BEIJING - In a speech in Seattle on Sept. 22, Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to change the widely shared perception that his anti-corruption campaign is actually an attempt to purge his political rivals.
The crackdown on corruption "has nothing to do with a power struggle," he said. "In this case there is no 'House of Cards,'" he joked, referring to the popular political drama about intrigue and treachery among power-hungry politicos in Washington.
Despite his attempt to cast his campaign as purely an effort to stamp out endemic corruption within the Communist Party and the government, it is widely assumed to actually indicate a ferocious political battle raging behind closed doors.
During the two and a half years since he took power, Xi has taken down a bevy of political heavyweights. Among the casualties are Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee who controlled oil interests, and two former top military officers, Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong. The three were prominent figures in the powerful clique led by former President Jiang Zemin.
Xi has also engineered the downfall of Ling Jihua, a former top aide to Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao, by charging him with corruption.
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