Xi Jinping Typhoon

Xi Jinping launched his first nationwide mass line campaign for a year commencing from July 2013.

Xi Jinping calls his campaign mass line education practice activities. Its goal was to establish democratic supervision for the rectification of officials’ work style and imposition of strict discipline on them by means of democratic supervision. His democratic supervision aims not only at overcoming for the time being corruption, being divorced from the masses of people and the four malpractices of formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance but also ensuring that officials really become public servants and work for people’s benefits.

Before Xi Jinping came to power, when the government had received a report on an official’s offense, it first investigated the informer’s background to see whether he had an ulterior motive. So the informer may well be the first to suffer instead of the official. Who dared to report?

Under Xi’s leadership, as soon as such a report has been received, an investigation is made whether what has been reported on is true. If it is, the official is punished while the offense-reporter’s background and motive are disregarded.

That is why in CCP’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily’s four commentaries on Xi Jinping’s mass line education practice activities, officials are told that “They are able to face squarely the problems only when they listen to opinions from grass-root up.” The problems referred to in the commentaries are being divorced from the masses, and the four malpractices of formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance.

In Xi’s first speech to the press after he became the general secretary on November 15, 2012, he said, “Under the new situation, our party faces many severe challenges and there are many pressing problems that need to be resolved, especially corruption, being divorced from the mass of people, formalism and bureaucratism among some party officials that we must make great efforts to resolve. The whole party must be on full alert.”

Why corruption the problem that ranks the first in the speech was not included in the problems referred to in the commentaries?

Official Despotism Is the Top Issue as It Turns CCP into the People’s Enemy
Being divorced from the masses of the people” is Xi Jinping’s euphemism for local officials’ despotism that has turned CCP into the people’s enemy. Local despots’ infringement on the people’s interests in allowing the establishment of projects harmful to people’s health or environment, conducting land grabs, levying unauthorized tax, taking bribes, exacting unwarranted fines, etc. had given rise to tens of thousands of people’s protests each year. There were statistics from investigations that before Xi’s campaign there were more than one hundred thousand incidents of mass protest to protect their rights in China every year. Instead of understanding and making allowance for people’s complaints, local governments sent armed police to suppress protesters.

When local despotism prevailed almost in almost every area, petition to the central authorities was the only way for them to obtain some remedy. Under Hu Jintao’s leadership, the central authorities still took care of the people. Hu Jintao’s Scientific Outlook on Development advocates “putting the people first.” However, local despots sent thugs to round up petitioners and detain them in the black jails they set up in Beijing. The petitioners caught by local depots would be released only when they promised not to petition any more. If they did not cease petitioning, local despots sent them to re-education-through-labor camps to silence them. The masses of the people, though silenced by such persecution, remained indignant. Their indignation might erupt at any time and would be impossible to suppress like volcano eruptions.

Xi understood that official despotism was the greatest threat that might cause China to collapse. It was the foundation of rampant corruption. Therefore, as soon as he took over, he took blitz actions to close black jails and held national conference to strengthen China’s petition system. That was in fact the shocking, surprising commencement of his campaign to eliminate local despotism. Due to its shocking and surprising impact, I call it Xi Jinping cyclone.

The corruption cases that had incurred great popular wrath could be dealt with along with other malpractices in the campaign. Other cases that could not be discovered in the campaign had to wait till they could be exposed later when people were emboldened by the campaign or discovered by other means such as declaration of assets. Such cases, though in the long run were extremely dangerous to the country, could wait for the time being as they did not incur people’s enmity within a short period of time so that they would not threaten CCP’s survival. Moreover, if official despotism had not be eliminated, corrupt officials would remain powerful and able to scare common people. It would be dangerous for common people to fight their corruption.

Therefore, removal of official despotism through the campaign was Xi’s priority at that time.

The Typhoon
In Hong Kong’s weather system, cyclones are classified from low to high intensity into depression, storm, severe storm, typhoon, severe typhoon, super typhoon.

The cyclone of Xi’s blitz actions to close black jails though strong, was not a storm so that it lacked killing power. Now, Xi had intensified the cyclone and turned it into a typhoon. In July 2018, Xi began a nationwide mass line education practice campaign for one year to overcome the malpractices of being divorced from the masses of people, formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance.

