Western Media Are Missing China’s Biggest Story


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Madam Fu Ying at the end of the National People's Congress in Beijing.  (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Madam Fu Ying at the end of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Well-known journalist Nathan Gardels points out in his report on March 16 the biggest story of China’s persistent “long march toward ‘rule according to law’”, which this blogger regards as the greatest political reform that will lay foundation for China’s long-term stability, prosperity and democracy. The following is the full text of Mr. Gardels’ report:

Western Media Are Missing China’s Biggest Story
By Nathan Gardels
Editor-in-chief, THEWORLDPOST
Posted: 03/16/2015 11:37 am EDT Updated: 4 hours ago

BEIJING — In Western media, the National People’s Congress — China’s legislative body which just ended its annual three week session — is perfunctorily conjoined with the phrase “rubber stamp.” This characterization is less and less true every year and does a disservice to understanding the most significant historic shift taking place in China today: the long march toward “rule according to law” from administrative fiat.

One problem is that most journalists focus only on “events” as news. Process, which takes place step by step and evolves over many years, but which in the end changes the entire framework of political life, is difficult to capture in an attention-grabbing headline. It is also good news about “what works” instead of bad news about what doesn’t — the métier of the adversarial press.

To be sure, there are twists and turns along the road and many battles with authorities who would lose their prerogative to impose policies without consent or get away with corruption unscathed. But China is now a long way down the road on this score.

The active shift toward the rule of law began in the wake of the Cultural Revolution when anarchy overtook China and decisions, with often tragic consequences for individuals as well as the entire society, were made arbitrarily either by roving bands of hot-headed teenagers or by rigidly ideological top officials with no constraint on their authority.

One institutional push for rule of law came when Qiao Shi was head of the National People’s Congress back in 1997. As he told me then in an interview in the Great Hall of the People:

An important reason why the Cultural Revolution took place and lasted 10 years was that we had not paid enough attention to the legal system.

It was from this bitter experience that, by the end of the 1970s, we began to stress the need to improve the legal system and law, to maintain stability and continuity in this system of law and make it very authoritative.

According to the constitution of China, all power in the country belongs to the people, and the people exercise state power through the National People’s Congress and local people’s congresses at various levels.

To ensure that the people are the real masters of the country, that state power is really in their hands, we must strengthen these institutions and give them full play.

No organization or individual has the prerogative to override the constitution or the law.

One reason a consolidated push toward rule of law is happening today is that the current generation of leaders now in power, including President and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, suffered through the Cultural Revolution and never want to see such a catastrophe ever again. Today’s leaders also know that the pervasive corruption which has accompanied rapid economic growth is so severely eroding society’s sense of fairness and equality of opportunity that the very legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party is at stake.

Indeed, I was told in Beijing last week by one high official that President Xi is deeply influenced by China’s classical school of legalism, which flourished during the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.) when the various warring provinces were unified into one state. Legalism posits that the well-being of the state would be best guaranteed by clear-cut rules rather than the traditional Confucian reliance on private morality of officials.

In 1999, the constitution was amended to incorporate the phrase “rule according to law” and set out a path for the transition from a regime of administrative decisions to one whereby all policies would ultimately be implemented by legislation. For the first time last October, an entire plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party was devoted to “comprehensively advancing rule of law in China.”
At the moment, the NPC does not itself propose legislation. Its delegates submit proposals based on constituent concerns to the party and the state council — the government executive body — which processes those proposals into legislation which are sent back to the NPC for approval. Since the process is meant to create consensus through back and forth deliberation and trade offs among competing interests, legislation is usually not submitted unless there is an expectation of its passage. But as Chinese society grows more complex with prosperity and greater participation, much debate indeed takes place — including about the role of the NPC itself.

As Xin Chunying, Vice-Chairperson of Legislative Affairs Commission of China’s National People’s Congress, wrote in the WorldPost at the time of the plenary:

The drafting of laws should be more often led by the Congress and the special committees instead of by ministries concerned — which may lead to legalization for the interest or rights of relevant government agencies over the society as a whole.

It is also important that legislation moves ahead of reform so that the new reforms progress on the basis of law and so that every major reform step is guided by law.

This year, as the NPC spokesperson Fu Ying told me, there was “heated debate” — no less than what has been witnessed in the West over similar legislation — about a new anti-terrorism law. The debate centered around “how to define terrorism” and “how to balance the anti-terrorism measure with human rights.” Another major issue concerned the shift toward imposition of taxes by legislation instead of by administrative decisions of the State Council. NPC members insisted, according to Fu Ying, that “the various categories of taxes that the government levies, who will be levied, how much and how to levy, must all be stipulated by the NPC.”

On corruption, Fu Ying said “the job of NPC National Committee is to treat the root causes by pushing forward the building of anti-corruption institutions and thus creating an environment in which officials dare not breach the laws.” As it has been, she said, “officials feel they can break the law. They are not in awe of the law, don’t understand the law or don’t worry about the law.” All Party members,” Fu Ying continued, “must study the law, learn the law and abide by the law. [They must understand that] all people are equal before the law.”

Certainly, the NPC is not yet the U.S. Congress. And from China’s perspective that is no doubt a good thing. The NPC will not anytime soon be second guessing the president on his foreign policy initiatives and sending their own messages to an enemy with whom the executive branch is negotiating, as is the case with the Iran nuclear negotiations. No time soon will the NPC try to unravel already passed legislation, as is the case with Obamacare. And the NPC will continue to strive toward consensus instead of engage in the corrosive politics of gridlock.

