Rumors of Chinese Coup Swirl, Claim Xi Is Under House Arrest: No Official Word from Beijing Yet

Flaming rumors blazed across the globe Saturday over unsubstantiated social media reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping is under house arrest amid a military coup.

As of  Sunday morning, major news sources were not reporting any unrest in China. However, Newsweek reported the rumors claim the People’s Liberation Army has intervened to detain Xi.

Key elements in the rumors have been a number of flights canceled at Beijing’s airport and a supposed armored column moving through the country. Xi has also not been publicly seen in recent days.

Gordon Chang, an expert on the communist giant and author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” cast doubt on the reports, but wrote in a Twitter post that their emergence is a signal of something stirring the murky waters of China’s internal politics.

“The lack of news from #China over the last few hours suggests coup rumors are untrue, but whatever happened inside the #Chinese military during the last three days—evidently something unusual occurred—tells us there is turbulence inside the senior #CCP leadership,” he tweeted.

In a Saturday interview with Newsmax, Change said there are problems below the surface.

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“There’s been a lot of smoke — that says there is a fire somewhere,” Chang said.

“We don’t think that there has actually been a coup; but at this point there have been some extremely troubling developments at the top of the Communist Party, as well as the top of the People’s Liberation Army, which reports to the party. So something is terribly wrong,” he said.

Chang’s take was that some elements within China want to oust Xi and have started the rumor mill spinning as a way to weaken him.

“Xi Jinping has jailed three figures, some of them for life sentences; so that by itself roils the situation. But the mere fact that someone is trying to destabilize the regime — and that’s really, I think, the source of these rumors — says that at this point, the regime itself is going through turmoil,” Chang said.

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“They’re going to have their 20th national congress, which starts on the 16th of next month; and that’s where Xi Jinping either gets or doesn’t get his unprecedented third term as general secretary of the party — in other words, China’s ruler. And that means, I think, that we see some senior figures figure that they can try to give Xi Jinping a punch in the gut before then,” he said.

Others also said it was unlikely that a coup has taken place, including Drew Thompson, a former Department of Defense official who focused on China, Taiwan and Mongolia.


Chang said not to expect any official clarification about what is taking place in China.

“That’s not the Communist Party style,” he said, referring to a 2015 incident in which false rumors flared of unrest in Beijing.

“The Communist Party is not going to admit to the Chinese people about instability unless it is completely obvious and they have no choice but to. And we’re really not at that stage yet,” he said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.