Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent absences from the G20 and ASEAN summits have drawn widespread attention. Additionally, there have been reports of ongoing arrests or disciplinary actions against senior military officers in the People's Republic of China (PRC). The crackdown has hit several high-ranking officials within the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Rocket Force, as well as the current and former Defense Ministers and executives from defense industry companies. Some sources suggest that Xi's unusual behavior and his crackdown on the Rocket Force are related to ancient Chinese predictions of a coup and assassination that Xi Jinping believes he may face.
Previously, media reports suggested that the issues within the Rocket Force were related to corruption or leaks of classified information. Other reports suggested that there had been plots against Xi Jinping by some Rocket Force officers who privately opposed an attack on Taiwan. Such reports all indicate a problem with the political loyalty of the individuals whom Xi Jinping once promoted.
Xi Jinping's Secret Concerns?
However, the latest information reveals that these explanations are just some of the surface reasons the authorities have to give out to justify the purges. These reports state further that the real and unusual underlying reason for the purges involves a "concern" that Xi Jinping harbors and doesn't want to reveal.
WikiLeaks has previously revealed that Xi Jinping believes in Chinese traditional qigong and supernatural forces. These also encompass various forms of prophecy.
A reliable source of mine also revealed to me that, despite Xi Jinping's outward promotion of atheism, he has a strong belief in ancient Chinese prophecies. In particular, my source tells me that Xi is taken with prophecies predicting palace coups and assassinations.
Xi allegedly fears that such prophecies might come true, resulting in his death while in office. As a result, my source says, Xi has taken extensive precautions. The recent crackdown on the Rocket Force is related to two of the most famous prophecies in this context.
'A Soldier Carries a Bow'
One of the prophecies apparently troubling Xi comes from an ancient Chinese book called the Tui Bei Tu (推背图). This text dates back to the Tang Dynasty, more than 1300 years ago. Many of the predictions in this book have already come true, which has had a significant impact on Chinese history.
The prophecy in question comes in the form of a poem that goes with the 46th image in the text. The poem reads:
A soldier carries a bow,
Saying only, 'I am the old man with white hair.'
In the east gate, a golden sword lies hidden;
A brave warrior enters the imperial palace from the rear gate.
Many interpret this prophecy as a sign that Xi Jinping will face a military coup, being overthrown by soldiers.
According to my source, Xi Jinping believes that the "soldier with a bow" mentioned in this poem corresponds to the Rocket Force.
In ancient times, bows and arrows were long-range weapons used to kill opponents from a distance. Today, these long-range weapons are represented by missiles. Xi Jinping is said to believe that within the Rocket Force, which controls missiles, there may be individuals who pose a potential threat to him and wish to harm him.
The Death of a White-Feathered Bird
Another famous prophecy is from a Chinese folk prophecy book called The Iron Plate.
The final image in this book is quite simple. There are four black birds flying over a gap between two mountains. However, a white bird crashes and dies halfway up the mountain. The bird splatters blood on the cliffs and plummets downward.
There is a sentence below the image: "The white-feathered bird is killed on this side of the mountain."
Some say that the four black birds represent the first four leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP): Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao. The fifth, white-feathered bird represents Xi Jinping.
This interpretation comes from the Chinese character for Xi's surname, "習." The upper part of the word Xi is xu (羽), which means "feathers."
The lower part of the word xi is bai (白), which means "white." So, when one separates the elements of the character for Xi's surname, it means "white feathers." Therefore, the white-feathered bird being killed on this side of the mountain could symbolize Xi Jinping's fate.
The reason why the white bird crashes into the mountain can also be that it has been shot by an arrow and cannot fly anymore.
Mao Zedong and His '8341' Army
The two prophecies above are both very old, but they have suddenly become very hot topics again among the Chinese people. I was told that Xi Jinping believes in them too, and that that was the fundamental reason why he lashed out against the Rocket Force.
This is not at all as far-fetched as it sounds. In fact, China's communist leaders have been quite superstitious themselves, despite discouraging superstition among the general population.
For example, Mao Zedong named his central guard unit the "8341." Why "8341?"
