Stick to Marx not ‘ghosts and spirits’, China warns party members


February 27, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party warned party members on Wednesday to stick to Marx and Lenin and not believe in “ghosts and spirits”, in the latest effort to root out superstitious practices.

China officially guarantees freedom of religion for major belief systems like Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, but party members are meant to be atheists and are especially banned from participating in what China calls superstitious practices like visiting soothsayers.

There have been numerous scandals in recent years where senior party members have been accused of involvement in superstition.

A lengthy statement on how best to strengthen the party’s role and its leadership, issued on the official Xinhua news agency, said Marxism was the guiding thought for China and the party. “Resolutely prevent not believing in Marx and Lenin and believing in ghosts and spirits, not believing in the truth and believing in money,” the party statement said.

“Resolutely oppose all forms of mistaken thought that distorts, misrepresents or negates Marxism.”

President Xi Jinping said last year that the party’s decision to stick with the political theories of Karl Marx remained “totally correct”, to mark the 200th anniversary of the German philosopher’s birth.

Chinese people, especially the country’s leaders, have a long tradition of putting their faith in soothsaying and geomancy, looking for answers in times of doubt, need and chaos.

The practice has grown more risky amid a sweeping crackdown on deep-seated corruption launched by Xi upon assuming power in late 2012, in which dozens of senior officials have been imprisoned.

The founder of modern China, Mao Zedong, banned fortune telling and superstition in puritan, communist China after the 1949 revolution, but the occult has made a comeback since the still officially atheist country embraced economic reforms and began opening up in the late 1970s.

In one of the most famous recent cases, China’s powerful former security chief Zhou Yongkang was jailed for life in part due to accusations he leaked undisclosed state secrets to a fortune teller and healer called Cao Yongzheng, known as the “Xinjiang sage” after the far western region where he grew up.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Darren Schuettler

Source: Reuters “Stick to Marx not ‘ghosts and spirits’, China warns party members”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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Jiang Zemin Has Maintained China’s Centralized Core System


China’s Core System (4) (Parts (1), (2) and (3) are “The Conundrum of China’s Collective Leadership” dated January 28, “No 2nd Generation of CCP Collective Leadership in China” on January 29 and “Fight for the Position of the Core when There Was No Core” on February 22.)

How Jiang Zemin dealt with Qiao Shi and Li Peng’s challenges
Could Jiang hold a PSC meeting to have PSC members vote on his position as the core to have the final say? Jiang was not sure he had the majority votes as most likely the other PSC members wanted equal power so that each and every member was one of the first-ranking leaders. If there was a core that had final say, the core would be the first-ranking leader while all the other members would be second-ranking leaders. Who would cast his vote to support Jiang as the first-ranking core and thus reduce himself to second-ranking? Jiang certainly knew very clear that he could not rely on the collective leadership to vote for him to have the final say.

By that time Jiang had made great efforts to establish his powerbase and was quite successful though had not obtained dominant power. Without Deng, the core of the second generation of CCP leadership, Jiang was not even sure that he was strong enough to ensure that the new central committee to be elected a few months later in the 15th Congress would elect him into the new Politburo or the new Politburo would elect him into the new PSC if he would be elected into the Politburo.

Jiang was entrusted by Deng to carry on Deng’s reform. Deng gave him instruction to gain the power to have final say as the core. Deng set an example in person by his Southern Tour to show the power of the core in forcing all other officials to obey his order to carry on the reform in spite of their opposition to the reform. Jiang had been assigned by Deng to carry on Deng’s reform after Deng died; therefore, it is imperative for Jiang to gain the power as the core of leadership. Jiang realized the urgency for him to maintain his position as the core and overcome Qiao and Li’s challenges.

CCP Elder’s Power
Jiang knew that the election at CCP Congress was controlled by the remaining four of the eight powerful elders after the death of the major elders Deng, Chen Yun, Li Xiannian and Peng Zhen. Among the four, Bo Yibo was the most powerful as Bo was very close to Deng. According to Zhao Ziyang’s secret memoir, Deng entrusted Bo to make preparations for 13th and 14th CCP Congresses. Bo prepared for the congresses the lists of the members of central committee and Politburo and candidates for high official posts and submitted them to Deng for approval. As a result, Bo had great influence among Politburo and central committee members and high officials and could easily control the voting in the 15th Congress in 1997.