At that time, those were the mistakes that almost every official from top to bottom had to a certain extent committed; therefore, Xi Jinping called his campaign an education campaign, i.e. a campaign to educate the officials in order to overcome those mistakes and implement his mass line. It meant that all officials should examine themselves before the masses of people so that it was a campaign that would make them all lose their dignity and face. As a result, common people would no longer be afraid of them and would be bold enough to expose their mistakes and crimes.

Did that work? Could officials really be made to examine and criticize themselves? Would the masses of people come out to expose officials’ mistakes in spite of being scared by officials? The higher officials’ ranks, the more serious their mistakes. Who would dare to expose high officials’ mistakes? Take care that there might be retaliation!

That was why Xi Jinping had to first urge conservatives to be the vanguards in opposing the malpractices of being divorced from the masses of people. The number of conservatives was large and they were supported by lots of retired high officials. They had long been indignant at officials’ misconducts. Now, they had the opportunities to attack officials for their misconducts. As soon as the conservatives began their attack, all the factions would find faults with one another and there would be heat in the campaign. When there was heat in the campaign to cause officials to be punished for their mistakes, lots of officials’ prestige and dignity would be swept into the dust and the masses of the people would begin to believe that they have the right of democratic supervision and dare to expose official corruption.

That was perhaps not enough. Conservatives and the masses of the people might still be no rival to the united group of a large number of local powerful officials.

Xi Jinping had conducted careful planning before starting the campaign. Soon after the 18th CCP Congress, he sent more than 800 officials selected from central ministries and enterprises to various areas to be high officials when lots of old officials retired in the major reshuffle after the 18th CCP Congress.

Xi divided the campaign into two phases of six months. To ensure the success of the first phase, he sent 45 supervision teams to 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, 7 ministries and commissions including the National Audit Office, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and National Health and Family Planning Commission and 7 central enterprises including Sinopec and State Grid and key colleges at vice minister-level including Nanjing University to ensure that the mass line education practice campaign will be carried out in an “orderly and effective manner” without being just for show, The large number of central officials he had sent to those areas and organizations would cooperate with the teams.

In addition, he reformed Hu Jintao’s inspection tour system of sending about a dozen inspection teams every six months to province-level areas and major corporations and organs. He reduced their scope of inspection to discovering and reflecting clues of violation of law and discipline and thus turned them into anti-corruption inspection teams. The 12 teams he sent around June 2013 world coordinate with the central inspection teams for the campaign. As a result, local officials were under triple or at least double central surveillance.

The heads and deputy heads of the 45 central inspection teams were all former high officials with enough weight to direct local officials in carrying out the campaigns.

Local officials from top to bottom had to conduct self-examinations before common people and listen humbly to their criticism and comments. It was an ordeal for even the most honest official as official work style at that time was indeed very poor so that the criticism against his/her work style might make him/her perspire all over.

For example, an official was severely criticized for having a subordinate holding an umbrella for him when he was out in the rain. That was quite common before the campaign but an official was people’s servant. Now he became the master to be served by his subordinate.

Xi’s democracy campaign educated not only officials but also common people. It made his democracy superior to Western democracy. That would be elaborated later.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

With Democracy, Xi Jinping Won His Fight against Corruption

What caused Wang Yang and Hu Jintao’s Failures in fighting corruption?

The lack of democracy!

Democracy Indispensable in Overcoming Corruption
Some people say, “Without democracy, it is impossible to overcome corruption.” True, democracy is indispensable in overcoming corruption. However, it does not mean that a country can be free of corruption as long as it has democracy, especially Western democracy.

Western democracy has been soundly established in India for decades, but corruption is as rampant in India now as in China under Hu Jintao’s rule. Corruption remains serious in some Latin American countries with established Western democracy.

The theory is that in a Western democracy a corrupt leader cannot be elected. There is some truth in that theory. However, it is not an absolutely reliable theory as people vote on the basis of past records. A candidate with ambition to make a fortune through corruption does not have the power or chance to do so before being elected. Therefore, he participates in the election in order to obtain top power to facilitate his corruption. When he is fortunately elected, with top leader’s power he can take lots of bribes from those who want him to help them make unlawful profits with his authorization.