Just because China’s NPC is not mired in dysfunction like the U.S. Congress, doesn’t mean it is not advancing the rule of law.

Source: huffingtonpost “Western Media Are Missing China’s Biggest Story”

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China Aims at Long-term Elimination of Corruption by Legislation


China's parliament chief Zhang Dejiang delivers a work report during the second plenary session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 8, 2015.  Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

China’s parliament chief Zhang Dejiang delivers a work report during the second plenary session of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 8, 2015.
Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

The recent development of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption storm is the investigation of 14 PLA (People’s Liberation Army) generals including Major General Guo Zhenggang, the son of Guo Boxiong, who retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) in 2013.

In China, CMC chairman as the president of the state has lots of affairs to deal with so that the two vice chairmen are in charge of daily management of the PLA. The recently retired vice chairmen Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong are very powerful as they have been in charge of Chinese military for a decade.

Xu has already fallen in disgrace, while Guo may also be in trouble as he may very probably be involved in his son’s crime. Even if he is found not involved, his influence in Chinese military will be greatly reduced.

That gives the impression that Xi’s anti-corruption storm is but a power struggle.

It is certainly not the case. In the section “Xi’s Difficulty in Fighting Corruption due to Faction Politics” Chapter 16 of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition, I said:

When Chen Liangyu was found guilty of corruption, Jiang Zemin did not protect Chen, but allowed Chen and his accomplices to be punished. At that time, Jiang’s Shanghai faction was the strongest faction and was, therefore, not afraid that Chen’s downfall would weaken the faction.

For a smaller faction, the removal of a high official in it may greatly weaken it. It will certainly protect the official and demand a lenient punishment or even immunity. Other smaller factions will mostly side with the faction of the guilty official for fear that it was a larger faction’s trick to weaken smaller factions one by one. The resistance of the alliance of smaller factions may become quite strong especially when it is joined by the quite strong conservative faction built up by Bo Xilai through his anti-organized crime and sing-red campaigns. That was also the cause for the difficulties in making the decision to punish Bo Xilai harshly

Hu Jintao made great efforts to fight corruption. He sent investigation teams periodically to various localities and departments while his protégé Wang Yang launched a anti-corruption campaign in Guangdong before the 18th CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Congress, but neither of them achieved significant successes as they lack the power to overcome the resistance from various factions.

Knowing that, Xi lobbied the influential elders in all faction during his mysterious absence in early September, 2012 and obtained their support. He made especially clear to them that he would investigate and punish officials on the basis of reliable evidence in disregard of their faction background and asked the elders not protect guilty officials out of the interest of their factions. He told them that otherwise, the CCP would collapse as it was utterly impossible to fight corruption that had brought the CCP to the verge of collapse.

At that time, corruption was as pervasive as it was before the collapse of some dynasties in Chinese history. There were quite a few emperors and honest officials who made great efforts to fight corruption but few had succeeded in the fight to prevent the collapse of their dynasties.

Xi’s success is exceptional in Chinese history.

Xi knows that he has to find a way to eliminate corruption for China’s long-term stability and prosperity. He took a gradual approach to avoid too strong resistance from the large number of powerful corrupt officials; therefore, though corruption is pervasive, so far the number of officials punished is limited. He aims at creation of awe among officials to prevent further corruption by a continuous relentless widespread anti-corruption campaign.

To ensure a corruption free future, he wants to formulate a special law to fight corruption. The following is Reuters report on China’s plan to formulate such a law:

China to implement new anti-graft law
BEIJING Sun Mar 8, 2015 7:44am EDT

(Reuters) – China plans to enact specific legislation to fight corruption, the head of the country’s parliament said on Sunday, as the government continues its campaign against graft.

Zhang Dejiang, who is also the ruling Communist Party’s third ranked leader, made the announcement at a full meeting of the National People’s Congress’ roughly 3,000 delegates.

He gave no details, and it is not clear how the new law will differ from existing laws which target things like bribery and embezzlement. The party generally conducts its own probes into corruption first before handing over suspects to prosecutors.

The official Xinhua news agency said the proposed new legislation sprang from a key party meeting last autumn about strengthening the rule of law in China.

“The top legislature is mulling imposing harsher punishment on those committing crimes of embezzlement and bribery,” Xinhua said.

President Xi Jinping, who assumed office in 2013, has vowed to go after powerful “tigers” and well as lowly “flies”, saying, like others before him, that the problem is so serious it could affect the party’s ability to maintain power.

Other legislation planned includes laws on domestic violence, terror, the management of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and on cyber-security, Zhang added, as well as an amendment to the air pollution law. He gave no details.

The anti-terror law, which would require tech firms to provide encryption keys and install backdoors granting law enforcement agents access for counterterrorism investigations, has drawn concern internationally, including in the United States.

The proposed NGO law has also attracted criticism for the restrictions it seeks to impose.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition

Source: Reuters “China to implement new anti-graft law”


China’s Huge Military Spending for Arms Race with the US


Reuters says in its report “China defense budget rise to defy slowing economy” today that according to a top Chinese official, there will be a 10% increase in China’s military budget.

China has an unlimited budget, the exact figure of which is a well protected secret. The budget China makes public is merely a calculated figure to please Chinese people that their government is paying great attention to development of its military while avoid giving rise to fear of the growth of China’s military strength among its neighbors.