It's said that when Mao was young, he went to a Taoist temple on a mountain to pray for his sick mother. There, Mao asked the Taoist priest about his future. The Taoist priest wrote down the number "8341."
Although Mao didn't understand the meaning of "8341," after he gained power, he named his personal guard unit "8341."
It wasn't until after Mao's death that people understood the meaning of "8341": Mao would live to be 83 years old and hold power for 41 years. Mao was born in 1893 and died in 1976, living exactly 83 years.
Within the CCP, Mao solidified his leadership position during the Zunyi Conference in 1935. Mao therefore held power for 41 years, from 1935 until his death in 1976.
It's uncertain whether the legendary Taoist actually predicted Mao's lifespan and time in power. However, the fact that Mao Zedong named his personal guard unit "8341" suggests that Mao had superstitious beliefs.
Xiong'an and Hidden Meanings in Maps
Xi Jinping's belief in superstition can also be gleaned from the choice of location for the Xiong'an New Area. Xiong'an is a low-lying area prone to floods. So, why did Xi choose it as the site for Beijing's non-capital function relocation? Apparently, it was due to Xi's belief in feng shui. Chinese media Phoenix News reports as follows:
"Beijing was selected and planned for construction based on the philosophical idea of 'mountains and rivers positioning' in traditional Chinese culture regarding urban development. Xiong'an New Area will similarly be planned and constructed based on this ideology."
Here, "mountains and rivers positioning" (shan chuan ding wei 山川定位) refers to feng shui. Beijing has an east-west axis formed by the ancient Tanzhe Temple to the site of the former imperial capital, Dingdu Mountain. Xiong'an New Area is located directly to the south of Tanzhe Temple, creating another "north-south axis" from Tanzhe Temple to Xiong'an New Area.
The intersection of these "north-south" and "east-west" axes forms the overall positioning for the city based on the principles of Feng Shui.
The Feng Shui of Invading Taiwan
Some have also observed that if one connects Xiong'an to the central area of Tianjin, one can trace a triangle with Beijing as the third corner.
If one draws a perpendicular line southward from Beijing, this line passes through Nanjing, and further south, it directly goes through Taiwan.
Nanjing was the capital of the Republic of China during the Kuomintang's rule on the mainland. Taiwan is where the Republic of China exists today, which the Chinese Communist Party has long sought to "reunify" with the mainland.
Therefore, this perpendicular line, from a feng shui perspective, exerts influence over the former capital of the "previous dynasty" (referring to the Republic of China). The line also bisects Taiwan. Again from a feng shui perspective, this could be seen as advantageous for Xi Jinping's goal of occupying Taiwan.
This is said to be one of the reasons why Xi Jinping chose the current location for his sub-capital. Establishing a secondary capital at Xiong'an would enhance Xi Jinping's imperial aura and allow him to reign as a Communist emperor for a long time.
Xi Jinping's Fear of Death
Xi Jinping's fear of death is not only reflected in internal purges but also in his security arrangements during travels. Every time Xi goes on a trip, there is a significant commotion over security. Wherever Xi goes within China, the crowd listening to his speeches is carefully selected. Often, the audience is local officials cast as "ordinary citizens."
In 2022, during his two-day visit to Hong Kong on July 1, Xi Jinping didn't dare to stay overnight. He also used a bulletproof car imported from the mainland.
Xi's overseas trips are no different in terms of heightened security concerns. For instance, during his visit to Papua New Guinea in November 2018, two domestically produced bulletproof vehicles were air-shipped from China to the destination.
Taiwanese media, The Up Media, reported that South African authorities confirmed that Xi Jinping brought a delegation of up to 500 people for the BRICS Summit held there in August. He reserved two hotels and arranged for a full set of furniture to be shipped from China a month in advance. Xi brought everything from cups and bowls to beds, mattresses, carpets, and even curtains. China observers believe that Xi took these precautions to prevent possible personal harm or surveillance.
Xi Spooked in South Africa
During the South Africa summit, there was an incident where Xi Jinping's interpreter was blocked from accompanying him into a venue. So, Xi had to enter the venue alone. Xi looked quite lost and looked back several times, as though waiting for his interpreter to join him.