Moreover, when elected, an honest leader may become corrupt if he/she is not strong enough to resist corrupt people’s seduction with money and sex.

In addition, a top leader whether elected or inherited, though honest, may not be competent enough to control the officials below to prevent or overcome corruption. Emperors Jiaqing, Daoguang and Xianfeng of the Qing Dynasty and Xi Jinping’s predecessor Hu Jintao were typical examples.

There shall be constant supervision of all officials including the top leader. Therefore, there shall be a democracy with people’s frequent and active participation in governing the country and supervising the officials. A Western democracy is far from adequate, in which people only participate in governing the country by vote every two to six years and in some cases only a little over 50% of people take part in voting. Xi simply rejects such Western democracy.

What democracy can effectively overcome corruption?

Xi Jinping’s Socialist Democracy with Chinese Characteristics
The CCP has its traditional mass line of “working entirely for and relying entirely on the masses of people; from the masses and to the masses”. With that mass line, CCP learns and understands the opinions and aspirations of the masses of people and collects their wisdom so as to formulate popular policies. It then makes the masses of people understand its policies and mobilize them to implement the policies.

With that mass line, CCP is a party of the people that makes and implements its policies by and for the people. Its government is precisely a government of the people, by the people and for the people as described by US great president Lincoln in its Gettysburg Address.

That is democracy in its truest sense. In comparison, Western democracy of universal suffrage is fake democracy especially when the election results are influenced by powerful vested interests.

In a Western democracy, the government elected is at best a government by the people but may well be a government elected by, of and for vested interests as vested interests are very powerful in some Western countries, especially the United States.

Mass Line Democracy
The above-mentioned mass line was the democracy, with which CCP collected people’s wisdom and mobilized the masses of people to win the Civil and Korean Wars with a poorly equipped army.

Xi was to use that democracy to mobilize the people and make them join him in fighting corruption.

Xi Jinping’s Mass Line Campaign
In the years of CCP revolution in the past, all its officials and members understood CCP’s mass line well and conscientiously applied it to achieve victory. When Xi Jinping took over, corruption became rampant as lots of officials became despots riding roughshod over the people instead of people’s servants. The huge group of officials became a very strong vested interest.

Xi needed another powerful group, the mass of people, to balance it. He did not want to eliminate the group of officials but had to keep it and maintain its normal authorization as there had to be officials with power for satisfactory governance of the nation.

In order to restore CCP’s mass line democracy, Xi conducted a nationwide Mass Line Education Practice Campaign to teach the mass of people and the officials that the mass of people are the boss and the officials are their servants. With that campaign, Xi established a democracy in China better than Western democracy and won his fight against corruption with it.

That was a fierce campaign with purgatory effect. I call it Xi Jinping Typhoon and will provide details of it in my later post.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

At One Stroke, Xi United the Nation, Obtained Powerbase

With profound understanding of most Chinese people’s mindset, Xi Jinping knew that deep at the bottom of Chinese people’s heart there was a cherished desire to recover the glory of the Chinese nation in its thousands years of history. The reformists and conservatives share that same desire, which Xi Jinping called China dream. They differed only in the ways they advocated to attain that goal.

The reformists wanted further reform and opening-up for the transformation from export- and investment-geared growth to innovation-, creation- and consumption-led growth. Without such a transformation, there would be no hope for further growth of Chinese economy. They wanted equal treatment to foreign and Chinese private and state-owned enterprises so as to put an end to state-owned enterprises’ monopoly that hindered competition. Only competition may stimulate people to innovate and create in order to win while protectionism only protects backward enterprises.

They, in particular, advocate giving better support and encouragement to the development of private enterprises. Facts have proved that private enterprises have made much more contribution to innovation and creation. The reformists believed that the success of China’s private and foreign enterprises will stimulate China’s state-owned enterprises to make greater efforts to innovate and create in order to win competition.

On the other hand the growth of the private sector had widened the rich-poor gap. As quite a few rich people got their wealth through corruption, most people were indignant at the gap and advocated Maoist egalitarianism.