In my book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The US, I described China’s unlimited budget:

On March 7, Isaac Stone Fish, a well experienced journalist on China expressed his frustration about the mysteries of Chinese military in his article “The Black Box of China’s Military”.

Such frustration is common among people not only outside but also inside China.

In my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition released to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests, there is the section titled “Looking through the Black Box”, excerpts of which are given below:

“There is a way to look through the black box. We can judge the events taking place in the black box in secret by the circumstances and happenings before and after an event.

“…

“As mentioned above, what I said about Xi Jinping being selected by Jiang Zemin was speculation, but it was based on reasonable and logical analysis. Now, it has been proved by Jiang’s support for Xi with his decision on punishing Bo Xilai harshly and his selection of five protégés as PSC (Politburo Standing Committee) members who will retire at the next CCP congress so as to allow Xi to choose their replacements in 2017 and by what Xi has done since he took over.

“Note: Since Jiang’s retirement, he has always controlled the PSC (Politburo Standing Committee) through his protégés who have a majority in the PSC. At the end of each five-year term of the PSC, there are always some of Jiang’s protégés who have not reached the age of retirement and will continue to be members in the next PSC. This time is exceptional. All his protégés in the PSC will retire when the term of the PSC ends in 2017.”

Using this method, we can see through the black box of Chinese military and answer the two questions raised by Isaac Stone Fish in his article: How much is China’s military budget? And to what extent does Xi Jinping control Chinese military?

First, we shall see that China is an autocracy instead of a democracy like the United States. How much Chinese military spends does not require the approval of the NPC (National People’s Congress, China’s parliament). According to Chinese Constitution, NPC has supreme power, but in fact, it is but a rubber stamp that will approve everything the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) tells it to approve.

Therefore, the military budget approved by NPC does not restrict Chinese military spending like U.S. budget does. The budget figure is a carefully determined figure to please Chinese people and ease other countries’ concerns.

How much is Chinese military actually allowed to spend?

There is no limit! It can spend as much as it needs and China can afford.

Does this mean that it can spend at will? No, it has to obtain approval from the top leader before it can get funds from China’s exchequer.

Who is the top leader that controls both the exchequer and the Chinese military? Is he Xi Jinping? No. It is the core (the term used by Deng Xiaoping) or paramount leader (the term used outside China) of CCP’s collective leadership.

Here we have to be clear that China’s current political system is CCP Dynasty with a core like an emperor. The core now is Jiang Zemin and Xi Jinping has been selected by Jiang as his successor. You may find detailed description in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition.

How much Chinese military is actually spending? I can safely say, it spends more than U.S. military as proved by the large number of expensive projects it is carrying out.

As mentioned above, China is implementing an expensive lunar program, from which the PLA (Chinese military) has drawn the technology of its anti-satellite (ASAT) technology, including hitting a satellite, rendezvousing with a satellite to blind it with spray, capturing a satellite by the robotic arm of China’s ASAT satellite and destroying the internal chip of a satellite with electromagnetic pulse weapon, its ASAT defense capability (the ASAT quick response capability), aerospaceplane such as Shenlong drone and J-28 space-air fighter, HGV (hypersonic glide vehicle) and anti-ICBM missile.

For its air force, it is developing quite a few stealth aircrafts including J-20, J-31 stealth fighter jets, J-18 VTOL stealth fighter jet, the most advanced AEW&C able to detect stealth fighters and long-range strategic stealth bomber. It is producing lots of advanced military aircrafts

On the research and development project to develop aircraft engines alone, it has allocated USD16 billion funds.

For its navy, it is producing the most advanced nuclear and conventional submarines, lots of advanced 052D Aegis destroyers and 056 frigates and huge 081 and 071 landing platform docks, which may serve as aircraft carriers if China has successfully developed its J-18 VTOL stealth fighter jets.

It has imported four Zubr-class world largest air-cushioned landing crafts from Ukraine, two assembled in Ukraine and the other two in China so that China may get the technology of their production.

In addition, China is developing its Type 055 large destroyer with displacement exceeding 10,000 tons.

Chinese military has all the projects U.S. military has except the most advanced Ford-class aircraft carrier. However U.S. Air-Sea Battle by its navy equipped with aircraft carriers was what it was engaged when fighting Japan in the 1940s. For Xi Jinping’s strategy for acquiring integrated space and air capabilities, large aerospace attack aircraft is the top priority.

China will spend more in acquiring such capabilities than building the most advanced aircraft carriers as integrated space and air capabilities may make aircraft carriers obsolete.

All the above is what we know from public sources.

When there is serious threat of US pivot to Asia by deploying 60% of US troops in Asia, for national security, China has to be prepared. We all know that prevention of war is better than winning a war. China has to allocate as much resources as possible for development of its military strength.

China’s excessive military spending now tells us how wise Chinese leaders are now. They have to exploit the peace now to make their utmost efforts in preparations of a war of defense of China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea. If fortunately China has grown strong enough to counter the 60% US military in Asia by 2020, the US will not be so bold as to join its ally in fighting a war against China.

I point out China’s abundant funds for military development in my book:

China has abundant funds to support its unlimited budget for military development while the U.S. is hard up now.

