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龍女CHANG, HSIU-FEN

最近中國政府完成十年換屆,啟動習李體制。國內、外的報導/評論相當多。轉貼幾篇做為參考。中國的發展勢必影響亞洲和全球。故開此欄。



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薄熙來事件:葉爾欽效應前奏? - M. Pei
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Do China’s Communists Face a Yeltsin?

 

Minxin Pei, 03/17/12

 

The open ambitions of rising political star Bo Xilai were partly responsible for his fall. But the frustrations that fueled his popularity could come back to haunt the Party.

 

The fall of Bo Xilai, until recently the Communist Party chief of Chongqing and a leading contender for a seat on the party’s next Politburo Standing Committee, may have shocked many, but it shouldn’t. The writing was already on the wall a month ago when Bo’s right-hand man, Chongqing’s police chief, apparently sought political asylum in the American consulate in Chengdu (and presumably gave the Americans invaluable information on a wide range of sensitive subjects). Although Bo himself kept a brave face and went about his business as usual, his political rivals were already busy plotting the least disruptive way of easing him out of power.

 

In retrospect, Bo’s sudden political demise may seem inevitable. But the reason most often cited for his fall – his leftist-leaning Maoist revival ideological campaign – was probably only a secondary cause. To be sure, Bo’s “singing red and striking black” campaign recalled the worst aspects of the dreaded Maoist rule – leftist populism, personality cult, and political terror. Yet, for a few years, nobody lifted a finger to stop him. On the contrary, most sitting members of the Politburo Standing Committee visited Chongqing to endorse the so-called “Chongqing Model,” boosting Bo’s political stock.

 

What finally did Bo in was a combination of two factors, one political and the other accidental.

 

On the political front, the most critical cause was the fear and revulsion Bo’s ambition and style struck among his peers in the Communist Party hierarchy. Through his populist tactics and unabashed public campaign for a top leadership position, Bo broke several important taboos. A cardinal rule governing the behavior of Chinese elites is political modesty and restraint. “A nail sticking out gets hammered back in” still applies. Even inside the top hierarchy of the party leadership, self-promotion for a top leadership is seen as vulgar. Because in the Chinese system only the party can confer power and prestige, any individual who aggressively seeks it, however well-connected he may be, is bound to frighten and alienate his comrades. Ironically, the higher such an individual rises, the harder he falls. Thus, as Bo seemed to have gained an advantage in the leadership race, his rivals struck back. They had to – if they wanted to prevent a Mao-like figure from ascending to the top. Because membership on the Politburo Standing Committee confers practical political immunity, Bo had to be stopped before it was too late.

 

The accidental factor was the bizarre episode involving Bo’s right-hand man, Wang Lijun, the former police chief. Wang’s attempt to seek political asylum inside the American consulate really sealed Bo’s fate. In announcing Bo’s dismissal, the party’s organization chief mentioned only one thing: Bo’s culpability in Wang’s attempted defection. Aside from the secrets he must have given the Americans in the hope of gaining protection, Wang, a vice minister level official, brought immense shame to the party. The incident may even be compared to the infamous “9/13 incident,” the attempted defection to the Soviet Union by Mao Zedong’s anointed successor, Lin Biao, in September 1971.

 

Had Wang not forced the top leaders’ hands by exposing the rift inside the top leadership, Bo’s exit from power could have been more graceful. He would have retained his Chongqing position until the party congress in the fall and then fade away into a comfortable retirement.

 

Now that Bo is history, the party has to move on.

 

Obviously, the shortlist for the next Politburo Standing Committee has to be redrawn. In all likelihood, Bo’s elimination from the race should make the process less contentious and may help produce a more “harmonious” new leadership team. However, the damage to the party’s prestige by this episode is incalculable. Since the Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989, the party has worked hard to maintain a façade of unity within the top leadership. A key lesson drawn by the party from the Tiananmen catastrophe was that political infighting among top leaders emboldened pro-democracy protesters and paralyzed the party’s decision-making process. Splits within the leadership must be avoided at all cost. The Bo incident shows that the divisions within the party are real and deep. At the moment, it’s unclear what Bo’s friends and backers will do, but they surely must not have been very happy with this dramatic turn of events. An intriguing question is whether Bo and his supporters have enough staying power to make a comeback during a future political crisis and take on the Party. Could Bo turn into a Chinese Boris – Boris Yeltsin, that is?

 

More importantly, Bo’s departure from the political scene has clarified the strategic choices facing the party. Had Bo succeeded in getting a coveted spot on the Politburo Standing Committee, the leftist-populist elements in the party and Chinese society might have a representative advocating their cause (whether Bo would do so is an entirely different matter). With Bo gone, the party’s new leadership will have to pick one of the two paths that now lay ahead. One is to stay the course, maintaining one-party rule and trying to sustain economic growth under the state-capitalist model. The other is to revive reform, not just economic reform but also democratization.

 

The first path seems increasingly untenable. One reason Bo’s leftist populism had so much appeal was not that ordinary Chinese people were yearning for a return to the dark Maoist era, but that they were fed up with the status quo. Bo’s political antics struck a powerful populist chord because he learned how to exploit the pent-up social frustrations generated by the current political system. If the party’s new leadership doesn’t alter the country’s present course, such frustrations will continue to grow and create opportunities for ambitious politicians like Bo to exploit in seeking power. The difference is, of course, when such opportunities occur in the future, people like Bo could be leading a radicalized opposition with mass popular followings – a nightmarish scenario the Communist Party should do everything to avoid.

 

http://the-diplomat.com/2012/03/17/do-china%E2%80%99s-communists-face-a-yeltsin/



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中國政改展望 -- M. Jacques
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China's path to reform

 

The west presumes there is little discussion and argument in Beijing over policy. This is wrong.

 

Martin Jacques, 03/18/12

 

Last week's dismissal of Bo Xilai, the party secretary of Chongqing province, casts this autumn's Chinese Communist party congress, with the anticipated replacement of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao by Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, in a dramatic new light.

 

Bo Xilai, son of a former Communist party leader and veteran of the Long March, has been exploiting his office for a thinly veiled campaign for a place on the party's nine-member standing committee that runs China. His fall was triggered when his righthand man in Chongqing, the police chief Wang Lijun, sought refuge in the American consulate in Chengdu, claiming that his life was under threat from Bo.

 

From that moment, Bo's career was in doubt. The coup de grace was delivered by Wen at a press conference at the annual National People's Congress, when he warned that China risked another "historical tragedy" like the cultural revolution and that the Chongqing party had to "seriously reflect on the Wang Lijun incident". Bo's dismissal followed almost immediately.

 

It is not surprising that tensions in the Chinese Communist party should be running high at this time. The forthcoming congress will decide who will run China for the next 10 years. Profound policy questions are at stake. After 30 years of extraordinary economic growth, China is the world's second-largest economy and a major global power. It is a very different country from the one in which Deng Xiaoping launched his reforms: fundamental changes now confront the new leadership.

 

First, the era of cheap labour and low value-added production is coming to an end as the economy becomes increasingly sophisticated: a major shift in economic strategy is under way.

Second, China has acquired a panoply of global interests that require its foreign policy, presently based on keeping itself to itself, to be rethought.

Third, the enormous growth in social inequality, combined with mounting corruption, has fostered a sense of grievance that, if unchecked, could threaten the country's stability. And

fourth, major political reform must be instituted.

 

Debate and argument is no stranger to Beijing. When a country is growing at around 10% per annum, it is constantly throwing up huge new problems that demand solution. It is a far cry from the situation in western countries, where economic stagnation has produced a sterile and backward-looking political debate. There is a presumption in the west that there is little discussion and argument in China. This is quite wrong: it would be impossible to go through the kind of change that China has experienced without it provoking major debates and conflicts. And because China now faces the need for a major policy shift on several fronts, this has been intensifying. Beijing is currently home to the world's most interesting debates.

 

Could the conflicts get out of hand? Wen's reminder about the lessons of the cultural revolution was patently a reference to Bo Xilai's conduct in Chongqing, where he has been accused of ignoring legal procedures in the name of a crackdown on organised crime, using torture to extract confessions, and targeting powerful businesspeople who are not his allies.

 

He has combined this with a populist political campaign that has carried distant echoes of the cultural revolution. China has come a long way since those dark days, when lawlessness and arbitrary authority reigned, not to mention the many who lost their lives. If not the rule of law, there is certainly now a much much greater respect for due procedure. But the revelations about Bo's behaviour indicate that old attitudes and practices still persist, and are perhaps even widespread, and could – under certain circumstances – provide the basis for a serious political regression.

 

More likely, however, is that the process of growing political accountability and openness, which has been such a marked characteristic of the last three decades, will continue and deepen. This is not to suggest that China is on the verge of introducing universal suffrage and a multiparty system, which is the knee-jerk western response to any mention of political reform. Any such prospect can be discounted. This, we should remind ourselves, is a political regime that has enjoyed extraordinary success, the most successful in the world over the last thirty years. Political reform will be gradual and cautious.

 

We can already detect some of its characteristics. Unlike any previous party congress, clear differences have emerged in public between rival candidates for the new standing committee. The constraints on the media have been considerably loosened over the last several years, while the internet has provided, except on the most sensitive issues, a platform for a convulsive and hard-hitting debate.

 

If the new leadership were to heed Wen's words last week, then we can expect something more far-reaching.

 

"We must press ahead with both economic reform and political structural reform," he urged,

 

"especially reform in the leadership system… Without successful political structural reform, it is impossible for us to fully institute economic structural reform and the gains we have made in this area may be lost," he said.

 

For a Chinese leader, these are strong words.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/18/china-path-to-reform-argument

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後毛澤東黨內共識受考驗 - D. Pilling
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The threat to the post-Mao consensus

 

David Pilling, 03/21/12

 

The last emperor of China was Mao Zedong. One of Deng Xiaoping’s most important achievements after Mao’s death was to rid the system of an all-powerful head, the charismatic figure around which the whole system revolved. The Mandate of Heaven perished in 1976, which is why the pre- and post-Maoist political systems have almost nothing in common despite the fact that they were both nominally communist.

 

Deng, the architect of China’s Reform and Opening, was powerful, to be sure, but less quixotically so than Mao. So wary was he of the cult of personality, he actively discouraged busts or portraits in his likeness. Jiang Zemin, who emerged as Deng’s successor in the early 1990s, had less power still than Deng. The current leader, the colourless and robotic Hu Jintao, is weaker than all of them. The purge of charisma is complete. Or at least it was until Bo Xilai burst on to the scene.

 

Post-Mao, China has instead built a meritocratic collective leadership that rules by consensus. That consensus is forged within the nine-member standing committee, which stands at the apex of the system, and the 25-member politburo of which Mr. Bo is still a member. Beyond that, there is the wider Communist party, the People’s Liberation Army and various branches of the bureaucracy.

There is even a place, up to a point, for public opinion. The Communist party leadership is highly sensitive to criticism, these days voiced mainly in cyberspace, whether it be related to corruption, pollution, incompetence or inequality. Sometimes it chooses to crush dissent, certainly when it challenges the legitimacy of the party itself. But in other instances – for example, anger over a petrochemical plant in Dalian or a train crash in Wenzhou – it can be surprisingly receptive to public outrage.

 

Elements of China’s modern state resemble the imperial bureaucratic system that was regulated by means of a meritocratic examination system. In the modern version, Communist party cadres vie for top positions over years, if not decades, as they work their way through some of the country’s most challenging administrative and political positions. Thus Wang Yang, who began his career in a food-processing factory, was able to move through the Communist party youth league and the undoubted excitements of the sports bureau of Anhui province, before gaining a foothold in Anhui’s political hierarchy. Today, several testing jobs later, he is party secretary of Guangdong province and stands on the verge of a nomination to the all-powerful standing committee.

 

Such a rigorous system can produce highly competent leaders, precisely the people who, for all their faults, have steered the economy through 30 years of spectacular growth. But that technocratic, consensus-driven system is now under strain. The challenge comes from both inside and outside the party.

 

Mr. Bo, until last week party secretary of Chongqing, is the most dramatic manifestation of the challenge from within. That was the reason he had to go. Like Mr. Wang, Mr. Bo also rose from the bottom ranks of the Communist party hierarchy, despite the fact that he was the “princeling” son of one of the eight immortals of Mao’s revolutionary generation. Mr. Bo eventually achieved prominent positions in Dalian, Liaoning and Chongqing, from where he had been plotting his assault on the standing committee.

 

Mr. Bo’s main crime, allegations of brutality and corruption aside, was the fact that much of his power derived not from the party but from his own popularity. With his red songs and populist slogans, he smacked too much of Maoist charisma politics. That came with echoes, in the words of Wen Jiabao, the premier whose speech last week finished Mr. Bo off, of the “historic tragedy of the Cultural Revolution”. This is what forced the party to lift what Jon Huntsman, former US ambassador to Beijing, calls the “velvet curtain” and expose the infighting behind the façade of party unanimity.

 

There are other challenges to the consensus from within the party apparatus, which is too big and too complex always to speak with one voice. In 2010, for example, elements within the system, including former generals, pushed a harder line on the South China Sea. Years of “smile diplomacy”, which had persuaded Asian neighbours of China’s unthreatening rise, were jeopardised and the party spent much of last year trying to repair the damage.

 

There are also pressures from outside the party. As the urban middle class gets more comfortable, it has begun to campaign on issues from the siting of nuclear power plants to the incompetence of local officials. Even in villages, most notably Wukan in Guangdong province, people have grown more used to challenging party corruption.

 

These are just some of the pressures that the party faces as it tries to negotiate a once-in-a-decade political transition and a once-in-a-generation economic elision from an investment-led to a consumption-led model. Mr. Bo’s great crime was to expose the illusion of party unity in the face of such momentous challenges.

 

A recent article by Xi Jinping, the man most likely to replace Mr. Hu as president, spells out the need for the party to rein in the system. Without naming Mr. Bo, Mr. Xi urges fellow leaders not toplay to the crowd or toseek fame and fortune”. Instead, he says, policy “should be decided according to collective wisdom and strict procedure”. Beyond that, he implies, lies chaos.

 

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3397c308-71c4-11e1-b853-00144feab49a.html#axzz1psDidXfP

 



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