Rumors of a Chinese coup have been circulating in recent days in the wake of widespread flight delays at Beijing Airport and a major military buildup in Beijing. Numerous sources claim that President Xi Jinping has been removed from office and placed under house arrest by the PLA. Nothing has been confirmed yet, however, and the rumors are likely false.
Several Chinese social media accounts have claimed in recent days that Xi Jinping has been stripped of his military authority and placed under house arrest. The “coup” reportedly took place while the Chinese Premier was in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference. While Jinping was in Samarkand, his critics in the party reportedly urged the party’s top leadership to remove Jinping from his position as army commander.
So far, there has been no official confirmation from the Chinese Communist Party or state media.
“An intriguing new rumour: is Xi under house arrest in Beijing? When Xi was in Samarkand recently, Chinese Communist Party leaders were expected to remove Xi from his position as party chief in charge of the army. House arrest followed. Former cabinet member and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted that the rumor was true.
New Rumor to Check: Is Xi Under House Arrest in Beijing? When Xi was in Samarkand recently, Chinese Communist Party leaders should have removed Xi from leading the Party’s army. Then came house arrest. That’s the rumor.
— Subramanic Swamy (@Swamy39) September 24, 2022
A number of Chinese Twitter users have also posted about Xi Jinping’s apparent house arrest. Many claimed that the PLA had taken command of the army. Some have even hypothesized that Li Qiaoming was appointed Chinese President.
According to News Highland Vision, former Chinese President Hu Jintao and former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on former Politburo Standing Committee member Song Ping to take control of President Jinping’s Central Guard Bureau (CGB).
The Central Guard Bureau is a specialized organization responsible for protecting high-ranking party members like Jinping, their families and notable foreign dignitaries in China.
Allegedly, the Politburo Standing Committee removed Xi’s military agencies when Jinping lost control of the CGB.
Upon learning of the development, Xi Jinping immediately went to Beijing, but was rumored to have been arrested at the airport on September 16 and placed under house arrest in Zhongnanhai. Notable is the fact that Zhongnanhai in Beijing houses the central headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party, the State Council of China and the Chinese Premier’s office, among other things. It is also said that former Chinese President Hu Jintao controls the current situation in China.
A video widely circulated on social media is said to show a significant detachment of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army leaving for Beijing in an 80-kilometer convoy.
Chinese activist Wanjun Xie, among many others, published this claim along with the video. He explained that the front of the convoy reached Huailai in Beijing and the rear reached Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, making the convoy 80 kilometers long.
However, the accompanying video is less than a minute long and shows few military vehicles on the road, so the claim of a 80-kilometer military convoy cannot be verified.
#PLA military vehicles towards #Beijing On 22nd of September. Beginning in Huanlai County near Beijing and ending in Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province, entire procession over 80 km long. The rumor is now going around #Xi Jinping was arrested afterwards #CCP Seniors removed him as head of the PLA pic.twitter.com/hODcknQMhE
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) September 23, 2022
Large-scale flight cancellations at Beijing Airport also added to the speculation. About 6,000 flights were reportedly canceled at the airport, with claims that flights over Beijing were canceled due to military action over the coup. According to other sources, 6,000 aircraft were canceled instead of 60 percent.
While other claims are difficult to verify due to the difficulty in obtaining information from China, this claim is easy to verify as flights can be tracked on multiple websites. And we have found that the cancellation claims are accurate. According to flight tracking website flightradar24, Beijing Capital International Airport has almost ground to a halt with comparatively few flights arriving and departing from the airport.
The portal also notes that a significant number of scheduled flights at the airport have either been canceled or their status is unknown. However, the website notes that other major airports in China, including Shanghai and Hong Kong, are operating properly.