China’s tax income grows rapidly along with its economic growth. In addition, there is the income from state-owned enterprises at Chinese government’s disposal. Moreover, lots of corrupt officials’ assets have been confiscated in the anti-corruption campaign while the mass line campaign has greatly reduced government spending. The funds allocated to the military rise as a result of the increase in income and decrease in spending.

That explains why the increase in China’s military spending can be much bigger than the rate of economic growth.

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

China defense budget rise to defy slowing economy

(Reuters) – China’s defense budget this year will rise about 10 percent compared with 2014, a top government official said on Wednesday, outpacing the slowing economy as the country ramps up investment in high-tech equipment such as submarines and stealth jets.

Parliament spokeswoman Fu Ying told reporters the actual figure would be released on Thursday, when the annual session of the largely rubber-stamp National People’s Congress opens.

Last year, defense spending was budgeted to rise 12.2 percent to $130 billion, second only to the United States.

The official Xinhua news agency said the 2015 target – which would put defense outlays at around $145 billion – would represent the slowest growth in military spending in five years.

China has logged a nearly unbroken two-decade run of double-digit budget increases, though many experts think the country’s real defense outlays are larger than stated.

The military build-up has jangled nerves around the region, particularly as China has taken an increasingly robust line on its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.

Asked about China’s defense spending, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan was concerned the figure “lacks transparency.”

“It is true, regardless of China’s defense spending, that the security situation in the region surrounding Japan is severe for various reasons,” he added.

“On top of our own efforts in the field of diplomacy and defense, it is extremely important for our country to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance.”

INDIA LAGGING

India is working to narrow the military gap with China, which has unnerved New Delhi with forays into the Indian Ocean.

An Indian defense official looking at regional security issues said the double-digit rise was no surprise.

“There was some talk it could slow down in view of the economic slowdown, but our sense was modernization will remain on track,” the official said.

India has announced a $40 billion defense budget for 2015-16, representing a 7.9 percent rise over the allocation for 2014-15. Defense analysts said it may not be enough to acquire fighter planes, submarines and warships all at once.

In the United States, the Obama administration has proposed an increased $534 billion Pentagon base budget plus $51 billion in war funds as it urged Congress to end cuts it says erode U.S. military power.

Fu said China faced greater challenges in modernizing its military than “great powers”.

“We have to rely on ourselves for most of our military equipment and research and development,” Fu said.

“Fundamentally speaking, China’s defense policy is defensive in nature. This is clearly defined in the constitution. We will not easily change this direction and principle.”

Serving and retired military officers have said pervasive graft has undermined the armed forces’ prowess and morale among the rank and file, a problem robust spending may help alleviate.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pursued corrupt officials in all walks of life, and among the most powerful people ensnared by the campaign have been former top military officers.

While Beijing keeps the details of its military spending secret, experts have said additional funding would likely go towards beefing up the navy with anti-submarine ships and developing aircraft carriers beyond a sole vessel in operation.

NAVAL SHOPPING LIST

“Carriers have definitely got to be on the list,” said John Blaxland, Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defense Studies Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra.

“But also we’ve seen a massive surge in the number of submarines, and of course everybody loves submarines. The intimidatory effect of a submarine is hard to beat.”

Money would also likely go into cyber capabilities and satellites, Blaxland added.

China’s leaders have routinely sought to justify the country’s military modernization by linking defense spending to rapid GDP growth. But growth of 7.4 percent last year was the slowest in 24 years, and a further slowdown to around 7 percent is expected in 2015.

“We have achieved so much success with reform and opening up, we have not relied on gunboats to develop roads, but instead we have relied on complete and mutual beneficial cooperation,” Fu said.

“We have been successful on this road, the road of peaceful development. We will adhere to the path of peaceful development.”

U.S. military and diplomatic “rebalancing” towards Asia and Xi’s crackdown on corruption in the People’s Liberation Army, which has caused some disquiet in the ranks, are among the other factors keeping military spending high, experts have said.

Beijing also says it faces a threat from Islamist militants in the far western region of Xinjiang, and is drafting a new anti-terror law that will create a legal framework for sending troops abroad on counter-terrorism missions.

Source: Chan Kai Yee Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S. and Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition

Source: Reuters “China defense budget rise to defy slowing economy”


China shuts down 133 WeChat accounts for ‘distorting history’


A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

Tencent Holdings Ltd, China’s biggest social networking firm, has shut down 133 accounts on its hugely popular mobile messaging app for “distorting history”, state media said on Tuesday, citing a government internet authority.

The WeChat accounts, including one whose name translates as “This is not history”, spread “fabricated information” and confused the public, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

The censored accounts “were against laws and regulations”, “disobeyed socialist core values” and “severely disturbed the online order”.

Tencent declined to provide immediate comment.

China’s CAC, helmed by internet czar Lu Wei, has presided over sharp increase in state-mandated censorship and a campaign to “cleanse” the internet.

China operates the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship mechanism, known as the Great Firewall. Censors maintain a tight grip on what can and can’t be published online, especially anything seen to undermine the ruling Communist Party.

China is now taking steps to promote its vision of a clean, controlled and choreographed internet to other countries.

On Monday, Tencent apologized for rewarding WeChat app users who sent a message with the English phrase “civil rights” with a screen full of fluttering U.S. flags.

The CAC said last week it had closed 50 websites and social media accounts for violations ranging from pornography to “publishing political news without a permit”.

