Rumors of a possible military coup in Beijing have been published by the Washington Times.
U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring China’s Internet say that from March 14 to Wednesday bloggers circulated alarming reports of tanks entering Beijing and shots being fired in the city as part of what is said to have been a high-level political battle among party leaders – and even a possible military coup.
The Internet discussions included photos posted online of tanks and other military vehicles moving around Beijing.
The Wall Street Journal has an opinion piece on the same topic.
The Western commentariat likes to praise Chinese leaders as more intelligent and decisive than those chosen by democratic elections. Sometimes that may be true. But when was the last time rumors of a coup in Washington or London moved markets? The endless chanting of the “protect stability” mantra by Communist Party functionaries is a reminder that the regime is constantly on guard against attempts by its own members to usurp power.
When you get right down to it, what are China’s leadership transitions if not palace coups on a regular schedule? That’s not a stable institution. It’s an invitation, sooner or later, for tanks in the streets.
I am thinking if this is real there would have been more chatter about it since Tuesday. On the other hand, the Chinese government has been spectacularly good about controlling the media so anything is possible.
(Credit for the featured image goes here.)