Jiang sought Bo’s help. With Bo’s help, he made Qiao retire at the 15th Congress and exploited the conflict between Li Peng and Qiao Shi as Qiao Shi said that the State Council under Li Peng’s control should report to Qiao. At that time, Qiao though ranked the third below Li was popular among reformists. According to China’s constitution, Li though ranked the second above Qiao was to be appointed as the premier by the NPC controlled by Qiao. If Qiao had not contended for the position to be the core, Li would have had to contend with Jiang only. Now Li had to deal with Qiao in addition to Jiang in order to become the core. That was too much for him.

By that time, Li has served two terms as premier and had to resign from the post of premier. Jiang cleverly offered Li Qiao’s post. Li, though could not become the core, would rank nominally higher than premier and could appoint the premier. That was at least a promotion. Jiang had thus won over Li and along with Li’s protégés in the State Council and the conservatives behind Li.

Qiao had been honest and upright all his life so that it was not likely that he had the ambition to become the core. Perhaps, he simply wanted the NPC to constraint Jiang Zemin and avoid the repetition of an autocracy like Mao’s.

Anyway, Qiao’s democratic idea that regarded the NPC instead of the Party as the only power centre may weaken CCP’s political power. He certainly could not get powerful elders’ support in his power struggle with Jiang. However, when he chaired the NPC, the NPC acted less like a rubber stamp. Since his retirement, no NPC chairman has ever challenged the Party’s leadership again and the NPC has fully resumed its role as a rubber stamp.

No Collective Leadership when Jiang Zemin Was the Core
Jiang learnt from Deng’s example and has obtained top power through the help of powerful elders, especially Bo Xilai’s father Bo Yibo. With the help of Zhu Rongji, he obtained the prestige in CCP by his successful reform to make China’s loss-making State-owned enterprises profitable. By the time he retired from PSC, he had soundly established his powerbase. Hu Jintao was not his but his mentor Deng Xiaoping’s choice as his successor. Out of his gratitude and respect for Deng his mentor, Jiang had to appoint and groom Hu Jintao as his successor. However, Jiang’s first priority was to carry on Deng’s reform and opening-up. As Hu has not established his powerbase to succeed Jiang as the core, Jiang had to maintain his control to keep on the reform.

He appointed his protégés into PSC to control PSC majority and thus controlled PSC’s decision making. As a result, PSC made decision by the majority controlled by Jiang. That gave the false impression that there was collective leadership in PSC, but in reality, the decisions had been made in accordance with Jiang’s instructions to the PSC members controlled by Jiang.

At first, Deng Xiaoping wanted to establish a system of collective leadership in the Party, but after Tiananmen Protests, he changed his mind and wanted the collective leadership to have a core. The idea about a core is perhaps realistic for the Party because for thousands of years, China has to have a highly centralized power center.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


China enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought’, key Xi ally to step down


Chinese President Xi Jinping raises his hand as he takes a vote at the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China October 24, 2017.REUTERS/Jason Lee

China Party Congress 2017

Michael Martina, Philip Wen October 24, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party enshrined President Xi Jinping’s political thought into its constitution on Tuesday, putting him in the same company as the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong, and cementing his power ahead of a second five-year term.

A key Xi ally, top corruption fighter Wang Qishan, will not be on the new Politburo Standing Committee, the apex of power in China, to be revealed on Wednesday as he was not among those named on Tuesday to the 204-member Central Committee.

Whether or not the powerful Wang would remain on the Standing Committee, which currently has seven members, despite being beyond the customary retirement age of 69, had been among the key questions to be answered at the week-long party congress, which ended on Tuesday. Wang could still assume another senior role over the next few months.

As expected, the party unanimously passed an amendment to include “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as one of its guiding principles.

The party will announce its new Standing Committee, headed by Xi, at around midday (0400 GMT) on Wednesday, culminating a twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle.

As expected, the amended constitution affirmed that Xi’s signature fight against corruption, which has ensnared more than 1.3 million officials, will continue.

Unexpectedly, Xi’s “Belt and Road” initiative, an ambitious program to build infrastructure linking China with its neighbors and beyond, was also included in the party constitution.

Also included was a commitment to supply-side industrial reforms, and giving play to the “decisive role” of market forces in resource allocation, a commitment Xi had made early in his first terms that many investors say he has failed to deliver on.

“The party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country,” the party said in a statement reflecting Xi’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the party and its place in contemporary Chinese society.

If no clear successor to Xi is named to the new Politburo Standing Committee, it will further fuel speculation that Xi may look to retain power beyond the customary second five-year term.

“This is about further erasing any distinction between Xi Jinping and the party,” said Jude Blanchette, who studies the party at The Conference Board’s China Center for Economics and Business in Beijing, referring to Xi’s thought getting into the constitution.

“Add on to this having supply-side structural reform and One Belt One Road written into this, which were Xi’s signature policies, this makes questioning or non-compliance with those tantamount to betrayal of the party.”

THE MARKET AND THE PARTY

Chinese President Xi Jinping raises his hand as he takes a vote at the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China October 24, 2017.REUTERS/Jason Lee
Xu Hongcai, deputy chief economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, a Beijing think-tank, said party control was needed to push through the market reforms key to restructuring the world’s second-largest economy.

“To build a market economic system in such a big country, it’s impossible without the leadership of the party,” he said.

Others have argued that the two are contradictory.

“When you put ‘supply-side reform’ and ‘market playing a decisive role’ in the same document, then that just shows they have to almost choose one,” said Alex Wolf, Senior Emerging Markets Economist with Aberdeen Standard Investments in Hong Kong.

China’s blue-chip shares climbed to a 26-month high on Tuesday, led by infrastructure and property stocks, as Xi wrapped up a congress that began with his three-and-a half hour speech envisioning a more prosperous, confident China. The yuan strengthened against the dollar.

CROWNING GLORY?

Xi rapidly consolidated power after assuming party leadership in late 2012 and then the presidency the next year. The party gave Xi the title of “core” leader a year ago, a significant strengthening of his position.

Whether Xi was able to have his name “crowned” in the party constitution had been seen as a key measure of his power, elevating him to a level of previous leaders exemplified by Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.

No other leader since Mao has had an eponymous ideology included in the document while in office. Deng’s name was added after his death in 1997.

A list of 133 committee members for the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection released on Tuesday included Zhao Leji, who heads the party’s Organisation Department, a strong sign that he will take over from Wang as anti-corruption chief.

China’s top banking regulator, Guo Shuqing, and veteran banker Jiang Chaoliang, front runners to succeed Zhou Xiaochuan as central bank governor, both made it to the Central Committee.

The constitutional amendment, along with Xi’s work report and a work report of the graft watchdog to the congress, were passed by a show of hands.

When Xi next asked for any “no” votes or abstentions for the amendment or two work reports, the sound of “none” echoed throughout the chamber, as officials shouted out from different sides of the hall.

Reporting by Michael Martina and Philip Wen; Additional reporting by Stella Qiu, Christian Shepherd, Elias Glenn and Kevin Yao; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Neil Fullick, Paul Tait and Tony Munroe

Source: Reuters “China enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought’, key Xi ally to step down”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


CCP’s New Guiding Ideology—Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era


CCP (Chinese Communist Party) will amend its constitution to add Xi Jinping Though on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to CCP’s list of guiding ideologies: Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development.

The Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era appears repeatedly in Xi Jinping’s three and a half hours’ speech but without his name Xi Jinping placed before it.

In CCTV’s prime time news the day before yesterday on Xi attending a panel discussion of Xi’s speech, the report shows Xi talking about the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics but does not mention the thought. It also shows others speaking about their impression of Xi’s speech.