In September, Xinhua said the cyberspace watchdog had closed nearly 1.8 million accounts on social networking and instant messaging services since launching an anti-pornography campaign earlier in the year.

Source: Reuters “China’s Tencent shuts down 133 WeChat accounts for ‘distorting history’: Xinhua”


China No Letting-up of Anti-Corruption Drive


Years of efforts are required to eliminate widespread rampant corruption in China as corruption has been an inveterate problem for many years in Chinese history.

Xi Jinping proves himself capable of doing that by keeping the pressure high on corrupt officials and allowing no escape even abroad. The following are the full text of Reuters report on Xi’s unrelenting efforts:

China investigates senior military officials for graft amid crackdown

China kicked off investigations into several senior military officials on serious graft charges last year, the Ministry of Defence said on Thursday, as the country works to stamp out corruption in its armed forces.

Many of those implicated have ties to the corruption scandal of a former top military officer, Xu Caihou, who retired as vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission last year. China announced last summer it was investigating Xu for graft.

The 16 officials accused of “seriously violating party discipline”, a common euphemism for graft, include the former commander of the military region of the central province of Shanxi, Fang Wenping, the ministry said.

It was the first announcement of action faced by the officials, but did not detail all the charges against them.

Liu Zheng and Fu Linguo, former deputy directors of the powerful General Logistics Department, were both placed under investigation.

Yu Daqing, former deputy political commissar of the Second Artillery Corps, the military’s nuclear and conventional missile division, was also put under investigation, the Defence Ministry said in a statement on its website.

But it gave no details of the status of the investigations.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said graft in the armed forces is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war.

Xu had confessed to taking “massive” bribes in exchange for favors, such as granting promotions.

President Xi Jinping, who also serves as chairman of the Central Military Commission, has vowed to eradicate corruption in China’s armed forces, which are 2.3 million-strong.

China said last month it was investigating Gao Xiaoyan, Communist Party boss of the discipline committee at the People’s Liberation Army Information Engineering University.

Source: Reuters “China investigates senior military officials for graft amid crackdown”


China Xi Jinping to Establish His Powerbase through Leadership Reshuffle


The upcoming congress will see five of the seven Politburo Standing Committee members retire. They are (from left) Wang Qishan, Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang and Yu Zhengsheng. Photos: Xinhua, Reuters

The upcoming congress will see five of the seven Politburo Standing Committee members retire. They are (from left) Wang Qishan, Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang and Yu Zhengsheng. Photos: Xinhua, Reuters

Jiang Zemin the core of the third generation of CCP leadership has chosen Xi Jinping as his successor as the core of CCP Dynasty with a core like an emperor (see the section “Signs of Jiang Zemin’s Intention to Have Xi Jinping Succeed Him as the Core” in Chapter 16 of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition)

Jiang is now in Beijing to help Xi deal with the tricky issues Xi is facing and establish Xi’s powerbase (see my post “Retired Chinese Leader Jiang Zemin Stays in Beijing to Help Xi” dated January 4, 2015).

I described the difficulty of succession in the section “Succession to the Core Is the Trickiest Problem” in Chapter 6 of my book:

One thing quite interesting in Chinese politics is that there are no definition, codes or rules whatever about the power of an emperor in the past and the core of CCP now. In fact, even if there are some codes or rules, there is no institution or mechanism to enforce them.

An emperor could have absolute power like Emperor Shihuangdi of Qin (259-221 BC), but might have almost no power like Shihuangdi’s successor Huhai, whose power was usurped by Zhao Gao, a eunuch.

Seeing that the sovereign power in quite a few states was usurped by powerful courtiers at the end of the Period of Warring States (476-221 BC), Han Fei Tzu, a Legalist master, wrote a book entitled Han Fei Tzu to teach sovereigns of state the art for being an emperor.

Shihuangdi’s practice of Han’s art proved its great shortcoming in failure to ensure smooth succession. In later dynasties, the art has been greatly improved and enriched. As described in my book, Jiang skilfully applied the art to establish his powerbase. I said in my book:

For the Party, the best way to have a successor to the core is to appoint the successor the posts of general secretary and concurrently the CMC (Central Military Commission) chairman, but as mentioned in Chapter 1, that general secretary and CMC chairman may only be a “daughter-in-law” (the term used by Deng Xiaoping to denote the then Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) members in Zhao Ziyang’s secret memoir. Deng regarded himself as the “mother-in-law” who had dominating power over the daughters-in-law according to Chinese tradition.) He has to obey the instructions of the core who will be the “mother-in-law”, or to a number of powerful elders, i.e. several “mothers-in-law” if there is no core.

From this, we can see how serious China’s problems are. Even in a developing country such as India, Indonesia or the Philippines, when a person is elected the prime minister or president, he naturally has the power of his office as soon as he has been elected in the parliament or inaugurated. In China, however, a Party leader elected by the Party central committee may be powerless and the country may remain dominated by the elders who hold no official posts at all. In order to really have power and be firmly established, the leader has to gradually establish his powerbase and become the core. Even if he is lucky enough to really succeed in establishing his powerbase, it will take at least several years. Anyway, it is a very difficult process because he should be skilled in applying the art for being an emperor.

To really become the core, there must not only be reshuffle to appoint one’s protégés to important posts but more importantly to create bondage with them to ensure their loyalty.

Jiang has been successful in doing so. As a result, he has always managed to have a majority of his protégés in the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) since his retirement.

