While the reports of an attempted coup against Chinese President Xi Jinping are likely untrue, Far East foreign affairs expert Gordon Chang tells Newsmax where there is "smoke" there is likely some sort of "fire somewhere."
"There's been a lot of smoke — that says there is a fire somewhere," Chang told "Saturday Agenda." "We don't think that there has actually been a coup; but at this point there have been some extremely troubling developments at the top of the Communist Party, as well as the top of the People's Liberation Army, which reports to the party.
"So something is terribly wrong."
The rumors themselves are a potential campaign to give Xi a proverbial "punch in the gut," if not to keep Xi from remaining the leader for a third term, Chang told host Kilmeny Duchardt.
"Xi Jinping has jailed three figures, some of them for life sentences; so that by itself roils the situation. But the mere fact that someone is trying to destabilize the regime — and that's really, I think, the source of these rumors — says that at this point, the regime itself is going through turmoil," Chang said.
"They're going to have their 20th national congress, which starts on the 16th of next month; and that's where Xi Jinping either gets or doesn't get his unprecedented third term as general secretary of the party: in other words, China's ruler. And that means, I think, that we see some senior figures figure that they can try to give Xi Jinping a punch in the gut before then."
Regardless of the rumors or a potential smear campaign against Xi, the Chinese Communist Party way is not one where it would share what is going on with the inner turmoil, Chang concluded.
"Yeah, they won't issue a statement on that," Chang told Duchardt. "That's not the Communist Party style. We saw something very similar, Kilmeny, in 2015, when there were reports of armored vehicles in Beijing. And those reports are generally believed to be untrue; but nonetheless, you know, the Communist Party is not going to admit to the Chinese people about instability unless it is completely obvious and they have no choice but to. And we're really not at that stage yet."
The events in China are troubling, Chang noted in tweets over the past few days, including the cancellation of flights, suspended train and bus traffic into Beijing, and a PLA motorcade reportedly as long as 80 kilometers rolling toward the capital city.
"We've seen some pretty unusual and abnormal events over the last three days," Chang said, echoing his tweets.
"The unexpected events in #China started right after #XiJinping came back from #Uzbekistan and disappeared from sight for days, something unusual for him. There are extremely few coincidences in elite #CCP politics," he tweeted shortly before his TV appearance.
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