of Public Security, Mr. Zhou Yongkang. Mr. Wen had recently warned the nation against the recurrence of another Cultural Revolution and chaos. Analysts believe it was a veiled reference to the activities of Mr. Bo. Mr. Zhou is a strong supporter of Mr. Bo.
Mr. Peter Simpson reporting for London ’s Daily Mail wrote: “The comments included rumours of the downfall of the Shanghai leadership faction, a reference to high-level officials who hail from the coastal financial hub, which has traditionally been the home of reformers and modernizers in the Party. Some of the comments claimed a possible 'military coup' had been attempted, along with other reports of gunfire and swarms of plain clothes and uniformed security officers on Changan Street, which is close to Tiananmen Square, the scene of the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters. All the reports have been removed by China 's army of internet censors and can no longer be accessed.”
How does all this concern India ? It affects us simply because during power struggles within dictatorial regimes there is always the danger that one party initiates an external adventure to obtain leverage in the domestic power struggle. It is ominous that in recent times incursions into Indian territory by the PLA have notably increased. According to media reports Chinese patrol boats openly violated the Line of Actual Control by intruding into the Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh. There have been repeated complaints from the Arunachal Pradesh leaders of Chinese incursions into their state. Now there is news of two incidents in the last four months of Chinese helicopters reportedly violating Indian air space along the International Border in the tribal districts of Himachal Pradesh. Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has sent reports of the incidents to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Prem Kumar Dhumal has demanded appropriate action from the Union Government against these intrusions. Media has reported that Intelligence sources have confirmed that air space violations by the Chinese armed forces are at an all time high and the number of Chinese soldiers accompanying patrols on the ground are constantly increasing.
Despite all this, Foreign Minister Mr. SM Krishna insists that the Sino-Indian border is tranquil and peace talks with Beijing are proceeding satisfactorily. One hopes this is just public posture. One hopes that his ministry is keeping one eye closely on developments inside China and the other on our border with that country. A short adventure against India might well be the ploy to help one side defeat the other in China ’s power struggle.