However, the reports on other members of CCP Politburo Standing Committee members Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng and Liu Yunshan attending panel discussions the day before yesterday and Li Keqiang, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli, yesterday only provide those members speeches about Xi’s speech especially the greatness of the thought without providing what any others spoke. In addition, all of them put Xi Jinping before “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” to indicate such thought is Xi Jinping’s.

The following are photos taken from CCTV prime time news footages of the six CCP Politburo Standing Committee members Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli speaking at separate panel discussions on greatness of Xi Jinping Thought:





We have seen quite a few titles of Xi in Chinese official media: leader, commander, core, etc. but with Xi Jinping Thought, he will perhaps have the additional titles of helmsman and teacher. Whether there will be the adjective “great” before such titles I do not know, but I am certain the title of teacher fits him.

As for the title of helmsman, it was the title Lin Biao gave Mao. Lin was ignorant that in modern times, a ship is navigated by the captain and his top assistants instead of the helmsman, who but operates the helm at the captain’s order. Navigator must be a better title.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CCTV prime time news on CCP 19th Congress.


Long speech, lots of tea: party meeting with Chinese characteristics


John Ruwitch October 18, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) – The speech was long, the refreshments austere, but Zhang Weiguo, a Communist Party official from Hubei province in central China, was thrilled.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is served tea as he delivers a speech during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

“It was strongly persuasive, infectious, cohesive, and had rally-appeal,” Zhang said after Chinese President and party boss Xi Jinping gave a nearly three-and-a-half hour speech in Beijing’s cavernous Great Hall of the People to kick off the 19th Communist Party Congress.

“I came out of the auditorium feeling infected, my motivation infinitely enhanced.”

The scene is a far cry from a convention of the Democratic or Republican Party in the United States, with their rock concert-like atmosphere, balloons falling from the rafters and raucous cheering crowds.

Instead, most delegates wore conservative business suits, turned pages of the speech in unison, and clapped politely on cue, giving the start of China’s most important political event in five years the vibe of an academic conference.

This is party politics with Chinese characteristics. Delegates from China’s dozens of ethnic minority groups were required, as always, to wear traditional costumes, often with elaborate headgear – and news photographers swarmed.

An Olympian wore the national team’s jacket. Military men and women, as well as police, donned crisp uniforms. All, including Xi, wore red identifications badges.

Entering the Great Hall for the event required airport-level security checks, with x-ray machines and metal detectors. Outside food and drink were not allowed. Journalists, many of whom had queued in the rain since before dawn, were permitted one mobile phone each.

Inside, Xi laid out a vision for a strong and confident China stretching decades into the future. The speech will be the subject of intensive study by party members across the country in coming months and serve as a model for its content and language.

Still, it was a marathon even by Chinese politicians’ standards, and some in the audience dozed off.

For those needing a refreshment, uniformed servers standing in order by height poured tea and hot water into Great Hall of the People paper cups outside the main auditorium.

One server who had been present for the 18th Party Congress five years ago said nothing had changed.

“Everything’s the same. Our service is getting better, though,” he said.

On stage, where the party’s powerful Central Committee and former leaders sat, hosts and hostesses periodically marched from the wings in unison to pour fresh steaming water into porcelain mugs. At the two-hour mark, some started taking toilet breaks.

Luo Jialin, a member of the Sichuan province delegation, rushed to the post office at the Great Hall of People and bought five books of congress-themed stamps with the Great Hall postmark for 450 yuan ($68).

“They are very commemorative, so I want to bring some back home,” said Luo.

The speech was broadcast live and images of groups of people watching it quickly circulated on social media – doctors at a hospital, Tibetan monks, prisoners in a detention center, and even children in kindergarten. One posting showed a cat sitting in front of a TV broadcasting the speech.

Printed copies of Xi’s speech for foreign reporters were produced in 12 languages, including Lao and Portuguese, up from eight five years ago. The Chinese version ran to 68 pages.

Pictures of the seldom-seen 91-year-old former President Jiang Zemin peering at his copy through a chunky magnifying glass flew across the internet.

