China forms task force to check threats to party rule post Covid-19 pandemic

A paramilitary officer keeps watch in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China May 16, 2019. (Photo courtesy: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

(, Apr23’20) – Fearing turbulence from the economic fallout in the aftermath of the Clovid-19 pandemic, China’s ruling Communist Party has formed a task force of law enforcement officials to “defend political security” and “resolve conflicts related to the coronavirus outbreak,” reported Apr 22, citing the country’s official Xinhua News Agency.

The report said Guo Shengkun, a member of the party’s Politburo who heads the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, convened the group’s first gathering on Apr 21.

“We will guard against and crack down on activities that endanger state political security in accordance with the law,” Guo was quoted as saying.

While the Covid-19 outbreak has been brought under control, Chinese leaders now have to deal with frustration over the economic fallout from the government’s decision to shut down large swathes of the country for weeks. Unemployment surged to a record high in February and more pain lies ahead as the nation’s biggest trading partners face recessions of their own, the report noted.

Those who attended the Apr 21 meeting were reported to have included the most prominent officials in China’s security forces, including Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi and Minister of State Security Chen Wenqing, signaling the importance the government has placed on the initiative.

The report noted that early in the crisis, President Xi Jinping had warned that the virus posed a threat to “social stability.”

The report also noted that earlier this month, dozens of shop had owners protested in Wuhan – the city hardest hit by the virus – to demand a cut in rent, while people clashed violently on the border of the larger Hubei region when its quarantine was lifted last month.

Protecting its rule is the primary concern of the Communist Party of China which was previously known to spend more money on maintaining internal security than on external national defence. The Chinese leaders are keenly aware that bad economic numbers represent the biggest threat to the party rule, as evident from the fall of numerous autocratic leaders and ruling cliques across the world in recent decades.


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