Bo Xilai exploited their indignation to form a large and powerful conservative faction that advocate encouraging and supporting state-owned and restricting private sector. In Chongqing Municipality Bo was in charge of, Bo gave preferential treatment to state-owned enterprises while persecuting hundreds of rich entrepreneurs there by framing up their connection to organized crime. Bo’s nationwide sing-red campaign and sending of quotations from Mao to all mobile phones in Chongqing seriously hindered reformists’ further reform and opening up.

Xi, though a thorough reformist, had the wisdom to see that the conservatives’ orthodox Maoist ways hindered China’s economic growth but their intention was also to make China rich and strong. Their ways were wrong but their intention was good. Among the conservatives there were lots of honest people willing to fight for the realization of Xi’s China dream. Xi could use them as one of his major forces in fighting corruption.

The large number corrupt officials were very powerful as they held high official position and had close relations with other officials in the factions they respectively belonged to. When one member of a faction was accused of corruption, other members would strive to protect him evem though they themselves were not corrupt and even opposed corruption. They would regard the accusation as an attempt to attack their faction for the purpose of weakening it. Moreover, at that time corrupt senior retired officials controlled the military and police, where there was also rampant corruption.

Though Xi had just been elected to the top position without a large number of powerful officials behind him, he could have huge number of honest people in both reformist and conservative factions behind him as a much stronger force to fight corruption. They will be his much stronger powerbase.

Soon after Xi was elect as CCP top leader, he took the wise step to bring all the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) members to visit “The Road Toward Renewal” exhibition in Beijing. There, he said that at that time people talked much about their dreams. In his opinion the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation was the greatest China dream for Chinese people. Xi called on people to strive to realize that dream.

The reformists certainly had that China dream. They wanted to conduct further reform and opening-up precisely for that purpose.

What about the conservatives?

In fact, China dream was put forth by conservatives instead of reformists.

In 2009, PLA senior colonel Liu Mingfu published a leftist book titled “China Dream: Great Power Thinking and Strategic Posture in the Post American Era” to oppose reformists’ view on China’s peaceful rise and advocate, instead, China’s “military rise”. Liu advocated China’s military rise to become world number one militarily. The book was an imminent bestseller with all the one million printed copies snatched by buyers thirsty to read it. However, Hu Jintao banned reprinting of the book due to its leftist pursuit of China’s military rise.

Liu’s success proved that China dream was very popular among conservatives.

Therefore, Xi Jinping’s speech on the realization of China dream had rallied all Chinese people whether reformists or conservatives around him at one stroke.

The day after November 29 when Xi Jinping talked about China dream, for the first time, Liu Mingfu received a phone call from his publisher that reprinting of his book was allowed.

Xi had the vision to see possible US military interference in China’s disputes with Japan over the Diaoyus (know in Japan as Senkakus) and with its neighbors in the South China Sea. His China dream on the grand rejuvenation of China certainly means making China not only economically but also military strong; therefore when he visited Chinese navy on April 11, 2013, he talked about the dream for a militarily powerful China to emphasize that his China dream for a powerful China includes making China militarily powerful. That enhanced the support he had from the conservatives who wanted China’s military rise.

Later, he carried out thorough structural overhaul and intensive training of Chinese military to enable it to fight modern war with integrated ground, surface, air and space capabilities.

Xi’s blitz actions to close all black jails in Beijing and release all the those imprisoned there shocked local officials, but they did not know the actions were Xi’s preparations for his major campaign against corruption. The actions did have emboldened netizens to inform against some corrupt officials. Those officials were indeed punished but there number was small. A large-scale nationwide campaign against corruption had not begun.

Local officials certainly did not know Xi’s secret in building up his powerbase through his upholding of China dream for his fight against corruption. As Xi did not take any drastic actions against their despotic rule, they began to wonder that though Xi had shown his teeth in his blitz actions to close their black jails, were his teeth as sharp as tiger’s ones?

In later years of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, local officials developed a strategy to disobey orders from above. There was a well-known saying: “Where there are policies from above, there will be ways to deal with them below (上有政策,下有對策).”

