Agence France Presse reports from Beijing: “Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on Saturday for his people to unite in support of the Communist Party and its outgoing leader, President Hu Jintao, ahead of a pivotal congress to usher in new leadership.
“The announcement comes amid a damaging political scandal involving Bo Xilai, a senior party boss who is to stand trial for a litany of crimes including abuse of power and improper sexual relations.
“‘Let us rally more closely around the CPC central committee with comrade Hu Jintao as the general secretary,’ said Wen in a speech that came two days before the 63rd anniversary of the proclamation of People’s Republic.”
For details please visit AFP website at: http://www.afp.com/en/node/553013
SCMP says: “The son of fallen Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai has released a statement defending his father who was expelled by the Politburo from the party on Friday, said the Wall Street Journal.
“‘Personally, it is hard for me to believe the allegations that were announced against my father, because they contradict everything I have come to know about him throughout my life,’ said the statement by” Bo’s son Bo Guagua.
“‘Although the policies my father enacted are open to debate, the father I know is upright in his beliefs and devoted to duty. He has always taught me to be my own person and to have concern for causes greater than ourselves. I have tried to follow his advice. At this point, I expect the legal process to follow its normal course, and I will await the result,’ said the statement posted on Tumblr. Bo Guagua confirmed with the he had written the statement.”
For details, please visit SCMP website at:
Associated Press’ Christopher Bodeen reports from Beijing: “With disgraced politician Bo Xilai expelled from the party, his career effectively ended with a slew of criminal charges that are certain to result in convictions, China’s ruling communists can finally focus on the crucial task of ensuring a smooth transition to a new generation of leaders.
“On Friday, the party’s decision-making Politburo finally took long-awaited action on the scandal that had loomed over Chinese politics for more than half a year, leveling criminal charges against Bo that range from corruption to sexual affairs to abetting the cover-up of a murder by his wife. At the same time, the 25-member Politburo also made the long overdue announcement of the opening of the party congress, now scheduled for Nov. 8, when President Hu Jintao will step down as party boss and Vice President Xi Jinping will succeed him.
“The twin pronouncements are connected: Getting Bo out of the way was seen as crucial to healing rifts in the party and allowing Xi and a new leadership to come to power without the overhang of a messy scandal.”
For details please visit Associated Press website at:
Don’t you find it ridiculous to commission an aircraft carrier without aircrafts?
And the commissioning ceremony was so grand that it was attended by both General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
If the carrier remains without aircrafts for a long time, will it not become a laughingstock instead of something they can boast of?
Trefor Moss, an independent journalist based in Hong Kong and former Asia-Pacific editor for Jane’s Defence Weekly, said, “the Liaoning’s primary objective” is “not to make other countries feel scared; but to make Chinese people feel proud”.
Let’s remember that China began to refit the carrier about 8 years ago when there was no tension in East and South China Seas so that there is no need to make Chinese people feel proud for the carrier. Certainly, China made its long-term plan for the development of its aircraft fleet long ago. It has nothing to do with making Chinese people proud.
What was China’s “secret” plan then? It seemed a secret plan as China said that the hull was intended for a casino when it was purchased. No one expected that China had a long-term plan to refit it and make it operational.
However, it is obvious to those who understand Chinese history and Chinese people’s mindset that a nation who was bullied for more than a century by foreign powers wants to be strong enough to prevent any future bully.
In my post “Obama’s Generous New Year Gift to China” on January 28 (https://tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com), I said, “China knows well that its weapons are inferior now; therefore, its leaders, political scientists, well-known journalists, academics, etc. have the consensus that China needs two decades of peace. They believe that by 2030, its economy will be much bigger and its weapons will be superior to put an end to its century-long history of being bullied by other countries.”
China’s slow refitting of the carrier proved its intention to become a military superpower to put an end to the history in 2 decades.
Ming Pao says in its report on September 27: As far back as in 1987, Chinese navy recruited 9 navy air force pilots and trained them to be reserve captains for China’s aircraft carriers.
Obviously, China has formulated an all-round plan for the development of its carrier fleet before it began to refit the carrier 8 years ago.
In the seven years when the carrier was being refitted, China was busy developing all the equipment required by the carrier so that it has now been installed with all the necessary equipment including the engines, taking-off and landing gears, active phased array radar similar to that used on US Aegis Destroyer, SS-N-19 anti-ship missiles, SA-N-9 anti-aircraft missiles, etc.
China did not do so in a hurry. However, in July 2010, China reacted angrily at statements concerning South China Sea disputes by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during an Asean security gathering. It began to quicken the development of its navy. It conducted the first test of its aircraft carrier in a hurry in August last year when the boat had not yet been able to sail on its own.
