The governor of China’s Sichuan province has been removed from his post. Accused of being disloyal to the ruling Communist Party—and violating “party discipline”—Wei Hong joins many other top officials who have been sidelined in an increasing consolidation of power by president Xi Jinping.
In a statement on its website, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection stated that Wei had been disloyal and dishonest and had failed “to value the many opportunities to receive education and rectify his wrongdoing.” It provided no specific accusations against him.
As Quartz has previously reported, Xi appears to be combining an anti-corruption campaign with a political purge, removing those who don’t sufficiently show their loyalty to him. At least one powerful official (and sometimes many more) has fallen from grace in each of China’s 31 provincial-level divisions since Xi initiated his anti-corruption campaign after taking control at the end of 2012. Wei, unusually, was accused not of corruption, but of disloyalty. And he was merely demoted, not expelled completely from party duties.
The commission also announced an investigation into Liu Zhigeng, a vice governor of the Guangdong province, again giving no details about his alleged violation.
Wei might have fallen too much under the sway of Xi’s predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, Willy Lam, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the AP.
Meanwhile Xi’s image seems increasingly ubiquitous in China, on everything from billboards to newscasts, bringing to mind how the nation’s propaganda machinery was used in decades past.
“This is a warning to party members that they can lose their place,” Lam said. “It is an alarming development in the personality cult around Xi.”