Chinese Communist Party warns retired members not to make 'negative' political comments

The Chinese Communist Party has banned retired cadres from making "negative political speeches" in the run-up to a major leadership reshuffle later this year.

The General Office of the Central Committee issued a set of regulations - titled Strengthening Party Building among Retired Cadres in the New Era - state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.

The statement called for all party departments to ensure that retired cadres and party members "listen to the party and follow the party" and warned that "violations of disciplinary rules should be dealt with seriously".

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An unnamed spokesperson for the Central Organisation Department told Xinhua that the new rules are a response to some party members committing disciplinary offences after retirement.

The statement asks them "not to discuss the general policies of the Party Central Committee in an open manner, not to spread political negative remarks, not to participate in the activities of illegal social organisations, and not to use their former authority or position influence to seek benefits for themselves and others, and resolutely oppose and resist all kinds of wrong thinking".

The Communist Party is gearing up for the party congress, a twice-a-decade event that is expected to see President Xi Jinping being given a third term as the head of the party, making him the first person to do so after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976.

A Guangdong-based retired official said the new rules have further tightened the party's control over retired cadres.

"I think this strengthening is in preparation for the upcoming 20th national congress," said the former official, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

The official said in recent years, retired cadres who wish to live abroad are required to submit an application to resign from the Party.

"I think these various measures were implemented to prevent some retired cadres from saying things against China after leaving the country, like Cai Xia," he said.

Cai, a retired professor from the CCP's Party School, was expelled from the party and lost her pension as punishment for speeches "that damaged the reputation of the country".

In 2020, Cai, who lives in the United States, called on the Chinese leadership to change a top leader to improve ties with the West - a speech the party school described as of an "extraordinarily execrable nature".

The new rules also require retired party members to read "original works" of political theory and consciously implement Xi's theories - formally known as Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era.

"I think it is mainly aimed at officials in Beijing, who have a tradition of discussing central politics and that is in line with the party constitution," said the retired official.

"Now you can only study and follow the speeches of the top leader. Never mind criticism and opposition, even doubts are not allowed. You cannot be suspicious and you can only obey."

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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