Since US announcement of its return to Asia encouraged some South Asian countries to confront China in maritime territorial disputes, China began its arms race with the US in earnest.
It launched its third 071 landing platform dock (LPD) in September 2011 and a fourth during the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival in early 2012. The Festival is the most important holiday for Chinese people and normally, nobody worked on the holiday. (071 LPD is a 20,000-ton amphibious transport dock similar to the US-built San Antonio-class LPD).
In addition, China put its own satellite GPS system into trial operation and declared its plan to launch 6 more satellites in 2012 to improve the system. Guided by this system, China’s missiles and bombs will be much more accurate.
As for the aircrafts for the carrier, in spite of the haste in commissioning it, China has already developed for it an airborne early warning & control aircraft based on its Y-7 transport aircraft. It seems that J-15 fighter, the aircraft specially developed for the carrier, is not ready for the carrier due to the haste.
However, will it take years for the fighter to be ready?
CCTV (China’s Central TV) footage shows traces of aircraft landing on the deck of China’s carrier the Liaoning and the wings and tail of an aircraft suspected to be a J-15 in the hanger of the carrier.
I believe that test of J-15 on land has completed. As revealed by Xu Yong, a teacher at Air Force Command College, China is now training pilots to take off and land on the carrier.
Certainly, training dozens of pilots for carrier-based aircrafts is not an easy job, but I believe it will not take longer than one year.
China’s enemy will suffer if it thinks that the Chinese carrier is now a tiger without teeth.
The Korean War and China’s wars with India and Vietnam have proved that China is used to conducting surprise attack.
If you are not on your guard, there may be the occasion that when you think that China’s aircraft carrier is not combat ready, the carrier filled with well-tested J-15 fighters and skillful pilots may conduct a surprise attack to destroy all your air force facilities?
“The art of war is an art of deception. Hence, one shall make his enemy believe that he is unable to fight when he is able to and that he has no desire to fight when he is going to.” “Sun Tzu” begins its teachings that way!
Can such a second-rate aircraft carrier make Chinese people proud? I don’t think Chinese people are so cheap.
What I have learnt from Chinese military experts, TV talking shows and common people’s talks is that China needs 6 to 8 advanced aircraft carriers, mostly nuclear ones.
China needs to pay much less for those carriers as China is subsidized by its state-owned enterprises in its weapon development while US weapon manufacturers charge excessively high prices.
For example, a 071 LPD costs China only US$300 million while an American San Antonio-class LPD of similar size and functions costs more than US$1.2 billion.
How long will it take to build so many carriers?
Let us take 071 LPD for example again. China launched its first 071 LPD in December 2006 and its second 071 LPD 4 years later in November 2010, but it launched the third 10 months later and the fourth five months after the third.
When the design is finalized and technology, mature, China may turn out quite a few advanced carriers in a relatively short period of time.
Singtao Daily reports: Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, former President of the Executive Yuan, said yesterday that if there were not problems with formalities so that he would be able to have enough time, he would go to Beijing in early October to attend the International Cocktail Competition. If he is able to go there, he will be the first former high official of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to visit the Chinese Mainland. People in his Party vary in their response to the visit, but DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang has given no positive response.
It is an issue of major concern whether Hsieh will be able to visit Beijing this time. When DPP lose the general election early this year, the party decided to break the deadlock with Beijing, but has seemed unable to find a proper breakthrough.
The International Cocktail Competition opens on October 5 in Beijing and Hsieh was invited to attend by the International Cocktail Association.
Hsieh said at a DPP tea party yesterday that he had given the Association a reply that if there were no problems with the formalities so that he would be able to arrive in time, he was willing to go.
As for the question whether he expects to meet any Chinese Communist Party leader, Hsieh said, “No, naturally not this time.” He does not represent the party and has no public office. He mainly aims at doing something for the community.
At the question whether the timing and his status are appropriate, Hsieh said, “Why not inappropriate? Recently, some members of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee have gone there. The timing is not selected by him but by the International Cocktail Association. He added that he had reported to DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang for file according to the rules.
Huang Ching-lin, former head of DPP Taipei City Branch criticized Hsieh, saying that his visit to the Mainland was “paying tribute to Beijing court”; while former DPP Chairman Yao Chia-wen opposes Hsieh’s Beijing trip on the ground that Hsieh advocated the idea of “one China according to constitution” in the past.
However, former DPP Chairman Hsu Hsun-liang says that Hsieh is the wisest person in DPP. Hsu supports Hsieh’s visit to Beijing fully no matter in what status he does so and thinks that so shall the DPP. Current Chairman Su Tseng-chang refused to give any response when he was asked the question yesterday.
Daily Beast says in its report titled “Communist Party Expels Bo Xilai, Who Now Faces Trial”, “Bo Xilai, the disgraced politician whose soaring rise to power collapsed amid an epic scandal of corruption and murder, has been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party and will face criminal prosecution, China’s state media announced Friday.