Later, someone identified Jiang’s magnifying glass as German-made and posted a picture of an ad for it on Taobao. Price tag: 1,598 yuan, or about $240.

($1 = 6.6219 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by John Ruwitch, Christian Shepherd, Sue-Lin Wong, Philip Wen, Anita Li; Editing by Tony Munroe and Nick Macfie

Source: Reuters “Long speech, lots of tea: party meeting with Chinese characteristics”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China to amend party constitution at October congress


A man rides an electric scooter past a poster, promoting the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Shanghai, China September 14, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party is expected to amend its constitution at a key party congress next month, state media said on Monday, in a sign that President Xi Jinping aims to enshrine his guiding ideological doctrine in the charter.
Since assuming office almost five years ago, Xi has rapidly consolidated power, with moves such as heading a group leading economic reform and appointing himself military commander-in-chief, although as head of the Central Military Commission he already controls the armed forces.

The Politburo, one of the party’s elite ruling bodies, deliberated a draft amendment to the constitution to be discussed at the congress that would include “major theoretical viewpoints and major strategic thought”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

While the Xinhua report did not elaborate, a key measure of Xi’s power will be whether he manages to have his name “crowned” in the constitution, elevating him to the level of previous leaders exemplified by Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.

Xi’s more recent predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, both had the party constitution amended to include their guiding thoughts, but without their names directly attached.

Jiang has his “Three Represents,” which embraced private entrepreneurs, written in, while Hu, Xi’s immediate predecessor, had his economic doctrine of “scientific development” included.

The party has been pushing Xi’s “Four Comprehensives,” which refer to China working “comprehensively” to build a moderately prosperous society and strengthen reforms, rule of law and party discipline, but it is not clear yet what wording could be put into the constitution to reflect Xi’s thought.

“Amending the constitution at the 19th CPC National Congress on the basis of the new situation and tasks would promote the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and Party building,” Xinhua said.

“The amendments should include the key theories and strategic thoughts presented by a work report” at the start of the congress, which opens on Oct. 18, it added.

The amended constitution should fully represent the latest “sinicisation” of Marxism, new governance concepts and “the fresh experiences in adhering to, and strengthening, Party leadership, and in strict Party governance”, Xinhua said.

“The amendment should make the Communist Party more vigorous, stronger and enable it to keep a close connection with the people.”

The draft amendment will be submitted on Oct. 11 to a party plenary meeting, it added, a smaller scale gathering of about 200 of the most senior leaders to finalize the agenda for the congress.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Philip Wen; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Source: Reuters “China to amend party constitution at October congress”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Separation of Government from Party impossible in China


President Xi Jinping (left) and Politiburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan (right) leave the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in March last year. Photo: AFP

SCMP says in its report “Why is China blurring the line between party and state?”, “The creation of a super graft-busting organisation is raising concerns it could lead the way for further convergence of government and the ruling party”.

Further convergence? Can there be further convergence when Chinese government has already entirely been controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? CCP first of all firmly controls Chinese government, troops, police, armed police and secret police.

That is the executive. As for Chinese legislature, we all know Chinese parliament the National People’s Congress is but CCP’s rubber stamp.

What about Chinese courts?

As far back as in April 2015, CCP Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan told US well-known political scientist Francis Fukuyama China’s courts will never be independent from CCP.

It seems that lots of people outside China especially some China watchers still believe that China will one day pursue Western democracies. In early 1990s that might be possible, but it is entirely impossible now as CCP Dynasty has been soundly established now. In Chinese history a dynasty usually lasts 2 to 3 centuries and it is usually rising in its first decades. China is rising and CCP has a very wise, popular and powerful core now.

In addition, there are lots of conservatives that worship Mao the autocrat. What I hope is that China will be lucky enough not to repeat Mao’s extreme autocracy. If luckier, China will have firmly established democratic supervision, which will ensure that its grass-level elections will be really democratic as buying votes was quite common before Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2087653/why-china-blurring-line-between-party-and-state.