XI Jinping fears a Wagner-style coup after the extraordinary armed uprising against his buddy Putin, a former US China adviser has said.
Chaos erupted in Russia on Saturday as Wagner warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin seized control of Rostov-on-Don in a bloodless takeover and then rushed towards Moscow.
Wagner mercenaries were just 120 miles outside the capital when they laid down their arms and returned to their bases after Prigozhin struck a deal with Putin.
The tyrant grapples with the consequences of the biggest challenge to his iron-fisted rule since he took power after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Miles Yu, former China policy adviser to Mike Pompeo, said fears of a coup will now be “very real” for Putin’s ally Xi after the Wagner uprising.
He said the uprising was having “a very immediate and powerful impact on China” — and on 70-year-old Xi.
“This is a very big shock not only for Moscow but certainly also for China and worrying for Beijing,” Yu said China Insider Podcast.
“China is watching this with great concern and care. There are several implications for China.”
“The most important thing is that Prigozhin’s uprising created an alternative to the very unpopular regime.
“This is what the CCP fears most – any possible Wagnerian-style rift in the Chinese system that could present an alternative to the Xi Jinping regime. They are afraid of that.”
Yu said there is growing resentment among the People’s Liberation Army as Xi has sacked dozens of senior military leaders over the years.
“The fear of a coup is very real for Xi,” he said.
“During Xi’s 11-year rule, he carried out a massive purge within the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
“Almost the entire military leadership of his predecessor was purged.
“The displeasure within the PLA against Xi Jinping is real. That’s why every time Xi Jinping travels, even inside China, you see that his security is just tremendous – it can rival that of Kim Jong-un or Gaddafi.”
“This Wagner revolt also really frightened the Chinese leadership because they fear massive migration. Preventing emigration has been a top priority for much of the regime in the People’s Republic of China since the 1950s.”
“Now the CCP has increased its hold on the PLA, but the possibility still exists, like with the Wagner uprising.”
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is absolutely the Party army… The Party is the supreme command authority.”
“That is why it is very difficult to carry out a coup. But precisely because of party allegiance… Xi Jinping tends to promote those who are politically loyal to him but not necessarily professionally competent.”
“That’s why there is this deep conflict within the ranks of the PLA between the ideologically correct and the militarily professional and capable.”
“That’s why there’s growing displeasure with party control… It’s a very delicate balance.”
China was inundated with rumors of a Game of Thrones-style coup last September.
A ten-day absence from the public has sowed rumors and speculation ahead of an important Communist Party meeting.
Xi has often been at the center of intrigues surrounding his health and future.
His absence fueled speculation as there was an intrigue involving four senior security officials who were simultaneously jailed for corruption.
It has been suggested that he purged the Communist Party of anyone he considered “disloyal” ahead of the Congress.
At the center of the speculation is General Li Qiaoming, the most senior officer in the People’s Liberation Army.
It has been suggested he could be the one to replace Xi if there was ever an attempt to oust him.
Russia appeared on the verge of complete collapse on Saturday – until Prigozhin’s attempted coup was abruptly called off after a deal with the Kremlin.
The warlord ordered his men to stand down and told the world he was moving to Belarus after a deal was struck.
But Western officials believe this is “chapter one” of a new era for Russia — with possible Stalin-style purges looming as Putin seeks to prop up his weakened rule.
At the end of last year there were rumors in China that Jinping had been overthrown by a general.
The 70-year-old leader, who has led the vast nation for the past ten years, has, as is often the case, been at the center of intrigues surrounding his health and future.