The rampant corruption emerged under Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao’s rule. Hu did make great efforts to fight against corruption but the situation went from bad to worse. What could Xi do? His blitz action was probably what was described in the saying “a new broom sweeps clear” for a new official. Therefore, local officials were confident that their strategy of “Where there are policies from above, there will be ways to deal with them below” would continue to work.

Hu Jintao had a strong faction and lots of protégés with high official positions but was still unable to deal with corruption. What could Xi, a commander-in-chief without soldiers, do? They asked.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

Xi Jinping a Revolutionary, a True Revolutionary

The Education Xi Jinping Has Received to Be a Revolutionary
At home, Xi Jinping received education about revolution from his father Xi Zhongxun, a well-known communist revolutionary.

At school, he received the education to be a firm revolutionary fighter. It was the education for all students at that time.

A typical lesson in the textbook for secondary school students to be brave in fighting for revolution is the Chinese translation of Gorky’s prose poem Storm Petrel, the English translation of which is copied from Baidu and provided below:

The Stormy Petrel

High above the silvery ocean winds are gathering the storm-clouds, and between the clouds and ocean proudly wheels the Stormy Petrel, like a streak of sable lightning.

Now his wing the wave caresses, now he rises like an arrow, cleaving clouds and crying fiercely, while the clouds detect a rapture in the bird’s courageous crying.

In that crying sounds a craving for the tempest! Sounds the flaming of his passion, of his anger, of his confidence in triumph.

The gulls are moaning in their terror–moaning, darting o’er the waters, and would gladly hide their horror in the inky depths of ocean.

And the grebes are also moaning. Not for them the nameless rapture of the struggle. They are frightened by the crashing of the thunder.

And the foolish penguins cower in the crevices of rocks, while alone the Stormy Petrel proudly wheels above the ocean, o’er the silver-frothing waters.

Ever lower, ever blacker, sink the stormclouds to the sea, and the singing waves are mounting in their yearning toward the thunder.

Strikes the thunder. Now the waters fiercely battle with the winds. And the winds in fury seize them in unbreakable embrace, hurtling down the emerald masses to be shattered on the cliffs.

Like a streak of sable lightning wheels and cries the Stormy Petrel, piercing storm-clouds like an arrow, cutting swiftly through the waters.

He is coursing like a Demon, the black Demon of the tempest, ever laughing, ever sobbing–he is laughing at the storm-clouds, he is sobbing with his rapture.

In the crashing of the thunder the wise Demon hears a murmur of exhaustion. And he knows the storm will die and the sun will be triumphant; the sun will always be triumphant!

The waters roar. The thunder crashes. Livid lightning flares in stormclouds high above the seething ocean, and the flaming darts are captured and extinguished by the waters, while the serpentine reflections writhe, expiring, in the deep.

It’s the storm! The storm is breaking!

Still the valiant Stormy Petrel proudly wheels among the lightning, o’er the roaring, raging ocean, and his cry resounds exultant, like a prophecy of triumph–

Let it break in all its fury!

Let the storm of revolution break in all its fury! That is Gorky’s description of a revolutionary’s mindset in the storm of a revolution.

That prose poem remained in secondary school Chinese language textbooks for a long time since the communist takeover in China. It was popular among students and inspired them to be brave in fighting for revolution. Chinese teenagers’ enthusiasm during the Cultural Revolution proved that.

My Colleague Wu’s Bravery in War with South Vietnam Also Proved That
When I worked as an electrician in a large chemical plant, I had a new colleague just retired from navy. I was told that he was a war hero but we did not think so as just like other electricians, he was fond of making funs, joking and even playing pranks.

We asked him to tell us about his heroic deeds in the navy that made him honored as a war hero. He said that he was just lucky to have the opportunity to fight in a real combat.

He said that when he joined the navy, he thought it would be dull in the military as it was in peace time so that he would never have the chance to fight in a war. He received training as an electrician on the warship as he was good at science and mathematics at school. That job was interesting but it was not what he joined the navy for.

He said, “It happened that we had an encounter with South Vietnamese navy. We usually avoid meeting them but due to some misinformation, we had a surprise encounter. We tried hard to run away as we were told to avoid fighting an enemy better equipped than us. We had to prevent our valuable naval assets from being destroyed by the enemy.