“The expulsion and impending trial of Bo, 63, comes just weeks before the Nov. 8 power transition by the Communist Party.
“A former Commerce minister and party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, Bo was purged in March and suspended from China’s ruling Politburo a month later after his police chief fled to a U.S. consulate with evidence that Bo’s wife had murdered a British businessman using poison. That defection sparked a massive political crisis the party has desperately wanted to resolve before the leadership transition.
“Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was found guilty for her role in the killing in August. Earlier this month, the police chief, Wang Lijun, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his involvement in the murder cover-up and attempting to defect to the U.S.
“According the official Xinhua News Agency, the Politburo accused Bo of abusing power, taking bribes, and bearing ‘a major responsibility’ for the scandal, which has upset the party’s secret and well-organized transition plans.”
For details of the report, please visit Daily Beast website at:
China announced in its prime time TV news Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo decision to expel Bo Xilai from the CCP, remove him from all his official posts and transfer his case to the prosecutor for Bo’s serious crimes of abusing power for other people’s interests, taking huge bribes, etc.
The power struggle of the factions advocating the rule of law and the reformist factions against the conservatives finally ends with a waterloo for the conservatives.
It was quite fierce a struggle.
In Bo’s wife’s case, Bo was not even mentioned while in Bo’s subordinate Wang Lijun’s case, Bo was obviously involved but the court refrained from mentioning him by name, giving people the impression that the Party had not yet decided to denounce Bo publicly.
Usually such an issue can be decided by CCP leaders and elders at their summer conference in Beidaihe before CCP national congress. This time, however, powerful elders have to converge in Beijing to conduct long and intensive discussions before they were able to finally come to a decision.
The power struggle had been extremely fierce.
In fact, as soon as Bo fell into disgrace, most media in the world regarded it as an internal power struggle within the CCP. CCP’s mouthpiece the People’s daily, however, published one commentary after another to deny that. CCP’s
history is in fact a history of power struggle. In Mao era, it was called the struggle between two lines and Mao was proud of his victories in quite a few such struggles.
When Peng Dehuai foresaw the disaster Mao’s pursuit of excessive economic growth might bring to China, he wrote a private letter to Mao to warn him politely, but Mao said his letter aimed to usurp power. Mao labeled Peng and 3 million others as rightists to persecute.
Mao used the letter to persecute Peng, the only official who had the courage to oppose him, in order to silence all opposition within the CCP. He won the power struggle at the heavy cost of causing the death of 20 to 40 millions people.
Mao’s another power struggle, the notorious Cultural Revolution to seize power back from his chosen successor Liu Shaoqi, was notorious for the persecution of a large percentage of Chinese urban population.
Due to the evils of such power struggles, since the silent peaceful coup mentioned in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, the CCP has been making great efforts to prove that it has turned a new leaf and is now free of internal struggle.
However, politicians must have power to implement their policies and achieve their goals. There has to be power struggle for them to seize power. In a democracy, power struggle is carried out peacefully in an orderly manner through election. Those who win the election obtain political power.
In China, an autocracy, there is no such mechanism. Politicians have to conduct power struggle to seize power so as to implement their policies and achieve their goals.
Therefore, power struggles are the most important and interesting parts of Chinese history, especially contemporary Chinese history. They are important as they determine China’s destiny: whether it is prosperous or in difficulty or chaos.
People are interested in Chinese political struggles due to the mystery in them.
“Sound of ax and shadows of people in candlelight, eternal mystery” is a well-known Chinese saying that describes the mystery of palace coups in China. It originated from the story of the sudden death of Emperor Taizu, the founding emperor of the Song Dynasty, and the abnormal succession by his brother instead of his son. Quite a few people believe that Taizu was murdered by his brother, but as there has been no evidence, it remains an eternal mystery.
The CCP power center is a black box where everything, including a leader’s health is strictly kept confidential. How can we know that Bo’s downfall was the consequence of a power struggle and conservatives’ Waterloo? Then it seems impossible to write Chinese history truthfully. No, we can know from the obvious consequence of the struggle.
Take Emperor Taizu’s death for example. All his sons died of abnormal death. That obviously proved that Taizu’s brother came to throne by ill means and that he had to remove Taizu’s sons to prevent their revenge. Therefore, we believe that there was at least 70% probability that Taizu’s brother murdered him and usurped the throne.
As for Bo’s downfall being conservatives’ defeat, we shall first have some background knowledge.
In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, I describe the successful coup in the CCP to substitute intellectuals’ for uneducated workers and peasants’ dominance of the Party and State. I said that the first of Jiang Zemin’s Three Represents justifies CCP’s pursuance of capitalism and conservatives’ resistance to the capitalist reform had thus been overcome.
