By: Jianli Yang

The Fifth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China will be held in Beijing on October 26. The political churning within Party has already begun with the replacement, transfers and dismissals of personnel in the officialdom of the Communist Party of China and the distribution of power among various factions.

On October 20, the People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency, the two major mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party, replaced their presidents. Tuo Zhen was appointed as the president and editor-in-chief of People’s Daily, and He Ping was appointed as the president, party secretary and editor-in-chief of Xinhua News Agency.

Li Baoshan, the former president of People’s Daily and Cai Mingzhao, the former president of Xinhua News Agency, have been removed. At present, there is no official reason for changing the two presidents. However, there are reports that Cai Mingzhao was involved in many corruption cases and is rumoured to have links with Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai.

In addition, in the first 20 days of this month, six local officials have taken up new positions. Lan Tianli was appointed vice chairman and acting chairman of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Monday. Hu Henghua, member of the Standing Committee of Hunan Provincial Party Committee and secretary of Changsha Municipal Party Committee was transferred to Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee. Hubei Provincial Party Committee Member and Head of Organization Department Wang Ruilian was appointed as Provincial Party Committee Deputy Secretary, Party Secretary of the Xiong’an New Area and Vice Governor of Hebei Chen Gang, was appointed as Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, and Yu Shaoliang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and Minister of Organization, was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee.

Some analysts have pointed out that the deputy secretaries of the provincial party committees of the CCP are “third-in-command” of the local governments and are the most popular candidates to succeed as secretaries or provincial governors. They best reflect the distribution of personnel power. Hong Kong media has speculated that the Politburo meeting of the CCP Central Committee held recently, discussed personnel arrangements, and a number of local personnel transfers were announced after the meeting. This shows that the jostling for key positions has begun.

In addition to the redeployment of officials, many high-ranking officials have been dismissed before the Fifth Plenary Session, these include Lin Feng, Deputy Director of the State Administration of Taxation Inspection Bureau, Xiao Zhuo, director of the Yunnan Supreme Procuratorate Inspection Bureau, Dong Hong a former disciplinary inspector with CCDI, Liu Baohua, deputy director of the National Energy Administration.

Among these officials, Dong Hong’s removal grabbed particular attention. He was once the Secretary of Bo Yibo, a veteran of the Communist Party of China. He also served with Wang Qishan for a long time. Some analysts believe that the investigation of Dong Hong indicate that Wang Qishan is losing his clout, and his future prospects is unpredictable.

It is believed that the redeployments and removal of many officials before the Fifth Plenary Session of the Central Committee is to warn the high-level CCP to “not to mess around,” but to unite with “Xi at the core.”