Head of President Xi’s Bodyguard Unit on White House Banquet List

Jeremy Page reports: The head of the secretive bodyguard unit that protects Chinese President Xi Jinping made a rare foray into the public spotlight on Friday, being put on the guest list for the state dinner at the White House.

The official guest list for the event names “His Excellency Wang Shaojun,” identifying him as “Chief, Central Security Bureau” among the invited attendees for the dinner, which followed Mr. Xi’s summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama earlier in the day.

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Maj. Gen. Wang’s appointment to the bodyguard post has never been announced publicly by Chinese authorities, although Hong Kong media reported it in March, citing anonymous sources. The White House list confirms Maj. Gen. Wang’s position within an inner circle of trusted aides and advisers to Mr. Xi who see him almost every day and play an increasingly important role in Chinese politics.

The Central Security Bureau, also known as the Central Guard Bureau, is thought to command several thousand elite troops who protect top leaders and their families, according to experts on the Chinese military.

Its commander has always occupied a politically sensitive and influential position, given the bureau’s access to the top leadership. The post is considered to have become more so since Mr. Xi launched an anticorruption campaign that has led to the detention of more than 30 generals and several senior civilian Communist Party figures.

“I think the point with Wang Shaojun is that Xi has managed to put his own guy in charge of that unit so quickly,” said Christopher Johnson, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst who is now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“I see it much more as a sign of strength” than an indication of concern about a security threat, he said. It’s unusual, he said, for the head of the unit to accompany the Chinese president on overseas visits….(read more)

Source: WSJ



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