TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In another sign that discord and tension may be on the rise with China’s Communist Party, the CCP this week has just issued revised regulations that increase potential punishments for spreading “political rumors or damaging the Party’s unity.”
In a drive to weed out corruption, increase discipline and most importantly ensure party loyalty, the CCP has introduced new restrictions for party members, including recommendations that those who “cling to religious beliefs” leave the party or undergo “strengthened thought education,” reports Reuters.
Late Sunday evening, Aug. 26, the new rules on party discipline were issued by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, but have been in effect for a week previous since Aug. 18 according to reports, which effectively coincided with the end of the annual Summer Summit in Beidaihe.
Xi Jinping’s name is also reportedly drafted into the new behavioral guidelines on party discipline, establishing Xi as the symbolic arbiter of what determines proper conduct for a Chinese communist.
At a time when there appear to be cracks forming in the Chinese leadership as a result of the U.S. – China Trade War, and heightened financial worries, Beijing is implementing stricter oversight of the activities of party members to mitigate the threat of factionalism.
The new guidelines also seek to root out those influenced by religious doctrines, since they may have divided loyalties and may be more inclined to disagree with the direction of Beijing’s policies.
“Party members who have religious beliefs should have strengthened thought education. If they still don’t change after help and education from the party organization, they should be encouraged to leave the party,” the new regulations state.
Reuters also reports that those found to be “distorting” the history of China may also face punishments or expulsion. This can likely be interpreted as those who raise objections certain “core issues” like the CCP, such as the “inevitable rejuvenation of the Motherland” and the intended conquest of Taiwan.
As China faces increasing criticism among indebted partners of its Belt and Road Initiative, suffers losses in manufacturing and financial sectors due to the U.S. trade war, and pursues an emboldened campaign of suppressing religious groups in the country, the likelihood of disagreements and discord within the CCP will only grow as different interest groups argue over how best to respond to these issues.
The introduction of new, stricter rules of conduct for party members is very much an indication that Beijing expects to encounter dissent in the near future. Now the CCP has a pretext to justify the forthcoming expulsion of critics from the party.