Xi Jinping angry with chief CCP strategist as US-China trade war takes toll: Reuters

Sources close to party leadership suggest that things have 'become grim' and that the leadership has 'misjudged the situation'

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CCP chairman Xi Jinping (left) and chief strategist Wang Huning (right)

CCP chairman Xi Jinping (left) and chief strategist Wang Huning (right) (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Reports of discord in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party continue to emerge, with CCP insiders suggesting that a rift may have emerged between Chairman Xi and his chief strategist Wang Huning.

Over the last few weeks it has been reported that strong disagreements over China’s response to the U.S. trade war are causing tension and concern within the top ranks of leadership. A report from Reuters suggests that Xi may now be portioning blame on Wang Huning, the purported architect Xi’s “China dream” platform and Xi's cult of personality.

It seems that Wang, as China’s chief propagandist, may have done his job a little too well promoting the personality cult of Xi Jinping. It was reported last week that many within the party now consider Xi’s inflated image and China’s inflamed nationalism as major liabilities, which have forced Xi into an intractable position with regards to the trade war and negotiations with the U.S.

After a letter was reportedly signed by elder party members and delivered to Xi Jinping and the Politburo last month admonishing the current leadership for allowing things to reach their current precarious state, Xi Jinping is now dispersing blame to his subordinates in true communist fashion.

However, a second source cited in the report claims that the tension between Wang Huning and Xi Jinping emerged because it was Wang who opposed any further promotion of Xi’s cult of personality.

Since Wang is chief propagandist within the party, with influence over the editorial decisions of the People’s Daily, he may indeed be responsible for Xi’s diminished representation on its front pages, which Xi may not have been pleased with.

Reuters has quoted a source with links to the leaders saying of Wang “He’s in trouble for mishandling the propaganda and hyping up China too much.” 

Another government policy advisor reportedly said that the outlook for China has “become grim” as the Chinese leaders begin to fall into two camps in their outlook on how best to manage the trade war and any potential fallout.

Sources suggest that the leadership has “misjudged the situation” and now there are those who favor quick concessions to ameliorate trade relations with the U.S., and then there are the more hawkish types who think China is capable of emerging victorious in a protracted trade conflict.

The Chinese policy advisor says that the leadership is in a state of uncertainty and that they are rethinking their previous bluster and hard-line posturing of recent months. Some in the top ranks of China’s CCP are of the view that “the exaggeration of China’s strength by some Chinese institutions and scholars ... (has) influenced the U.S. perceptions and even domestic views,” thereby exacerbating the conflict.