China Rattled Over ‘Death Threat’ Letter to President Xi Jinping and Family

Chinese President Xi Jinping on March 16, 2016 in Beijing, China.
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Washington, DC

Tony Nash, Chief Economist at Complete Intelligence, discussed a New York Times story suggesting an “Anonymous Call for Xi to Quit Rattles Party Leaders in China” today with Breitbart News Daily host Stephen K. Bannon on SiriusXM radio.

Not only did the letter make its way onto a news site in China, it also included what amounts to a death threat against President Xi Jinping and his family. According to the Times article:

An anonymous letter calling on President Xi Jinping to resign for the good of China and his own safety seemed to be digital rumor-mongering when it appeared on the Internet this month. It spread by email and lingered on a small domestic Chinese news site before it was removed.

But the response from Beijing has been anything but dismissive.

Surprising even some hardened critics, Mr. Xi’s security forces have overseen a far-reaching inquisition to root out the culprits behind the letter, resorting to measures that have drawn more attention than the letter itself. They have detained at least 11 people, including relatives in China of two exiled writers accused of spreading or promoting the letter.

Notes the Times:

Chinese officials were probably most upset by the letter’s suggestion that Mr. Xi and his family faced personal peril, said Mr. Xiao, the Chinese media expert. The letter demands that Mr. Xi resign “out of concern for the party’s endeavors, out of concern for the future of the country and its people, and also out of concern for the personal safety of you and your family.”

Nash explained to Bannon that the letter “was posted on a Chinese language website in the U.S. that’s read by a number of people in China, but it also made it onto a news site in China. It was since taken down, and the leaders of that site have been taken in for questioning.”

Nash said, “it is suspect that [the letter] was written by an old party hand or a group of old party hands.”

“It kind of comes off as a grumpy old man’s rant,” he continued. “But in the very last paragraph of this letter, there is a death threat. It said, ‘for your own personal safety and that of your family.’ Now the New York Times wrote this as if it’s the Chinese government trying to keep control over something that they shouldn’t keep control over, but this letter actually contains a death threat. So, if there was a published letter with a death threat to the U.S. president, the Secret Service would take it incredibly seriously.”

Nash added that the men who published it on their site didn’t write it themselves, “and it was somehow published on their site by mistake… But it is actually a very serious item that was posted. And they’re really trying to figure out who wrote it.”

Ultimately, Nash agrees with the Times that, at least for now, President Xi Jinping appears to be continuing to consolidate power, perhaps even using the letter to extend it, as opposed to losing his grip on the nation. Nash said:

When  Xi Jinping came into power, the power structure was very divided. So, he spent quit a lot of time consolidating that power structure, doing things like actually getting control over the Chinese military – which it was kind of doing what it wanted to do. And to some extent still does that.

Added Nash:

But … is Xi Jinping losing power? That’s not the perception that I have. When you had the stock market bubble last year and you’ve had a number of other emergencies, … there’s been a fairly unified communication coming out of the central government as to how they’re going to improve their economy, what they’re going to do to improve lives…. If anything, it appears to me he’s consolidating power, or, we’ll say, continuing to consolidate power, which he’s been trying to do for the past three years.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00AM to 9:00AM EST. Hear the interview: