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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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中共微調了其決策模式? - F. Sisci
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Chen case hints at crack in old consensus mold

 

Francesco Sisci, 05/18/12

 

BEIJING - The case of the blind dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who at the beginning of May escaped strict surveillance to escape house arrest and enter the US Embassy during a strategic dialogue between China and the United States, has one particular feature: Washington and Beijing reached two agreements about Chen's fate in less than 48 hours. This is unprecedented.

It is difficult for the Chinese leadership, constrained by the bonds of decision by consensus, to make fast decisions, but it happened, as during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, when within hours after the disaster, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was dispatched to the affected areas.

 

But to reach a decision (in this case, sending Chen to study to Tianjin) and then only hours later revoke it and come up with a creative idea (not exile to America, but a study program in the US) would have been impossible within the old mold of consensus politics.

 

Consensus among the top leadership is a process by which de facto most decisions, if not all, are taken unanimously. This process was initiated by Deng Xiaoping, who wanted to avoid the concentration of power China experienced with Mao Zedong and that made possible Mao's mistakes.

 

Consensus also enables the top leadership to minimize dissent at the highest echelons, since everybody is called on to agree with the majority view. Top-level dissent could breed sedition, which could create deeper fractions at lower levels.

 

The case of Chen, and the rapid succession of complicated decisions taken, leads one to conjecture that the old consensus policy is changing. On the American side, Chen's case was basically decided, we guess, by a small group of people centered on ambassador Gary Locke, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was then in Beijing, and President Barack Obama.

 

A similar structure was possibly at work on the Chinese side, with some chief negotiators discussing matters directly with State Councilor Dai Bingguo, Clinton's counterpart, and with President Hu Jintao.

 

Then Hu must have received a brief, a mandate from the politburo, granting him power to make decisions on some urgent matters of state security without formal meetings. The fact that the Chinese press didn't move to attack the Americans afterward further confirms the "power of attorney" granted to Hu.

 

It is impossible to think that Hu has the absolute power of Mao. The dispersal of power to the periphery, which started after Mao's demise, has been going on for some 35 years, and it is very hard to reverse it. But what we may be witnessing is the beginning of some kind of mandate and division of power. On some decisions, the periphery can rule, on some others the politburo has to agree, but in some cases, the president has ultimate authority.

 

It is not democracy, but it seems to resemble the division of power of the Catholic Church. Priests and bishops can decide local matters; for some long-term issues, the pope may want to get the agreement of the cardinals or the bishops; but for some pressing problems, the pope will intervene directly.

 

Chen's agreement might not have been ideal, and there was and could still be backlash from some local or even central authorities. But what would you expect from an agreement cut on the fly and imposed on a Chinese structure, which may not have wanted it and certainly did not know how to handle it or what to expect? Chen's case points to the circumstance that both sides didn't want to disrupt the strategic talks.

 

What derives from this is that Hu has new clout. We can only guess, because of the timeframe, that the case of Bo Xilai (the former Chongqing Chinese Communist Party chief suspended from his post after the February 6 flight of his aide, Vice Mayor and policed chief Wang Lijun, to the US consulate in Chengdu) had something to do with Hu's new status.

 

It seems that thanks to the cleanup following Bo's case, Hu was able to muster unprecedented powers that his predecessors did not have. With these powers, Hu can start political reforms and pave the way for reunification with Taiwan, a feat that escaped even the almighty Mao.

 

However, political reforms are bitterly opposed by mid-ranking officials who see clearly that greater transparency and some division of power will expose them to local public opinion and transfer some of their sway to the center.

 

The mid-ranking officials are the ones who stand to lose the most from political reform, as they will be put under the combined pressure of the people from below and leaders from above-and thus the possibility for corruption at this level, which directly hurts the common people, should decrease.

 

It is not clearly how strongly Hu will pursue political reforms, but definitely he has incentive to do so. He may want to leave a deep historical mark for his presidency, and political reforms improve the chances of reunification with Taiwan and peaceful development for China, two clear missions for China.

 

Moreover, in this situation, a concentration and division of power will be a legacy for his successor - come autumn with the 10-year transfer of power - who will have more levers to apply his policies without being obstructed at every step by a crowd with petty vested interests.

 

Francesco Sisci is a columnist for the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore and can be reached at fsisci@gmail.com

 

(Copyright 2011 Francesco Sisci.)

 

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NE18Ad02.html



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權力鬥爭所顯示的中國現況 -- M. Jacques
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Beijing's power struggle is bigger than America's

 

The backdrop to the events surrounding Bo Xilai is provided by a huge debate about the country's future.

 

Martin Jacques, 04/12/12

 

The news that Bo Xilai has been stripped of his positions on the Communist Party Politburo and Central Committee and that his wife, Gu Kailai, is being held on suspicion of murdering a British businessman has added a dramatic new twist to a story that first began to break in February. The dismissal of Bo, the former Chongqing party chief, surely marks the end of his political career. It also suggests that the path to the crucial Communist Party Congress in the autumn, when, in effect, a new President and Premier will be elected and seven of the nine-member standing committee that runs China will be replaced, could run somewhat smoother.

 

What does the Bo affair tell us about China? The very fact that so much of it has entered the public domain – and in real time, as opposed to long after the event – is a sign that it is now far more difficult to keep these things under wraps. The growth of the internet, microblogs and a more lightly censored media mean that Chinese society is far more open and porous than was previously the case. The manner in which Bo Xilai was conducting a thinly-veiled public campaign for a seat on the standing committee is further evidence of this: different leaders are for the first time becoming associated in the public mind with different, competing political positions. It would be an exaggeration to suggest that the party now embraces a range of political tendencies that can be publicly identified, but this is one route that a process of growing democratisation could take in the future.

 

The conflict over Bo Xilai gives us some insight into the fierce struggles that have been taking place among the party leadership about both the composition of the new leadership and the policies that it should pursue. We tend to think of China as being relatively devoid of debate and argument: nothing could be further from the truth. If an economy is growing at around 10 per cent a year – and doubling in size roughly every seven years – it is constantly throwing up huge new problems. The fact that, remarkably, this has been happening for over three decades means that China is now a profoundly different country compared even with a decade ago, let alone 30 years previously.

 

The new leadership will be confronted with four overarching issues which will define what happens to the country over the next decade and more. First, there is the challenge of shifting the centre of gravity of the economy from being labour-intensive, low value-added and export driven to one that is increasingly value-added and oriented towards domestic consumption.

 

Then there is the question of political reform. There has, in truth, been an ongoing process of political reform in China which has been largely overlooked in the West because it has not involved moves towards a Western-style democracy. The most persistent advocate of further political reform has been Premier Wen Jiabao, who renewed his call when he questioned developments in Chongqing last month, thereby precipitating Bo Xilai's downfall. What he seems to have in mind is extending village elections to towns and counties and continuing the process of greater openness and transparency.

 

The two most incendiary issues in China are corruption and inequality. There is a widespread view among many Chinese that a large proportion of the new rich have obtained their new-found wealth as a result of corruption involving illicit deals between government officials and private business. Such views undermine respect for the government's economic policy and weaken its legitimacy. While economic growth is so buoyant – and living standards are rising rapidly – this resentment is unlikely to boil over, but it could well be the source of instability in the future. Given that corruption and inequality have continued to grow apace, it poses the question of whether the party and government have the will to tackle the issue – or whether the problem is now too deep-rooted and intractable.

 

Finally, the new leadership will face the increasingly urgent challenge of articulating a new foreign policy. Ever since Deng Xiaoping set out the parameters of 30 years ago – gearing foreign policy to economic growth and the reduction of poverty – it has, in its essentials, remained little changed. China may still be poor, but it is no longer weak; furthermore, it has a rapidly expanding portfolio of global interests. Already a fascinating debate is under way about what might constitute that new foreign policy.

 

The backdrop to the events surrounding Bo Xilai's political demise, then, is provided by a huge and fascinating debate about the country's future. It is no exaggeration to suggest that the Chinese Communist Party Congress this autumn is likely to be of greater consequence to the world than the American presidential election with which it will more or less coincide.

 

Martin Jacques's 'When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order' is published by Penguin Books

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/martin-jacques-beijings-power-struggle-is-bigger-than-americas-7637294.html
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胡卜凱

中共中央先前迅速處理薄熙來事件,除了我先前所說的「維穩」因素外,昨天新華社宣佈他被撤除所有黨職,「立案調查」,顯示黨內路線鬥爭暫時告一段落。從習、李最近的談話以及這個訊息看來溫體制的穩定改革路線會延續到下一屆領導班子

 

不論中共中央未來選擇「重慶模式」或「廣東模式」,在政治和經濟活動及運作上,中國社會需要一定程度的開放,才能持續發揮(文化,尤其是經貿和科技)蓬勃發展的動力。站在期望中國政局穩定和朝政治改革方向前進的立場,我自然對今天的形勢感到欣慰。



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中共黨內路線之爭 - J. Garnaut
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The Revenge of Wen Jiabao

 

John Garnaut, 03/29/12

 

The ouster of Chongqing boss Bo Xilai was 30 years in the making -- a long, sordid tale of elite families and factions vying for the soul of the Chinese Communist Party.

 

If Premier Wen Jiabao is "China's best actor," as his critics allege, he saved his finest performance for last. After three hours of eloquent and emotional answers in his final news conference at the National People's Congress annual meeting this month, Wen uttered his public political masterstroke, reopening debate on one of the most tumultuous events in the Chinese Communist Party's history and hammering the final nail in the coffin of his great rival, the now-deposed Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai. And in striking down Bo, Wen got his revenge on a family that had opposed him and his mentor countless times in the past.

 

Responding to a gently phrased question about Chongqing, Wen foreshadowed Bo's political execution, a seismic leadership rupture announced the following day that continues to convulse China's political landscape to an extent not seen since 1989. But the addendum that followed might be even more significant. Indirectly, but unmistakably, Wen defined Bo as man who wanted to repudiate China's decades-long effort to reform its economy, open to the world, and allow its citizens to experience modernity. He framed the struggle over Bo's legacy as a choice between urgent political reforms and "such historical tragedies as the Cultural Revolution," culminating a 30-year battle for two radically different versions of China, of which Bo Xilai and Wen Jiabao are the ideological heirs. In Wen's world, bringing down Bo is the first step in a battle between China's Maoist past and a more democratic future as personified by his beloved mentor, 1980s Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang. His words blew open the facade of party unity that had held since the massacres of Tiananmen Square.

 

This October, the Communist Party will likely execute a once-in-a-decade leadership transition in which President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen hand over to a new team led by current Vice President Xi Jinping. The majority of leaders will retire from the elite Politburo Standing Committee, and the turnover will extend down through lower tiers of the Communist Party, the government, and the military. Wen hopes his words influence who gets key posts, what ideological course they will set, and how history records his own career.

 

Wen Jiabao and Bo Xilai have long stood out from their colleagues for their striking capacities to communicate and project their individual personalities and ideologies beyond the otherwise monochromatic party machine. The two most popular members of the Politburo, they are also the most polarizing within China's political elite. They have much in common, including a belief that the Communist Party consensus that has prevailed for three decades -- "opening and reform" coupled with uncompromising political control -- is crumbling under the weight of inequality, corruption, and mistrust. But the backgrounds, personalities, and political prescriptions of these two crusaders could not be more different.

 

Bo has deployed his prodigious charisma and political skills to attack the status quo in favor of a more powerful role for the state. He displayed an extraordinary capacity to mobilize political and financial resources during his four and a half year tenure as the head of the Yangtze River megalopolis of Chongqing. He transfixed the nation by smashing the city's mafia -- together with uncooperative officials, lawyers, and entrepreneurs -- and rebuilding a state-centered city economy while shamelessly draping himself in the symbolism of Mao Zedong. He sent out a wave of revolutionary nostalgia that led to Mao quotes sent as text messages, government workers corralled to sing "red songs," and old patriotic programming overwhelming Chongqing TV.

 

From his leftist or "statist" perch, Bo has been challenging the "opening and reform" side of the political consensus that Deng Xiaoping secured three decades ago. Wen Jiabao, meanwhile, who plays the role of a learned, emphatic, and upright Confucian prime minister, has been challenging the other half of Deng consensus -- absolute political control -- from the liberal right. He has continuously articulated the need to limit government power through rule of law, justice, and democratization. To do this, he has drawn on the symbolic legacies of the purged reformist leaders he served in the 1980s, particularly Hu Yaobang, whose name he recently helped to "rehabilitate" in official discourse. As every Communist Party leader knows, those who want a stake in the country's future must first fight for control of its past.

 

Until last month Bo appeared to hold the cards, with his networks of princelings -- the children of high cadres -- and the gravitational force of his "Chongqing Model" pulling the nation toward him, while Wen's efforts had produced few practical results. Bo earned his reputation as a rising star until Feb. 6 when his police chief and right-hand man, Wang Lijun, drove to an appointment at the local British consulate to shake his official minders and then veered off and fled for his life down the highway into the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. He carried with him allegations of sordid tales of Bo family criminal behavior including in relation to the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, according to Western government officials. In Beijing's eyes, this was the highest-level known attempted defection in 40 years, and it occurred on Bo's watch. Wang "betrayed the country and went over to the enemy," said President Hu Jintao, according to a Chinese intelligence official.

 

Wen, the son of a lowly teacher, saw his family constantly criticized and attacked during the Cultural Revolution, and rose to power by impressing a series of revolutionary veterans. Bo, in contrast, was born to rule. The son of revolutionary leader Bo Yibo, he studied at the nation's most prestigious middle school, Beijing No. 4. Bo had not yet turned 17 when a rift between the princeling children and those with "bad class backgrounds" erupted into class warfare. In June 1966, in the early months of the Cultural Revolution, one of Bo's school mates invented the rhyming ditty that became the anthem for the princelings that led the early Red Guard movement: "The father's a hero, the son's a brave lad; the father's a reactionary, the son's a bastard."

 

The student red guards at Beijing No. 4 turned an old eating hall into a gruesome incarceration chamber for the teachers and other reactionaries they captured. They painted the popular slogan "Long live the red terror" on the wall, in human blood.

 

Within months, however, Mao directed his Cultural Revolution toward his comrades-in-arms and unleashed a coterie of lesser-born red guards against the old "royalist" ones. Bo Xilai spent six years in a prison cell. His father, Bo Yibo, was tortured. Red Guards abducted Bo's mother in Guangzhou and murdered her, or she committed suicide; if any records exist, they remain sealed.

 

Since former leader Deng Xiaoping's 1981 "Resolution on History," the Cultural Resolution has officially been a "catastrophe," but the Communist Party never explained what happened. It was left as little more than a name, signifying bad but unknown things. By raising the specter of the Cultural Revolution, Wen Jiabao has opened a crack in the vault of Communist Party history: that great black box that conceals the struggles, brutality, partial truths and outright fabrications upon which China has built its economic and social transformation. Beneath his carefully layered comments is a profound challenge to the uncompromising manner in which the Chinese Communist Party has always gone about its business. And to grasp what the Cultural Revolution means to Wen Jiabao requires taking a journey through the life of his mentor, the 1980s reformist leader Hu Yaobang who ran the Communist Party in its most vibrant era.

 

Hu Yaobang was struck down from his job at the helm of the Communist Youth League on Aug. 13, 1966, five days before Chairman Mao presided over the first mass rally of the Cultural Revolution. Detained for six weeks, Red Guards beat and abused him and forced him to stand for hours with a huge wooden placard hanging from his neck and his arms wrenched behind his back. Six weeks later, as they retired for their national holidays, they called Hu's eighteen year-old son Hu Dehua to pick him up. "I cried when I saw his appearance," Hu Dehua told me. "He told me 'don't be such a good-for-nothing, let's go home, it doesn't matter.'"

 

Hu Yaobang was already back at work when Mao died, in 1976, and the Communist Party united behind the idea of moving on from the Cultural Revolution but lacked any further road map. Appointed head of the powerful Organization Department, Hu led a crusade to "seek truths from facts" -- for ideology to yield to reality -- and to rehabilitate fallen comrades. Deng, who by 1980 had secured his position as paramount leader, elevated Hu to general secretary of the Communist Party.

 

By the early 1980s the Communist Party was rapidly retreating from everyday social life. As the economy grew, Chinese people began to enjoy a degree of personal freedoms, but the essential norms of internal party politics remained unchanged. At crucial junctures there were no enforceable rules, no independent arbiters, only power.

 

In 1985, while most elders had been appointing each other or each other's children to important positions, Hu Yaobang recruited Wen Jiabao, the teacher's son, to run his Central Office -- a position akin to cabinet secretary. The following year Hu Yaobang's elder son, Hu Deping, spoke in terms uncannily similar to Wen Jiabao's of two weeks ago. "The Cultural Revolution was a tragedy," he said to the then propaganda minister,at a time when his father was at the height of his power. "It will not appear again in the same form, but a cultural revolution once or even twice removed cannot be ruled out from once again recurring."

 

Perhaps he had an inkling of what was coming. By 1986 the tensions between an increasingly market-oriented economy and more liberal social environment began to clash with Communist Party elders' demand for absolute political control. Hu Yaobang tried to limit corruption among the elders' children, studiously ignored conservative ideological campaigns, and tolerated student protests. By the end of that year the elders had had enough.

 

Then, as during the Cultural Revolution, and as remains the case today, no rules governed Hu Yaobang's downfall; just a group of backstage power brokers who judged that he had gone too far. In January 1987, 21 years after his purging in the Cultural Revolution, party elders subjected Hu to a torrid five-day criticism and humiliation session called a "Democratic Party Life meeting." The harshest of Hu's critics was Bo Xilai's father.

 

Hu Dehua, the youngest son, lives at home with his wife in the same large but rundown courtyard home, just west of Beijing's closed-off leadership district Zhongnanhai, where he has lived nearly all of his life. His recollections about what the Cultural Revolution meant to his family and his father, Hu Yaobang, informs the story that Wen Jiabao is telling today.

 

Hu Dehua tells how his father was pained, but not surprised, when Communist Party elders used his own political demise to drive an "anti-bourgeois liberalization" campaign across China. Party apparatchiks instructed Hu Dehua to show his ideological opposition to his own father's political platform, but he refused.

 

"It was the same as 1966. If someone was said to be 'liberalized', then everyone would line up to criticize them," Hu Dehua said. "The country was turning back at a time when it should be have been democratizing and transitioning to rule of law."

 

Hu Dehua told his father how pessimistic he felt about his country's future. Hu Yaobang agreed that the methods and ideologies of the 1987 anti-liberalization movement came straight from the Cultural Revolution. But he told his son to gain some historical perspective, and reminded him that Chinese people were not joining in the elite power games as they had 20 years before. He called the anti-liberalization campaign a "medium-sized cultural revolution" and warned that a small cultural revolution would no doubt follow, Hu Dehua told me. As society developed, Hu Yaobang told his son, the middle and little cultural revolutions would gradually fade from history's stage.

 

It is fortunate, perhaps, that Hu Yaobang could not see how his death in April 1989 triggered an outpouring of public grief at Tiananmen Square, as Chinese students held him up his honesty and humanity in contrast to their perception of other leaders of the time. The protests morphed into a mass demonstration for liberalization and democratization and against growing corruption among children of the political elite.

 

Wen Jiabao remained in charge of the Communist Party Central Office, now working for Hu Yaobang's increasingly reformist successor, Zhao Ziyang. A famous photo shows Wen standing behind Zhao's shoulder as his boss declared the haunting words "I've come too late" to students who refused to leave the square. Shortly afterward, Deng and the party elders ordered in the tanks, triggering another Cultural Revolution-style convulsion and adding a new bloody file to the Communist Party's vault of history. Bo Yibo moved to have Wen purged, according to a source whose father was a minister at the time, but other elders were impressed with how Wen shifted his loyalty from Zhao (who spent the rest of his life under house arrest) and supported martial law. Wen played by the rules of a ruthless system, his family -- especially his wife and son -- leveraged his official status for their own business interests, while his career progression resumed.

 

Hu Yaobang was largely airbrushed from official history after his purge in 1987. But because he did not publicly challenge the Communist Party, he maintained his legacy and his supporters, including all of the current and likely future party chiefs and premiers: Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Xi Jinping, and Li Keqiang. All four regularly visit the Hu family home during Spring Festival. But only Wen Jiabao has publicly honored his mentor's legacy.

 

Two years ago, on the 21stanniversary of Hu Yaobang's death, Wen penned an essay in the People's Daily that was remarkable in a nation whose leaders rarely give any public hint of their personal lives. "What he taught me in those years is engraved on my heart," wrote Wen. Of the four top leaders who regularly pay homage to Hu Yaobang's old home, Wen Jiabao has the warmest connection with Hu Yaobang's widow and four children.

 

Hu taught his children to resist the idea, wired into the Communist Party psyche, that they had any particular hereditary right to high office. Nevertheless the eldest son, Hu Deping, rose to vice minister rank in the United Front Department. And last year he used his princeling heritage and networks to organize and say things that would have banished lesser-born men to jail. He published a book about his father, with a forward written by Wen. He organized a series of closed-door seminars for leading intellectuals and other princeling children of reformist leaders to try and build a consensus for reform.

 

The first and most low-key seminar, in July, ignited what became a raging public debate about Bo Xilai's "Chongqing Model" versus its possible antidote, the more liberal "Guangdong Model." The second, in August, celebrated the 35th anniversary of the arrest of Mao's radical "Gang of Four," which slammed the door shut on the Cultural Revolution just weeks after Mao's death in August 1976. The third, in September, explored the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Resolution on History, which had confirmed the Cultural Revolution as a catastrophe that must never occur again.

 

It was at the September gathering that Hu Deping set down the themes that Wen later referred to in his press conference, and published his comments on a website dedicated to chronicling the life and times of his father:

 

"The bottom line is making sure to adopt the attitude of criticizing and fundamentally denouncing the Cultural Revolution ... In recent years, for whatever reason, there seems to be a 'revival' of something like advocating the Cultural Revolution. Some people cherish it; some do not believe in the Cultural Revolution but nevertheless exploit it and play it up. I think we must guard this bottom line!"

 

The subtext, only barely concealed, was that Bo Xilai must be stopped from dragging Communist Party back toward its most radical, lawless past. How, one could be forgiven for asking, could Bo grasp for power by praising a movement that killed his own mother?

 

Hu Deping honed in on the need to forge mechanisms to institutionalize the power games between party leaders. He told his princeling and intellectual friends in the seminar audience that the remnants of feudal aristocracy -- old fashioned despotic power-- might again emerge as the party had said it had during the Cultural Revolution. He foreshadowed the ructions that are now taking place:

 

"If we really want to carry out democratization of inner-party political life, the cost is going to be enormous. Do we have the courage to accept that cost? If we do it now, there is a cost certainly. Do we dare to bear the cost? Is now the right time? I cannot say for sure. However, I think it might create some 'chaos' in some localities, some temporary 'chaos', and some localized 'chaos'. We should be prepared."

 

Hu Deping has been stepping forward, with some reluctance, to draw on his father's legacy to help shape China's future. He is a member of the standing committee of one of China's two representative-style bodies and mixes with senior leaders. He discussed the Cultural Revolution with both President Hu Jintao and his expected successor, Xi Jinping, not long before Wen Jiabao's news conference and Bo Xilai's demise, according to a source familiar with those conversations. China's politically engaged population is watching the battle now under way within the Politburo to frame the downfall of Bo Xilai and set the lessons that will shape China's future.

 

"So far we cannot identify whether Wen Jiabao is representing himself or representing a group," says a recently retired minister-level official, who had confidently predicted Bo's sacking to me 10 days before it happened. "Maybe it's 80 percent himself and 20 percent the group. We still have to watch."

 

It remains far from clear whether the Communist Party's webs of patronage and knots of financial and bureaucratic interests can be reformed. But with China's leftist movement decapitated by the purge of Bo Xilai, and Bo's critics now talking about his reign of "red terror" after daily revelations of political and physical brutality under his command, Wen has begun to win over some of his many detractors.

 

"In the past I did not have a fully positive view of Wen Jiabao, because he said a lot of things but didn't deliver," says a leading media figure with lifelong connections to China's leadership circle. "Now I realize just to be able to say it, that's important. To speak up, let the whole world know that he could not achieve anything because he was strangled by the system."

 

Hu Yaobang's most faithful protégé, who carried his funeral casket to its final resting place, is building on the groundwork laid by Hu and his children ostensibly to prevent a return of the Cultural Revolution. Wen Jiabao is defending the party line set by Deng Xiaoping's 1981 historical resolution against attack from the left. Between the lines, however, he is challenging the Communist Party's 30-year consensus from the liberal right.

 

Hu Dehua, the youngest son, spelled out the gulf between these positions in a rare Chinese media interview one month ago:

 

"The difference between my father and Deng is this: Deng wanted to save the party; my father wanted to save the people, the ordinary people."

 

Wen Jiabao sees Bo's downfall as a pivotal opportunity to pin his reformist colors high while the Communist Party is too divided to rein him in. He is reaching out to the Chinese public because the party is losing its monopoly on truth and internal roads to reform have long been blocked. Ironically, he is doing so by leading the public purging of a victim who has no hope of transparent justice, because the party to which he has devoted his life has never known any other way.

 

John Garnaut is China correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age. He is writing a book on the princelings shaping China's future.

 

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/03/29/the_revenge_of_wen_jiabao?page=0,0



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东风社会从来就是一个集体主义很强的社会
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the party clearly is no longer a political party as the term is defined in modern political science. It is not a group that seeks to represent the ideas and interests ofapartof the Chinese population. It claims representation ofthetotalityof the Chinese nation.

其实不仅中共如此吧?整个东方社会恐怕都没有西方社会这种声称代表部分人群的党。台湾分成俩大阵营,分别代表了统独俩部分人群,但去掉统独部分,你会发现他们的主张也是非常类似的。日本似乎也没有工人党农民党资本家党,即使有也没成气候吧?

至少在这点上儒家非常成功

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左右易位之中共定性 - E. X. Li
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China's opposition: redder than the Communist Party itself

 

Opposition to the Chinese Communist Party’s rule is actually coming from the left, with cries that the party has forgotten the masses and coddled the elite. Can the party co-opt this nationalist fervor to remake itself – and all of political science?

 

Eric X. Li, 08/30/11

 

China watchers are all talking about one of the most interesting recent developments in the country’s political and social scene: singing red – the revival of revolutionary songs epitomizing the leftism of the Maoist era. It began in Chongqing, a major city of 20 million in the nation’s hinterlands under the leadership of one of the country’s most enigmatic politicians, Bo Xilai. After 30 years of what many describe as capitalism in break-neck speed, old Communist revolutionary songs with their high-minded lyrics are taking the country’s public spaces and television screens by storm.

 

Many say with grave concern that it signals an imminent turn to the left as horrifying as a return to the Cultural Revolution. On the other side, some of the old guards and their new adherents, the so-called “new left,” are elated that the party has rediscovered the populist roots it seems to have abandoned in the name of economic development. Both are overly simplistic and mistaken.

 

ANOTHER VIEW: Blocking ‘peaceful evolution’ will lead to instability in China

 

To examine this phenomenon, it is critical to understand the origin and evolution of the Chinese Communist Party. At the founding of the party in 1921, the Chinese nation, after more than half a century of rapid decline, was in tatters. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 finally proved that China’s elite classes were simply too impotent and corrupt to establish a modern nation-state able to provide livelihood and security, let alone national dignity, for its people. Again, as happened many times before in China’s imperial past, the masses composed mostly of the peasantry rose to the occasion.

 

How the party rose to power

 

The difference this time was that the overwhelming trauma caused by foreign invasions of modern industrialized powers required a social movement that could utilize the power of modern ideology. It was here the Chinese Communist Party played its unique role by borrowing first Marxism and then Leninism in leading the Chinese masses in the revolution that ultimately established and consolidated the People’s Republic. The communist ideals of Marxism found resonance in China’s Confucian cultural tradition of egalitarianism, and the Leninist organizational tools effectively mobilized a peasantry that was otherwise inherently weak and disorganized.

 

As such, the party as a revolutionary organization represented the masses in its origin and this continued through much of the first 30 years of the People’s Republic (1949 – 1979) as the young nation-state consolidated its existence. In contemporary political lexicon, the Chinese Communist Party was a quintessentially leftist political force. Those who fought against it before 1949 and those who dissented to its rule thereafter were from the political right.

 

The party is actually right-leaning, pro-capital

 

Then came 1979, the year Deng Xiaoping launched China’s reform that was to change history. China’s economic success since has been widely noted, but the subsequent evolution of the party into a right-leaning pro-capital ruling party is a story the world has largely missed. This evolution was finally articulated and formalized by Deng’s successor, Jiang Zemin, in 2000. Jiang’s so-called “Theory of the Three Represents” was placed in the party’s constitution in 2002 and redefined the party as representing China’s advanced productive forces, advanced cultural forces, and the majority of the Chinese people.

 

More than 80 years after the Treaty of Versailles, a confident and dynamic Chinese nation enabled the party to move to claim representation of the country’s new elites, including business entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the party has recognized that the interests of the masses are in alignment with the interests of the elites and only in such alignment has China been able to achieve its success to date, and only in maintaining such alignment can it continue to pursue the development it needs. In this, the party has decisively transcended its dichotomous mindset of class struggle.

 

The concept of political party was imported into China from the modern West in the late 19th century. At its founding and through its struggle to gain and consolidate political power, the Chinese Communist Party was never really the same kind of political organism as the term "party" meant. It might have had the organizational trappings of a political party, but in reality it was a leftist-nationalist political movement.

 

IN PICTURES: Beijing today

 

But today the party clearly is no longer a political party as the term is defined in modern political science. It is not a group that seeks to represent the ideas and interests of a part of the Chinese population. It claims representation of the totality of the Chinese nation.

 

Instead of being a "party," it is a political coalition that governs China by encompassing a wide range of classes, interests, and ideas – arbitraging among them and thereby determining a course that serves the best long-term interest of the nation as a whole. As it originated in mass movements, this shift necessarily involves a more inclusive approach toward the elites. In short, a move from the left to the right.

 

Opposition from the left, not right

 

Then, an interesting development occurred in the 10 years since the Three Represents became official party doctrine.

 

Much of the dissension to the party’s rule has come from the left, both populists and liberal democrats. Many in the intelligentsia, much of the liberal media, and expressions on the Internet have generated waves of voices of dissatisfaction in the national condition. Their attacks are centered on the wealth gap created by the market economy, the lack of a welfare state, the commercial and technical elites that are receiving a larger share of the rapidly increasing economic pie, and the officialdom that presides over this national transformation.

 

RELATED: China's online protest movement

 

Corruption is also a significant source of complaint, but it is incidental to the overall line of attacks from the left as these conditions would be present with or without corruption.

 

So for the first time since the Soviet Union established a communist state, we have a country in which the leftists constitute the main opposition to the rule of a communist party. This is especially confusing to outside observers because traditionally in China and everywhere else opposition to communist rule had come from the political right. Sometimes it is even confusing to those inside China who would habitually call the attackers of party authority rightists. But of course, they are ultra-leftists through and through.

 

RELATED: Five famous jailed dissidents in China: Ai Weiwei to Liu Xiaobo

 

They are calling for more equal distribution of wealth even at the expense of slower economic growth. They are attacking privileges of any kind. They are seeing all social ills as results of the party’s coddling of the elites and abandonment of the masses. In fact, they started singing red long before Mr. Bo launched the movement in Chongqing. What is mistakenly viewed by many as China’s right because it opposes the party’s rule is actually on the left and redder than the Communist Party itself.

 

Can party reclaim its traditional power base?

 

Piercing through all the noises about left and right, what we see is a movement – singing red – that is in effect an effort by the party to reclaim its traditional power base that is in danger of being claimed by its dissenters in the media and the intelligentsia. And of course Bo correctly sees the same thing. Without the support of the Chinese masses, it would be impossible for China to continue on its current path of development and the self-interests of the elites themselves would be in jeopardy.

 

There are two implications of this development.

 

First, although this movement is a reaction to opposition from the left, through it the party will probably succeed in strengthening its political power. Its alliance with the masses was forged in blood and remains in its DNA. Once it decides to move in that direction, the populism of the media-intelligentsia axis is not likely to be able to out-left the Communist Party. In Chongqing, where it all began, rapid economic development seems to be synchronizing with and is even reinforced by the reaffirmation of the power of the masses. And early results of the singing-red campaign elsewhere in the country point in the same direction.

 

Second, populism everywhere is usually coupled with nationalism, and China is no exception. In the media and especially on the Internet, a vehement strain of nationalism is accompanying the populism that is challenging the Communist Party’s rule. From advocating a more aggressive military posture in the South China Sea to denouncing the Chinese government’s continued purchase and holding of US treasury bills, the duo of populism and nationalism is pressuring the party to alter its long-held policy of moderation toward the West.

 

ANOTHER VIEW: Ai Weiwei arrest: Why no one in China is safe from those in power

 

As China enters a sensitive period before the leadership transition in 2012, critical questions remain.

 

Domestically, can the party maintain the delicate balance of reclaiming its mass roots and protecting the interests of the elites that are essential for continuing economic success, which in turn ensures the long-term support of the masses?

 

Internationally, can the party tame, or even co-opt, the rising nationalist fervor while still maintaining a relatively moderate foreign policy that provides for a peaceful external environment crucial for China’s successful rise?

 

For the party itself, can it succeed in truly transcending the concept of a conventional political party and becoming a stable governing organization for the largest and fastest changing country on earth? If it does, it would forever change how China is governed and, along with it, political science itself.

 

Eric X. Li is chairman of Chengwei Capital. He is a Shanghai-based venture capitalist and scholar at Fudan University’s School of International Relations and Public Affairs.

 

© 2011 Global Viewpoint Network/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2011/0830/China-s-opposition-redder-than-the-Communist-Party-itself

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中共18大前瞻 - 中央社
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中共權力交替 18大前瞻

 

中央社, 01/27/12

 

-前瞻中共18大專題之1(中央社記者黃季寬台北特稿)2012年大陸政壇的大戲之一,是中國共產黨將舉行第18次全國代表大會(簡稱18大),進行權力交替。

 

按照中共黨章,全國代表大會和它所產生的中央委員會是中共的最高領導機關。

 

全國代表大會每5年舉行一次,職權包括:聽取和審查中央委員會及中央紀律檢查委員會的報告;討論並決定重大問題;修改黨章;選舉中央委員會;選舉中央紀律檢查委員會。

 

在全國代表大會閉會期間,中央委員會領導中共的全部工作。

 

中央委員會全體會議選舉政治局、政治局常務委員會、總書記,其中總書記必須從政治局常委中產生。

 

中央委員會全體會議還根據政治局常委會提名,通過中央書記處成員,書記處是政治局及其常委會的辦事機構。

中央委員會並且決定中央軍事委員會組成人員。

 

根據這些規定,18大的主要任務之一,就是選舉新一屆中央委員會,然後在181中全會上,產生新1屆總書記、政治局常委、政治局委員與書記處和中央軍委會成員。

 

基於總書記連任不超過兩屆及任職年齡限制等慣例,一般認為胡錦濤將在181中全會交卸總書記一職;而17屆政治局常委、政治局委員、書記處書記、中央軍委成員等,大部分也因屆齡將去職。

 

此外,由於大陸的全國人民代表大會和政治協商會議在2013年春要換屆,中共18屆政治局常委與人大、政協等領導人的變動有連帶關係,所以18大及181中全會,又關係到大陸新1任政府組成。

 

因此,18大及181中全會,將是涉及大陸黨、政、軍權力交替的重要會議,備受矚目。

 

目前,各界都認為,習近平在181中全會將接替胡錦濤擔任中共總書記,並於2013年成為國家主席,而李克強將於2013年接任溫家寶的總理職務。這些安排如無特殊意外,應會實現。

 

但是,其他的人事變化,至今並沒有透明的進展,使得18大還是很有看頭。

 

例如政治局常委會究竟維持9人還是減為7人?在未屆退休年齡的17屆政治局委員中,那幾位可以更上層樓,進入中共最高領導層的政治局常委會?

 

胡錦濤是否循例續任中央軍委主席,待黨、政權力都順利過渡後,再把軍權交給習近平?

 

大幅異動的中央軍委會,將由那些高階將領組成?

 

2013年誰將擔任新1屆人大常委會委員長、全國政協主席?

 

還有,那些人會進入政治局,成為繼習近平和李克強之後,中共更新一代的明日之星?

 

凡此,都將成為2012年大陸政治的熱門話題,不但是媒體追逐的新聞焦點,也攸關這個世界第2大經濟體的穩定和走向。1010127

 

http://news.chinatimes.com/mainland/11050501/132012012700307.html



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中共18大前的各種主義之爭 -- 泰國世界日報
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中共18大前的各種主義之爭

 

【泰國世界日報/社論】

 

中國的主義之爭,從來就沒有平息過,現在又進入新一輪主義之爭的循環,其特別背景,就是中共18大籌備召開,除人事要換屆,理論也要翻新,用什麼主義走什麼路,各派當然會有交鋒。

 

中共每一屆代表大會,會前主要進行兩方面準備,即組織準備、政治準備。所謂組織準備即人事安排,所謂政治準備則是理論更新。無論組織準備還是政治準備,都是5年一小忙、10年一大忙,因為中國高層班子,已形成兩屆一任慣例,到10年就大換班子,又大換理論。

 

今年正好是這種逢10之年,不僅人事要大大地換班,伴隨著的人事體制離去,新的政治,即包括方針路線、指導思想等等,雖說不能說換就換,但新人新氣象,也得為新的政治安排作出基礎性鋪排。於是,就有了近期的主義之爭。

 

所謂主義之爭,是說各個方面都在努力表達其政治思想,希望能影響未來的新領導層,在換馬之際換頭腦。於是不同形式的表達都已出現,有召集座談大規模造勢的,有撰文出書宣傳的,也有悄悄撰寫研究報告向領導層獻策的,還有藉各種社會事件身體力行的。

 

各種主義紛至沓來,實際上一縷即線索清晰。首先一個主流主義,叫「馬毛中三科」,即現在理論上是中共正奉行的主義,包括馬克思主義、毛澤東思想、鄧小平有中國特色社會主義理論、江澤民的三個代表重要思想,以及胡錦濤的科學發展觀。在承先啟後要求下,這些主義都作為旗幟擺在神台上,在解決現實問題、實現突破的要求下,又等待新主義面世。

 

在現實中,不同方面在宣揚不同的主義,有人宣揚三民主義,即基本上以孫中山理論為藍本的,包括民族、民權、民生內容的三民主義;有人宣揚舊民主主義,即主要是辛亥革命至五四運動以來的自由、平等、博愛,以及主權在民、民主共和為核心的民主主義;還有人宣揚中共在社會主義之前提倡的,以人民民主專政為目標的新民主主義。

 

其中最值得一看的,是回歸新民主主義的提法,由也是紅色子弟的張木生撰書提出,認定可以解決現在貧富差距、嚴重腐敗的重大政治難題和鞏固共產黨的執政地位。這一理論被認為得到前國家主席之子、現任高級將領的劉源背書,及被認為與未來領導人習近平有政治同源性,受到極大關注,當然也引起較大爭議。

 

在這些主義之外,還有兩大主義也發出強勢聲音,一種是憲政民主,其核心思想是以憲法和法律制約政府和執政黨,倡導司法獨立、軍隊國家化、保障個人權利和自由,推動民主選舉,簡而言之是憲政、民主和法治三結合的主義。目前這一主義由一批著名的公共知識分子在推動,但被執政黨視為西化、異化的聲音。

 

還有一種主義,有人稱為協商式民主,這倒跟台灣民進黨提倡不是一回事,而是中國知識界中將西方的代議制民主,與中國建立的政治協商制,試圖融合在一起,又將現實政治生活中出現的基層自治、維權、民選等政治現象,混搭起來,希望找到民主政治的第三條道路。

 

在中國現實政治生活中,各種思潮迭起,各種主義聲張,是由特別的國情所決定。一方面經濟體制改革已走過階段性進程,市場經濟體制初成,提出了經濟自由化,社會多元化的進一步要求,公民社會正在形成中。與之同時,由於政治體制改革未能同步推進,出現壟斷政治權力的乏力,只能依靠所謂「維穩」暴力來維繫。而壟斷的政治權力又在這種變形中出現深度腐敗,已到難以自救的地步。

 

更進一步來說,目前的主義之爭,又主要體現為執政黨為其執政的合法性、執政黨為其領導的政府施政的有效性,在苦苦思索改革之路。而民間以維權出發點,由人權、經濟權利而政治權利,探求變革之門。

 

值得一提的,是這些主義的交鋒暫無結果,中共18大上作政治報告的仍是胡錦濤,總結過去可能是他的主要任務。但這種主義的交鋒,勢將引領出中共18大後中國政治生態出現重大變局。

 

2012-02-28/泰國世界日報】

 

http://tw.mg30.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=3l6k1bs19hhnt

 

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太子黨與團派 -- 賴錦宏
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胡錦濤出手 平衡太子黨與團派

 

聯合報/記者賴錦宏,03/19/12

 

薄熙來被拔除重慶市委書記一職,被視為「太子黨」受衝擊。然而「太子黨」,依然牢牢掌握住這個國家機器,「太子黨」和「共青團」派間的競爭與合作仍在磨合。

 

「太子黨」是指是一群與中共「元老」、「高幹」有血緣或姻親關係的紅朝權貴子弟。在中共官場上,這群人以「革命血統」為主要的政治資本,憑藉父輩關係結黨,靠相互提攜升官。

 

遠的不說,才結束的中共全國「兩會」,就有以下的「太子黨」參與,包括李鵬子李小鵬女兒李小琳、鄧小平子鄧朴方女兒鄧楠、朱德孫朱和平等人,連習近平、薄熙來都算。

 

這些「太子黨」占據大陸國企、軍隊、社會組織和政府部門。依「血統論」,這些中共「太子黨」擁有不可質疑的權力,如同一名學者所說,曾有「太子黨」向中央要錢,理由是「這整個國家都是我父親打下來的」。因此政府是他們的、部隊是他們的,國家也是他們的。

 

「共青團」或「團派」則指一群曾經在共青團系統任職,出身自中國共青團的幹部,與胡錦濤有門生之情,成為中共當今重要的「派系」。胡錦濤、李克強、李源潮、劉延東、汪洋、周強都屬團派。

 

團派在中共「十七大」時,掌握住主要權力,尤其是李源潮擔任中組部部長,對地方諸侯和部委人事的調動,有絕對的主動權。

 

預計十八大的中央委員陣容中,團派可望占上多數,這不僅可穩住胡錦濤的聲勢,讓團派達到權力頂峰,也可以說胡錦濤即使交棒給了「太子黨」的習近平,仍能牢牢掌握局面。

 

過去「太子黨」和「團派」有競爭也有合作,未來這種競合關係會更緊密。尤其在「十八大」前夕,雙方交手會更頻繁。包括中央委員及地方諸侯,「團派」多一席,「太子黨」自然就少一席。

 

「太子黨」的作風和「團派」截然不同,習近平接班後,也必須搞「平衡」,不會也不能搞「太子黨」一言堂。預計「太子黨」依舊會掌握煤、電、石油、電信等部門。

 

但「太子黨」要真正接班,恐怕還得等習近平完全掌握住軍權。

 

http://udn.com/NEWS/MAINLAND/MAI1/6970562.shtml

 



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薄熙來事件的深入分析 - D. Guthrie
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Understanding Chinese Politics Today

 

Doug Guthrie, 03/16/12

 

In last week’s column, I wrote about the importance of having a deep understanding of history, politics and culture to appreciate the internal events in countries we do business with around the world. Reading the tealeaves of a given event in a faraway country is never easy, and this week has been an especially interesting one for China. The most important news to come out has been the ouster of Chongqing strongman Bo Xilai, the man who was sent to this provincial-level city to clean up corruption.

 

Many in the West have interpreted this as a positive sign; a sign that the “reformers” have somehow gained an upper hand. For example, The Washington Post trumpeted Bo’s ouster as a “victory for Chinese reformers”; USA Today reported that Bo’s dismissal “aims a very substantial blow to so-called leftists.” And the current era’s economic guru, Nouriel Roubini, tweeted, “China experiences ides of March as neo-Maoist leader Bo Xilai is axed. A positive sign that reformist forces are gaining an upper hand.” All of these interpretations are extremely superficial, and, unfortunately, the reality of these events are obviously more complex than our major media outlets understand them to be.

 

First, a brief foray into the past. The Chinese Communist Party has a long history of political strongmen. Indeed, Mao Zedong himself was cut from this archetypal cloth. Initially sidelined by the leadership of the Communist Party in the 1930s, Mao ignored the hierarchy and spent his time capturing the imagination of the rural population. Before the Communist Party brass knew what was happening, Mao had become the most powerful man in the country and his ascent to power could not be denied.

 

This strategic coup was repeated decades later by Mao. After the debacles of the Hundred Flowers Reform (1956-57) and the Great Leap Forward (1958-61), in which 20 million people died of starvation because of Mao’s errant economic policies, Mao was summarily dismissed by the CCP leadership, which included so-called reformers Deng Xiaoping and Liao Xiaoqi. However, Mao again turned directly to the people with symbols and ideology, launching the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.” That move tore the political and social fabric of Chinese society apart, and it allowed him to run all of his political rivals out of town (Deng spent much of the Cultural Revolution in the South, under the protection of the powerful military leader Xu Shiyou). Mao remained in power until his death in 1976.

 

Reformers have had their strongmen as well, and they, too, have ridden waves of popular sentiment to power. After the death of Mao, his chosen successor, Hua Guofeng, moved seamlessly into his position. However, in the spring of 1977, Xu Shiyou began pressuring the party to rehabilitate Deng. In July of 1977, Deng was appointed to the position of vice premier as part of a political compromise that would bring the military leader (Xu) back into the fold and consolidate the army. But Deng had a deeper reformist agenda. In the fall of 1978, when the country was shaking under the political pressure of the return of millions of Red Guard members who had been “sent down” during the Cultural Revolution, Deng rode this wave of sentiment, magnified by the Democracy Wall Movement, to power. Hua Guofeng’s rein was short-lived, as Deng established himself as China’s leader for the future, taking control of the party in December 1978 and flying to the United States to normalize U.S.-China relations in January 1979. Deng remained a political power in China until his death in 1997.

 

It is also important to note here just how complex the concept of “reformer” is in the Chinese context, at least within the last 35 years. This concept is highly dependent on the historical moment and lens through which we view a leader. Mao was always a leftist, no doubt about it. He was both an authoritarian oligarch and an anti-capitalist socialist. He believed in maximizing state control and in the elimination of private property and private incentives. Deng, in contrast, was a radical reformer when he usurped power from Mao’s heir, Hua Guofeng; although still an authoritarian (as evidenced by the Tiananmen crackdown), Deng was interested in opening up the economy to the rest of the world (jingji kaifang), and he was interested in returning private interests and incentives to the hands of individuals who might become the engine of a new capitalist economy.

 

In today’s context, given that it was Deng and his premier, Li Peng, who called in the tanks to crush the democracy movement in the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, it might seem strange to call Deng a reformer. But during the 1980s, this would have been an apt moniker. Zhu Rongji was much more oriented toward state control (via institutions like SASAC) but he has been by far the most reform-minded leader of the last 30 years, as he worked wonders in bringing the economy in closer alignment with international systems (gen guoji jiegui) and passed a battery of laws that were pregnant with individual civil liberties. The point here is that “reformer” is a complicated title, and we need to have a better understanding of Chinese politics if we are going to comment about who is winning and who is losing (especially over Twitter).

 

So is the ouster of Bo Xilai a victory for reformers? The answer, in my view, depends on three key questions:

 

(1) Where do you think Bo stands in terms of “reform” in China;

(2) What do you think of the current leadership and reform effort in China today; and

(3) What do you think Bo’s true agenda was.

 

I will try to answer each of these questions below.

 

There are basically two political factions in China today: for lack of better terms, they are the princelings and the Communist Youth League (CYL). The princelings are a generation of people who have grown up with the advantages that come from being the heirs to Chinese political families. They tend to have great advantages because of their social stations, and they use these advantages for economic and political gain. When you hear stories about some business, which is headed by such-and-such a leader who happens to be the child of such-and-such a leader, these are princeling stories. The concept has a longstanding acceptance in Chinese society, as children of the officials who lived in the hallowed real estate of Zhongnanhai (the place where government officials live next to the Forbidden City), were often referred to as Zhongnanhaide haize (The Children of Zhongnanhai). Not surprisingly, this group has been associated with a lot of corruption and nepotism, as children of officials have magically found themselves in controlling positions of major capitalist plays in the new economy. (Indeed, the widely publicized story about the princeling who pulled up to the U.S. ambassador’s residence in a Ferrari for a dinner date with the ambassador’s daughter was none other than Bo Guagua, son of Bo Xilai.)

 

The CYL group is more difficult to define. It is true that this group enjoys the same political privilege as the princeling class, but they tend to speak more about the ideology of communism. They think more about the structure of state socialism; they talk a little more openly about the redistribution of wealth and the state’s role in managing the transition to capitalism in a responsible way. That is not to say that the CYP’s hands are clean of corruption and nepotism, but their rhetoric is definitely more tilted toward gradual transition from plan to market capitalism.

 

Not everyone fits neatly into these molds. Zhu Rongji, premier of China in the 1990s and political No. 2 to Jiang Zemin, was very hard to define in the context of these factions. Jiang was clearly part of the CLY faction; and Zhu came with him to Beijing as part of the Shanghai “gang” (group). But Zhu was a technocrat through-and-through. He seemed to believe in not committing to any faction and instead thinking deeply about the future of the Chinese economy and society. Yet, he favored exercising greater state control, albeit with austere measures for budget constraints and profitability. He also was for the rule of law, the backbone supporting China’s transition to capitalism. Was he a princeling? CYL? Leftist? Rightist? All I know is that he was the best economic leader of China’s three decades of economic reform.

 

Where does Bo Xilai stand? Casual observers like Dr. Roubini, the USA Today and The Washington Post think the position is obvious: anyone launching singing campaigns of “Mao’s Red Songs” and advocating the redistribution of wealth must be a radical leftist, and his ouster is a victory for reformers. But is this superficial view correct? A deeper look reveals the fallacy of this thinking.

 

First of all, Bo is part of the princeling faction. Regardless of what he is advocating, this is his lineage. (As noted Chinese political analyst, Cheng Li, points out, the fact that Bo is going to be replaced by another princeling suggests that a deal has already been made behind the scenes vis-à-vis the détente between the CYL and princeling factions.) This isn’t full-blown proof of where his political stripes lie, but it should be clear that he is more on the side of the class that has been willing to take advantage of economic reforms for personal gain. Li Keqiang (the projected No. 2 of the future administration), on the other hand, comes from a rural family and has worked his way up through the party, taking an alternative pathway than Bo Xilai (and Xi Jinping for that matter).

 

Second, Bo’s work in Chongqing cannot easily be coded as leftist. What does that term even mean today? Does it mean the redistribution of wealth? Many in the West have argued that China has gone too far too quickly and left its poorest citizens behind. So is Bo Xilia a throwback to Hua Guofeng and Mao Zedong, simply because he is arguing that there needs to be a better social safety net than currently exists today? Absolutely not. This is a politician who believes in capitalism but also believes that China needs to put in place social provisions that take care of the aged and poor as the country makes its way down the road to capitalism.

 

What about his aggressive reforms against corruption, which have allowed some to cast him as a dyed-in-the-wool authoritarian? Here again, the circumstances are not so simple: Is he an authoritarian because he has put more people in jail for corruption in Chongqing, which has become one of the most corrupt cities in all of China? Actually, this is an individual who has moved aggressively against the corrupt and nepotistic practices that gave Chongqing its reputation. Yes, he has surely trampled individual civil liberties in the process, but many in Chongqing say they sleep easier at night knowing gangs and corrupt officials no longer rule their municipality.

 

And what about the invocation of “Red” songs as part of the cultural tapestry of the city? Here is where things get a little more complicated. At first blush, it looks like a true invocation of Mao (what Dr. Roubini calls “neo-Maoism”). But I don’t agree. If there is any invocation of Mao here, it is an invocation of the powerful ways in which Mao used symbolism and ideology to unite the nation; it is an invocation of the ways in which he was able to motivate individuals to set their own interests aside and work for the society as a whole. Quite simply, it recognizes just how good Mao was at capturing peoples’ emotions. This tendency was dangerous when unleashed by Mao, as proven by the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, and it may be dangerous as invoked in its new form by Bo. But this is about power and the swaying of the masses, not about communist or leftist ideology.

 

And this is why the Communist Party fears Bo. The reality is that he does not neatly fit into either of the two existing factions: the capitalist/princeling class that advocates redistribution of wealth or the strongman who wields power without beneficial purpose. Furthermore, he is invoking Mao’s legacy of using cultural symbols (including Mao himself) to unite the population. He is a complicated political figure to say the least.

 

Yet party leadership also fears him because there is a vacuum of leadership, a vacuum that has existed for the last decade. Make no mistake about it, the current administration of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are much weaker than their predecessors (Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji). If the history books get anything right about this period, it will be that Zhu Rongji was the man responsible for China’s dramatic economic rise. After they left, the country coasted on their policies (and the prospect of the 2008 Olympics). But in the last three years, the gap between this administration and the last has been growingly apparent.

 

Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao do not have the economic or political acumen to guide the country in the way that Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji did. And the next generation of leaders will likely be weaker still, as the country continues to head down the path of decentralization, with the “Chongqing model,” the “Guangdong model,” and many other entrepreneurial local governments vying for resources and control.

 

What does it mean if Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang are as weak as their predecessors? It means that the prospect of a popularly backed strongman is a growing possibility. And Bo Xilai was a candidate who was becoming too popular, too charismatic and too attuned to the balance between state control and the rule of law and the redistribution of wealth. Such a person could really capture the population’s imagination.

 

Where does this leave us with respect to the questions I have raised:

 

(1)  Where do you think Bo Xilai stands in terms of “reform” in China?

 

Bo is, in my view, a reform-minded leader, albeit one with authoritarian tendencies (more of a throwback to Deng Xiaoping). He has used the rule of law to clean up corruption in one of the most corrupt cities in all of China. Chongqing has been an embarrassment. It was thought in the late 1990s that Chongqing would be the gateway to the West, as China opened up its Western development strategy. This is a large part of the reason that the city split off from Sichuan province to become the fourth independent municipality. But it has been mired in corruption ever since, and this is the reason that more law-abiding cities like Chengdu have soared past Chongqing as destinations for foreign direct investment. Bo has helped clean this mess up. Has he trampled individual civil liberties in the process? Undoubtedly. But he has also reined in corruption and crime. More than that, I do not know.

 

(2)  What do you think of the current leadership and reform effort in China today?

 

I think the key issue is that the current leadership fears Bo’s rising power. He is charismatic, adept at using cultural symbols, and moving fast at bringing about change. He is also clearly ambitious. He is the strongest threat for the next Chinese strongman coup waiting on the horizon. This is the reason, I think, that he was deposed.

 

(3)  What do you think Bo’s true agenda was?

 

He is clearly ambitious, and he made it apparent that he wanted to be a part of the Standing Committee. But he was also committed to the issue of redistributing wealth. He pursued technological development and economic growth for Chongqing, but also advocated that the poor in society did not have to be left behind. Does this make him a leftist? Maybe by conventional standards, but if the goal of a rightist wing of the party is to leave such redistributive politics behind, essentially to leave the poor and the elderly behind, then I am not sure what left and right mean anymore.

 

I don’t have the final word on Bo’s political stripes. I am not an expert in reading Chinese political tealeaves. And I am certainly not arguing here that Bo would be a good leader for the country. He seems too apt to trample individual civil liberties to be a leader of the next generation. However, his ouster is not necessarily a good thing either, and it cannot be analyzed in simplistic terms of reformist versus leftist politics. For myself, I think his ouster is more about the weakness of the current leadership. Instead of figuring out how to find success and strength in strong policies, they are reverting to the types of politics that defined China in the Mao and Deng eras.

 

Finally, to return to the issues that I have raised in recent weeks: The bottom line is that we need to look deeply into the politics, culture, history and social structure in China before passing judgment on what today’s shifting political winds really mean.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougguthrie/2012/03/16/understanding-chinese-politics-today/



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