Hu Jintao, however, has not obtained the status as the core and has not even chosen by Jiang as the successor to core even though he has appointed lots of his protégés to powerful posts through lots of reshuffles. Why? Because he failed to create close bondage with his protégés. As a result, he could not rally all the members of his large and powerful Youth League faction to contend with Jiang’s Shanghai faction.

Now, everybody expect that there will be reshuffle after Xi took over the reigns, but that is not the key issues. What we are interested in is: first whether Xi will find and appoint honest and talented officials to important posts and second and more important, whether Xi is able to create bondage with them to ensure their loyalty.

The following is the full text of SCMP’s article today on the coming reshuffle in China:

Xi Jinping paves the way for leadership reshuffle

Retirements in Politburo Standing Committee strengthen president’s hand

The first change of personnel involving a Politburo member since the 18th party congress suggests that President Xi Jinping has kick-started his preparation for the semi-leadership transition at the 19th party congress when a large number of top officials are expected to retire.

Analysts said the recent secondment of Politburo member Sun Chunlan from the post of Tianjin party secretary to be the head of the party’s United Front Work Department was the first such step since November 2012, and paved the way for a major reshuffle of personnel in 2017.

Sun took over the party portfolio from Ling Jihua one week after the aide to former president Hu Jintao was placed under investigation for graft. Sun’s post was taken by Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo, 60, an ally of Xi’s since their days working together in the coastal Zhejiang province. Huang’s promotion suggests he is likely to be elevated to the Politburo as the Tianjin party post usually comes with a seat in the 25-person body.

Analysts expect Xi to make the reshuffle his priority this year, as the upcoming congress will see five of the seven Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) members – all except Xi and Premier Li Keqiang – retire due to age.

Another six members in the Politburo, the second most powerful body, will also step down by then as they will all pass the compulsory retirement age of 68 in 2017. The remaining 12 Politburo members, excluding Xi and Li, will compete for the five PSC seats, the party’s innermost cabinet, while about 250 Central Committee members will compete for one of 11 Politburo seats.

Steve Tsang, from the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham, said top-level changes at the 19th Congress were required by retirement rules and Xi was more aware of this than anyone else.

Heading into his third year in office, Xi appears more confident with his status, having emerged as the most powerful leader in the post-Deng Xiaoping era. In the past two years, Xi has set out a vision for his two five-year terms. At the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Central Committee in November 2013, the leadership mapped out comprehensive reforms to the social, economic and government systems. At the fourth plenary session in October, the leadership agreed to overhaul the judicial system to promote “rule by law” and “constitutional rule”.

Hong Kong-based analyst Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Xi would shift his focus to personnel matters this year and next, with only two plenary sessions of the Central Committee left before 2017.

Zhang Ming, a political scientist with Renmin University, said he believed Xi would use the upcoming party congress as a platform to consolidate his status as paramount leader after Deng.

Xiaoyu Pu, professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno, said the contest for a seat on the Politburo and its smaller Standing Committee would depend on many factors and much remained uncertain. But Lau said Xi had probably already made a shortlist of candidates for both bodies, though he might take some time to test “the ability and loyalty of these guys”.

“President Xi might take this year and next to decide who he likes in 2017,” Lau said.

Lau said that Xi would focus on consolidating his influence in the Central Committee, the panel that selects the Politburo, by stacking it with supporters.

Analysts said Xi would use his anti-graft campaign to dismantle vested interest groups and tighten his grip on power.

The campaign has already detained and expelled from the party several allies and aides of former leaders, including former security chief Zhou Yongkang and retired general Xu Caihou, both of whom had been under the patronage of former president Jiang Zemin . Jiang is believed to be the leader of the “Shanghai faction” – which comprises officials from the financial hub – while Hu is head of the “Youth League faction” – comprised of those who once served in the Communist Youth League.

The party watchdog has detained about 30 officials at the vice-ministerial level or higher for graft since December 2012.

Zhang said the “process of purges and personnel reshuffles will likely continue through the next several months”.

Source: SCMP “Xi Jinping paves the way for leadership reshuffle”

Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition


US Ignorance of the Fierce Ideological Struggle in China


New York Times (NYT) recent article on China’s Maoist revival reflects Western China watchers’ ignorance of the fierce ideological struggle in China.

It is natural for Western China watchers to hope that China will be Westernized when it is modernized, but fail to see that at the beginning, westernization and modernization are closely linked, but as a country has further modernized, the rate of Westernization declines and the indigenous culture goes through a revival. That was clearly pointed out by talented American political scientist Samuel Huntington in his book Clash of Civilizations.

Before Xi Jiping took over the reigns, the then National People’s Congress (NPC) Chairman, a heavy weight of Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction, denounced Western democracy every year in his annual report to the NPC. Western values of democracy and human rights have never been accepted by CCP though China’s reformists want to conduct a thorough Western-style economic reform.

At that time, some pro-Western intellectuals were allowed to air their views in public but the government did so only to show to the West its tolerance of Western ideas.

Was that not very clear to the West when Liu Xiaobo was jailed for advocating the Western political system of multiparty democracy?

Still, in spite of their diligent analysis of Chinese government documents and media reports, Western China watchers fail to understand that China’s political system is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core like an emperor. (Please refer to my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements.)

The first priority of the emperor, the core, is to maintain CCP’s monopoly of political power.

It is especially so for Xi Jinping who has been chosen by Jiang Zemin as the successor to Jiang’s status as the core.

