Reports of a coup against Chinese President Xi Jinping are trending on social media, but experts have highlighted that there is no strong evidence of coup or any disturbance in China so far.
The internet is abuzz with rumors saying ‘something is up’ in China, with people’s guesses ranging from a political or military coup against President Xi Jinping to potential military activity in Western China.
The evidence quoted for such guesses includes claims of canceled passenger flights in parts of China, Xi not being seen in public for some time, and footage reportedly to be that of military vehicles moving towards the capital Beijing.
However, there is no official comment on these rumors nor any confirmed report on military movement towards the capital.
Is Xi Jinping facing a coup?
Twitter accounts with several thousands followers have shared that there has been a coup against Xi. Photographs of a successor have also emerged. However, none of these updates are from verified or credible accounts and most of these accounts are of anonymous users.
Videos of reported military movement have also emerged.
“This video of military vehicles moving to Beijing comes immediately after the grounding of 59 percent of the flights in the country and the jailings of senior officials. There’s a lot of smoke, which means there is a fire somewhere inside the CCP. China is unstable,” said author Gordon G Chang.
Defense affairs writer Saurav Jha shared on Twitter that there were no flights over Tibet Autonomous Region of China earlier on Saturday.
“Of direct concern to us here in India. Many Flights to Lhasa Gonggar are also being canceled. We have to see if there is an uptick in military air traffic over the Tibetan plateau or not,” said Jha, hinting at possible military activity in Western China that borders China, where India and China are engaged in a military stand-off for more than two years.
What experts have said?
Most of the China experts have revealed that there are no signs of the coup beyond commentary on social media, especially in Indian circles.
China expert Aadil Brar said that Xi is likely in quarantine after returning from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, which would explain his break from public matters at the moment.
Brar also released flight data showing there is no disruption of flights. He further released visuals of public briefings by senior Chinese officials, suggesting that the government is working normally.
Journalist Zakka Jacob highlighted that Xi has a powerful institutional hold over China which makes a coup unlikely.
“Lots of rumors this morning about a military coup in China. Nothing credible so far. Military coups are unlikely in China because the People’s Liberation Army comes under the Central Military Commission. Xi, as General Secretary of the Communist Party heads the CMC. The Army is that of the party, not the government,” said Jacob in a tweet.
Journalist and author Ananth Krishnan also stated that there is no evidence so far of a coup.
“While Chinese politics is the blackest of black boxes, I’ve come across zero evidence in Beijing today to substantiate any of the social media rumors,” said Krishnan on Twitter, saying that the reports have surfaced in the run up to the crucial Chinese Communist Party in which Xi is expected to get an unprecedented third term.
The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post has not published any coup or political upheaval in China at all. It has posted dozens of tweets in the last 24 hours about various crises concerning China and the world, but not even a remote hint about the reported development in Beijing.