Beijing: In a veiled attack on Chinese President Xi Jinping, a letter, reportedly written by the Communist Party of China's (CPC) leading cadres, discusses the issues of personality cult and makes such recommendations in the letter which are detrimental to the rule of the CPC and will ultimately pose threat to Xi's power.

It appeared through social media and was then picked up by various non-mainstream Chinese media. This letter dated August 22 appeared to be first posted by a Twitter account on August 25 and the latest engagements of the account show that it is highly anti-Xi.

The writers of this letter have been termed Communist Party of China (CPC) elders in some articles and Twitter posts. CPC elder was a term used to describe Chen Yun, Peng Zhen, Bo Yibo (Former Chinese politician Bo Xilai's father), and even Xi's father Xi Zhongxun. A few other CPC elders were also consulted before Deng Xiaoping, who was the most powerful CPC leader, called the shots in the 80s and 90s.

Whereas these three members of the CPC, although old in age, do not appear to be party members in important positions. However, the content of the letter merits a deeper look because it comes from people who are veteran party members and are still living in China (according to a prominent Chinese human rights defender website's post). The post also says that they are currently under strict surveillance and may be in personal danger but they are ready for anything.

Non-mainstream Hong Kong media states that these three party members are residents of Handan City, Hebei. The letter mainly calls for reforms in the existing system and greater responsibility and accountability. It also tries to make a veiled attack on the personality cult Xi has been trying to build for himself.

The letter makes two recommendations. First is to remove the sentence in the Party Constitution's General Outline section: "Party, government, military and civilian affairs, in the east, west, north, south, and the center, the party leads everything."

The letter says that this phrase first appeared during the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong's instructions so as to restore order as soon as possible but has no wider meaning. It says that quotations from the past should not guide today's practice.

It also says that the reach and power of party committees are unreasonably vast which has led to leading cadres of the party being corrupt whereas CCDI should publicize the details of the personal property of the leaders.

The election of deputies to the people's congress is obviously the responsibility of the people's congress, but for a long time, the party committee has been arranging all the nominations of deputies.

The constitution stipulates that deputies to the people's congress have the right to hold officials accountable for performing their duties but none of this is there in practice and party committees overpower everything. It also talks about the inability of the judiciary to hold any official accountable during the initial outbreak of Covid and instead the whistle blower Dr Li Wenliang from Wuhan was silenced.

It says that "The party leads everything" does not make sense and is not logical. In Ancient and modern times, neither in China nor in foreign countries, no organization has ever been authorized to "lead everything", and no one can "lead everything".

The letter proposes to add the following section to the constitution: "All public powers must be legally authorized and operate in an open and transparent manner within their clearly defined power margins, responsibilities, deadlines."

It calls for the addition of a section that talks about: "Use strict systems, serious assessments, and strict rewards and punishments to stop the vicious atmosphere of competing for power and profits, buying and selling officials."

The next chunk of text the letter proposes to add is Paragraph (6) of Chapter II of the Party Constitution which states: Party prohibits any form of the cult of personality. Because the sentence is too vague and superfluous. The letter suggests that it should be replaced with something stricter and concrete that every party member, especially leading cadres, must consciously set a clear line with a personality cult, criticize, boycott, and report such behaviours.

"The CCDI should promptly investigate and punish the planners and organizers of personal cult activities, and all party members and leading cadres who use their powers to engage in personality cult should be expelled from the party, and be dismissed from public office. The letter states that "The cult of personality is something related to the rise and fall of a country." A simple "prohibition" cannot stop the ambitions of conspirators, nor can they stop the attempts of ulterior motives to flatter and seek promotion," the Paragraph adds.

The letter finally states that they believe a strong pressure to enforce the law must be maintained otherwise, the cult of personality is likely to be revived, and the tragedy of the Cultural Revolution may be repeated.

It should be noted that this letter does not appear to be opposing CPC's rule directly but emphasizes reforms for greater transparency and accountability (which may ultimately harm CPC's rule).