When Xi took over the reigns in November 2012, the CCP was on the verge of collapse. In his speech to the press when he had just been elected the general secretary, he pointed out the many severe challenges CCP faced, especially corruption, being divorced from the mass of people, formalism and bureaucratism.

Soon he conducted his mass line education campaign to give the people the right of democratic supervision to overcome official despotism and make preparations for his anti-corruption storm. However, his insight did not stop there. He knew that CCP had to learn lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party.

In his speech to Guangdong officials in December 2012, he said the reason why the Soviet Communist Party, a party larger than CCP in terms of its proportion to Soviet population, disintegrated overnight was because the party had wavered in its ideal and faith and the party organizations had failed to play their role.

If one knows the core’s priority to maintain CCP’s monopoly of political power and to prevent the CCP from collapse like the Soviet Communist Party, one should naturally understand that when Xi has made satisfactory progress in dealing with the challenges of corruption, etc., he will certainly tighten ideological control so that the CCP may not waver in its ideal and faith.

However that is by no means the revival of Maoism. Maintain China’s economic growth is also Xi’s priority as without that the CCP will also be in danger of collapse. For that Xi is carrying out a further reform of thorough economic liberalization. Maoism has precisely been the major obstacle to Xi’s economic reform.

However, Maoism remains very popular among conservatives. That was why Bo Xilai used Maoism to rally all the conservatives around him and established his powerful conservative faction. The fierce power struggle between the reformists and the conservatives led by Bo Xilai is described in details in my book. (Refer to Chapter 13 “Fierce Battle for Succession to the Core–Xi Jinping’s Position as Hu Jintao’s Heir Precarious” of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition).

Therefore, Xi’s efforts to restore Marxist values by no means aim at a revival of Maoism that advocates class struggle, monolithic public ownership and planned economy.

Such Maoism has been refuted by the Three Represents, the first of which justifies the pursuit of capitalism while the third turns CCP into a party of the whole people. (Refer to the section titled “The Three Represents Signifies Scholars’ Conclusive Victory in Chapter 13 of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition).

Ignorance of what the Three Represents really means and the difference between China’s new Marxism and Maoism are characteristics of NYT’s and also C.I.A’s ignorance of Xi Jinping.

The danger for the US is if Xi revives Maoism, he will never succeed in his economic reform. As a result, the US can rest at ease that Chinese economy will lose steam and never be able to surpass the US. As a result the US will not be prepared to face a China that is not Westernized but stronger than the US a decade later.

The following is the full text of New York Times article:

China’s Maoist revival seeks to eliminate all western thought

They pounce on bloggers who dare mock their beloved Chairman Mao. They scour the nation’s classrooms and newspapers for strains of Western-inspired liberal heresies. And they have taken down professors, journalists and others deemed disloyal to Communist Party orthodoxy.

China’s Maoist ideologues are resurgent after languishing in the political desert, buoyed by President Xi Jinping’s traditionalist tilt and emboldened by internal party decrees that have declared open season on Chinese academics, artists and party cadres seen as insufficiently red.

Ideological vigilantes have played a pivotal role in the downfall of Wang Congsheng, a law professor in Beijing who was detained and then suspended from teaching after posting online criticisms of the party. Another target was Wang Yaofeng, a newspaper columnist who voiced support for the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and then found himself without a job.

Since Xi came to power, the pressure and control over freethinkers has become really tight,” said Qiao Mu, a Beijing journalism professor who was demoted this fall, in part for publicly espousing multiparty elections and free speech. “More and more of my friends and colleagues are experiencing fear and harassment.”

Two years into a sweeping offensive against dissent, Mr. Xi has been intensifying his focus on perceived ideological opponents, sending ripples through universities, publishing houses and the news media and emboldening hard-liners who have hailed him as a worthy successor to Mao Zedong.

In instructions published last week, Mr. Xi urged universities to “enhance guidance over thinking and keep a tight grip on leading ideological work in higher education,” Xinhua, the 2 official news agency, reported.

In internal decrees, he has been blunter, attacking liberal thinking as a pernicious threat that has contaminated the Communist Party’s ranks, and calling on officials to purge the nation of ideas that run counter to modern China’s Marxist-Leninist foundations.

“Never allow singing to a tune contrary to the party centre,” he wrote in comments that began to appear on party and university websites in October. “Never allow eating the Communist Party’s food and then smashing the Communist Party’s cooking pots.”

The latter-day Maoists, whose influence had faltered before Mr. Xi came to power, have also been encouraged by another internal document, Document No. 30, which reinforces warnings that Western-inspired notions of media independence, “universal values” and criticism of Mao threaten the party’s survival.

“It’s a golden period to be a leftist in China,” Zhang Hongliang, a prominent neo-Maoist, said in an interview. “Xi Jinping has ushered in a fundamental change to the status quo, shattering the sky.”

China’s old guard leftists are a loose network of officials and former officials, sons and daughters of party veterans, and ardently anti-Western academics and journalists. They look back to the precepts of Marx, Lenin and especially Mao to try to reverse the effects of China’s free-market policies and the spread of values anathema to party tradition. And while their direct influence on the party leadership has been circumscribed, they have served as the party’s eager ideological inquisitors.

Their favourite enemies are almost always members of China’s beleaguered liberal circles: academics, journalists and rights activists who believe that liberal democracy, with its accompanying ideas of civil society and rule of law, offers the country the best way forward.