That was a very embarrassing moment for Xi, as he has no ability to mingle with world leaders without a translator, and also no experience in doing so. This is likely why Xi Jinping chose not to attend the recent G20 summit in India.
Not only that, Wang Yi, the current foreign minister who was reappointed to replace the removed Qin Gang, was said to have been ordered to write a self-criticism at home for the humiliation Xi suffered at the BRICS Summit. And that was the reason why Wang Yi didn't go to the G20 with the Chinese Premier Li Qiang, as well as why he will not attend the annual UN General Assembly.
Not only that, Li Zhaoxing, the former Chinese Foreign Minister who has been retired for as long as 16 years and is now 83 years old, recently reemerged to represent the CCP at the 7th China-Australia High-Level Dialogue. All these are abnormal and indicate that Xi Jinping doesn't have enough officials that he can trust.
Describing Xi Jinping's current situation as "a startled bird" is quite fitting. He appears to be a leader who believes in the prophecy of "a soldier bearing a bow." Xi seems to harbor a deep fear of the unknown.
Latest Purges within the Military System
Meanwhile, purges within the military in China continue. The latest rumor is that Defense Minister Li Shangfu is under investigation. At the very least, he has not been seen in public for over several weeks.
In the meantime, several military industry executives were arrested, including,
- Liu Shiquan (刘石泉), Chairman of China North Industries Group Corporation,
- Yuan Jie (袁洁), Chairman of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation,
- Chen Guoying (陈国瑛), General Manager of China North Industries Group Corporation, and
- Tan Ruisong (谭瑞松), Former CCP Secretary and Chairman of Aviation Industry Corporation of China. Tan was dismissed from his position in March 2023.
These high-ranking officials from military enterprises have been detained by the CCP's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
According to former Chinese journalist Zhao Lanjiang, Li Shangfu was arrested on September 1. Following his arrest, eight more officials, including six deputy minister-level (military or above) and two bureau-level officials within the PLA's Equipment Development Department were arrested on September 8, after Li confessed about them.
The Crackdown Continues
Apart from the 11 removed generals within the Rocket Force, the commander of the Strategic Support Force, Ju Qiansheng (巨乾生), and the deputy commander, Shang Hong (尚宏), have both been rumored to have been detained.
We don't know the reason for the removal of Ju Qiansheng and Shang Hong. However, the fact is that if ever the Rocket Force plans to shoot missiles at Beijing, or where Xi Jinping is, they need the cooperation of the Strategic Support Force to disable the radar systems. Otherwise, if the missiles are detected, there is little chance of success. And the radar systems are controlled by the Strategic Support Force.
It is anticipated that more individuals related to this matter will be implicated. The crackdown in China continues — and appears to be accelerating.
Will the Ancient Chinese Prophecies Be Self-Fulfilling?
If Xi Jinping is indeed superstitious, then prophecies about his demise through a coup or assassination would certainly impact his psychology, mental state, and even his decisions regarding travel and other matters.
Given the rumors about his possible mental health issues, this is even more concerning. Xi's superstition about prophecies is likely to trigger more military purges. There have been recent rumors that even the current Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the CCP, Zhang Youxia, could be implicated. Li Shangfu was groomed for high office by Zhang. So, Zhang, who is the second-highest-ranking figure in the military, could be in peril.
There is a limit to all internal struggles. The question is whether a large-scale military purge could indeed lead to military resistance or even rebellion in China. If so, then ultimately the ancient prophecy that Xi Jinping seems to be desperately trying to stave off could prove self-fulfilling.
Furthermore, the concern is what it means for the security of other countries if a dictator with a powerful military loses touch with reality. The ancient Chinese prophecies may seem like distant history, but they could have very real implications for us today.
- China Watch | Beijing On Edge after ‘Black Swan’ Appears in Tiananmen Square
- The Qin Gang Saga: Under Xi Jinping, the Way Up Is the Way Down, Too
- PLA Chief AI Military Scientist Dies Mysteriously: Is There a Rival Hindering Xi Jinping's Taiwan Invasion Plan?
- China, From 'Bottom-Line Thinking' to 'Extreme-Scenario Thinking': What Happened In Between?
Author: Jennifer Zeng