However, that was reformists’ victory by tricks and intrigues. No decisive battle has been fought between the reformists and conservatives. For most rank and file Party members who lack knowledge about Marxist theory, they do not know the true meaning of the first Represent. In order to avoid the opposition to capitalism from the large number of conservatives in the Party, CCP central authority almost always avoid the terms of capitalism, private enterprises, etc. and replace them by primary stage of socialism, nongovernmental enterprises, etc.
On the other hand, the children of deceased senior officials who fought for the establishment of the PRC, though cannot inherit their parents’ power, can exploit their parents’ influence in their commercial and political careers.
Most of them are rich entrepreneurs or highly-paid executives now. Those who prefer political career are also very successful. Among them, Bo Xilai was most prominent. He was promoted to the Party boss of a major city at provincial level and into the Politburo. However, he had greater ambition. He believed that he was more talented than any of the top leaders such as Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo and Wen Jiabao. As the son of one of the most powerful elders, he should be their boss instead of taking instructions from them.
He began to set his own Chongqing model and had made it very popular especially the sing-red campaign, which reminded people of the achievements of his father and other founders of the People’s Republic of China with the implication that those who contributed to the establishment of the Republic and their children shall be the masters of the CCP Dynasty. Chongqing became the rally point of most princelings, retired officials and their children and other conservatives and won the support of lots of low-income people due to the yawning rich-poor gap resulted from the reform.
Due to the popularity of conservatives’ Chongqing model of disrupting the rule of law and persecution of lawyers, reformists are unable to achieve their goal of the rule of law, the key step of their political reform and the foundation of democracy.
Since 2005, Wen Jiabao and other reformists had called in vain for further economic liberalization to remove open and hidden barriers for private enterprises to enter quite a few industries and eliminate the monopoly of giant state-owned enterprises until an opportunity occurred due to the emergence of serious unemployment caused by the financial tsunami. Wen exploited the opportunity to remove the barriers in quite a few industries and thus facilitate substantial development of private enterprises in those industries. I call that the third wave of economic liberalization.
The first wave was the liberalization of the agricultural sector and permission of the development of private industrial enterprises conducted by Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang; while the second was the privatization of small state-owned enterprises and the transformation of large state-owned enterprises to turn them profitable conducted by Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji.
The conservatives’ opposition was even stronger to further economic liberalization to reduce State control of economy and remove state-owned enterprises’ monopoly and privileges. As for political reform for democracy, conservatives absolutely did not allow. As a result, Premier Wen Jiabao’s call for political reform and democracy got no support for years.
Judging by what happened after Bo’s downfall, we clearly know there was a battle between reformists and conservatives and Bo’s downfall was conservatives’ defeat in the power struggle.
1. The amendment of the Criminal Procedure Law to ensure the rule of law.
In order to ensure the rule of law, reformists made great efforts to amend China’s Criminal Procedure Law to forbid a repetition of Bo’s malpractices of extraction of confession by torture and protect lawyers’ right of defense. This was the skirmish of the battle. In the course of the amendment, the reformists investigated Bo Xilai’s trusted assistant Wang Lijun’s malpractices in Bo’s campaign against organized crime and Bo’s wife’s involvement in British businessman Neil Heywood’s death.
The details of what really happened may probably remain a mystery forever but the resulted fight between Bo and Wang and Wang’s seeking of asylum were clear consequences of the investigation that caused Bo’s downfall.
The battle was so intense that Jiang Zemin had to go to Beijing to play his decisive role as the core of the collective leadership in the battle.
2. The beginning of the fourth wave of economic liberalization.
Without further reform to remove barriers for private enterprises to enter various sectors and eliminate state-owned enterprises’ monopoly, China will fall into the medium income trap. After Bo’s downfall, a pilot project of financial reform began in Wenzhou.
In a front-page story that was followed by several articles inside, the People’s Daily said on April 24 that political reform was “an important part” of the mainland’s overall reforms.
The People’s Daily articles followed earlier reports calling for political reform, all carried on April 23 by three key media organizations: the People’s Daily, Xinhua, the news agency directly under the State Council and the China Youth Daily, run by the Communist Youth League, a training base for the mainland’s future leaders. Those articles came less than two weeks after Bo’s ousting.
However, at that time, the conservatives remained strong even after Bo fell into disgrace and the power struggles continued regarding how Bo should be punished. Knowing that he has strong support from the conservatives, Bo even said, “I will return,” when he had lunch with his Japanese friend Mr. Udagawa in mid May.
Through months of power struggle, the conservatives have finally had their waterloo proved by the severe punishment to be meted out to Bo Xilai.
China’s prospects of further economic and political reform are brighter now.