Mr. Xi’s recent orders and the accompanying surge of pressure on political foes further dispelled initial suspicions that his ideological hardening was a feint to establish his credibility with traditionalists as he settled into power. Instead, his continuing campaign against Western-inspired ideas has emboldened traditional party leftists.

“China watchers all need to stop saying this is all for show or that he’s turning left to turn right,” said Christopher K. Johnson, an expert on China at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, who formerly worked as a senior China analyst at the C.I.A. “This is a core part of the guy’s personality. The leftists certainly feel he’s their guy.”

In November, after Mr. Wang, the newspaper columnist, was dismissed from his job, the nationalist tabloid Global Times celebrated his downfall in a commentary. “In the future, the system will take a harder line towards the ‘pot-smashing party’,” it said, referring obliquely to Mr. Xi’s remarks about those who live off the party and then criticise it. “They will have a choice: change their ways or get out of the system.”

The latest directive, Document No. 30, demands cleansing Western-inspired liberal ideas from universities and other cultural institutions, according to Song Fangmin, a retired major-general, who discussed it with dozens of veteran party officials and hard-left activists at a meeting in Beijing in November. The directive formed a sequel to Document No. 9, which Mr. Xi authorised in April 2013, launching an offensive against ideas such as “civil society,” General Song said.

“These two documents are extremely important, and both summarise speeches by the general secretary,” he said, referring to Mr. Xi by his party title. “They identify targets so we can train our eyes on the targets of struggle.”

Unlike Document No. 9, which was widely circulated online, to the consternation of party leaders, No. 30 has not been openly published. But some of Mr. Xi’s comments have appeared in party publications, and references to it have surfaced on the websites of universities, party organisations and leftist groups, illuminating how the directive has coursed through the government to amplify pressure on dissent.

One political scientist from a prestigious Beijing university said that senior leaders had tried to keep the document confidential by transmitting it orally through the ranks. “This time it’s being kept top secret,” he said, “because last time things were far too public.”

But its effects have been apparent. Newspapers have accused universities of serving as incubators for antiparty thought, and campus party committees have been ordered to sharpen ideological controls. In June, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences revealed that a party investigator had accused the academy of harbouring ideological deviants. The investigator, Zhang Yingwei, said in a speech that the academy had been infiltrated by foreign subversion, and researchers were “wearing their scholarship as a disguise to create a smokescreen.”

The campaign has alarmed liberal academics, who fear that Mr. Xi is reviving the kind of incendiary denunciations of internal foes that have been rare since Chairman Mao convulsed the nation with his jeremiads against bourgeois thinking. Some, like Wu Si, a well-regarded liberal historian, take a longer view, and argue that realpolitik will eventually force Mr. Xi to adopt a more moderate position.

“It’s a self-defensive strategy against those who might try to call him a neoliberal,” Mr. Wu said in an interview.

Before Mr. Xi came to power in late 2012, few foresaw such a sharp and extended ideological turn. China’s leaders were then consumed with purging Bo Xilai, the ambitious politician who had courted party traditionalists by evoking Mao and the rhetoric of the revolutionary past. When Mr. Bo fell, his leftist followers came under official suspicion and some of their websites and publications were shut down.

Now, however, leftist voices are back in vogue. Analysts say it is unlikely Mr. Xi wants to take China back to Mao’s puritanical era, but doctrinaire Communists see him as a useful ally, and his directives as a license to attack liberal critics of the party.

“The leftists were under pressure for a while but now they are very active again,” said Chongyi Feng, an associate professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, who follows China’s intellectual and political developments. “Xi Jinping has used these people to attack.”

At a meeting in October, party secretaries of universities and colleges were summoned to discuss Mr. Xi’s instructions and urged to “enhance their sense of dangers and resolutely safeguard political security and ideological security.”

In November, The Liaoning Daily, a party newspaper in northeast China, drew nationwide attention with a report that said universities were troubled by ideological laxity. Chinese academics, it complained, were comparing Mao Zedong to an emperor, praising Western notions such as a separation of powers, and “believing that China should take the path of the West,” it said.

“It has become fashionable in university lecture halls to talk down China and malign this society,” said the report.

The ideological policing has sent a chill through China’s liberal intelligentsia. Several academics declined to be interviewed, saying they were lying low for the time being. Others said they had already experienced what they liken to an ideological purge.

Since October, Qiao Mu, the journalism professor and director of the Centre for International Communications Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, has been relegated to clerical drudgery, summarising English-language books in the school library, as retribution, he says, for his advocacy of Western-style journalism and a long affiliation with liberal civil society groups in China. In addition to barring him from the classroom, administrators slashed his salary by a third, he said, removed his name from the department’s website and forced his students to find other thesis advisers. “It’s meant to be a kind of humiliation,” he said, adding that he was told his demotion could last for years.

Officially, he is being punished for defying superiors who had withheld permission for him to travel abroad for conferences and other academic pursuits. But privately, school officials acknowledge growing pressure from above.

As he whiles away his days in the library, Mr. Qiao, 44, has become despondent. Some friends have suggested that he leave China, or at least compromise his values and do as he is told.

“I want to stay in my motherland,” he said, adding, “As I like to say, I have everything I need here in China, except freedom.”

Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition

Source: New York Times – Maoists in China, Given New Life, Attack Dissent