“However, before we were able to sail away, the Vietnamese opened fire and hit our warship. Our gunner was injured and had to be brought down to receive treatment. I had been trained as the stand-by gunner but had never thought I would have the chance to fight as a gunner. However, I received gunner training conscientiously as I was told by our commander that in peace time my job as the electrician is most important but in a war the gunner was most important. If the gunner was unable to hit, destroy and even sink enemy’s warship, we will be hit and even be sunk by the enemy.”

He told us that his first shot missed but he made quick readjustment so that the next few shots all hit and finally sank the enemy warship. The others all ran away so that the Chinese fleet won the battle. He was awarded a citation of merit along with quite a few others alive or dead for their performance in the battle.

“Were you not afraid? It was the first time you were under gunfire, ” asked one of my young colleagues.

He said, “You all have read Gorky’s Stormy Petrel in our textbooks. At that time, I was a stormy petrel waiting for storm. I am excited that the storm had really come.”

Xi Jinping Also a Stormy Petrel in Revolutionary Storms

The first generation of the communists in CCP, risked their lives to fight and win their revolution. Xi is not required to fight like them, but he took similar risks in his fight for Chinese revolution.

He took great risks in fighting rampant corruption when he took over the reign. The greatest risks were his fight against retired generals who controlled Chinese military and powerful retired senior official who controlled Chinese police.

He has restored socialism in China with his Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. In the course of the establishment of the Thought, he conducted a revolution in CCP to restore it as revolutionary party fighting for communism. By so doing he has put an end to the degeneration of CCP into a huge vested interest.

His recent visit to North Korea and his Belt and Road initiative told us that he has been making efforts for the recovery of the socialist camp. It is a new form of communist world revolution commensurate with the new situation in the world. There will be no violent revolution but peaceful win-win cooperation for common prosperity. In stead of world communism, he is making great efforts to establish a world community with shared destiny.

Those will be elaborated in my later posts

Article by Chan Kai Yee

China’s Xi Jinping Not Got the Title of China’s Great Leader Yet

Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily says in its report “Qianxinan Autonomous Prefecture Got Emergent Notice to Withdraw Portrait of Great Leader” on November 19 that since the 19th Congress, Qianxinan Prefecture of Guizhou Province has been vigorously propagate “Great Leader General Secretary Xi Jinping”. Since the beginning of November, standard portraits of Xi marked with “Great Leader General Secretary Xi Jinping” have appeared at all venues of official meetings, government offices and school classrooms. However, in the evening of November 17, the prefecture issued an emergent notice demanding immediate removal of all Xi’s portraits marked with the wording of “great leader” and forbidding the use of such title in all official documents or propaganda.

It is similar to the incident when Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao was elected general secretary the first time in 2002. He was called the “core of central leadership” by local authority but soon such title was removed.

On February 5, 2005, Hu was again referred to as such core at CCTV primetime news, but Chinese authorities and media refrained from using such title afterwards. I pointed out in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements” that Hu had not gained the position of “core” and that Jiang Zemin remained the core.

In the second enlarged version of the book, I pointed out Jiang had selected Xi to be successor of to him as the “core”.

Jiang, though was the core for more than two decades, has not got the position or title of “great leader”, the title only PRC founder Mao had got. However, that title no longer appears before Mao’s name now.

Chinese politicians care very much about what they will be described in Chinese history. Assumption of exaggerating titles may appear quite stupid in Chinese history.

Xi has been regarded as the core but he still has to apply the art of balancing, a vital part of the art for being an emperor, in setting up his Politburo Standing Committee.

Among the seven member of the committee, Wang Huning and Han Zheng are chosen from Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction; Li Keqiang and Wang Yang are of Hu Jintao’s CYL faction; and only Li Zhanshu is Xi’s man. Zhao Leji belongs to no faction, which makes him the best choice to be in charge of fighting corruption as he will be free from the influence of any faction, not even Xi’s faction that has not fully taken shape. Otherwise, the fight against corruption will utterly fail as it will be turned into the power struggle between various factions. The victorious factions will be even more corrupt after their victory.

I described in the second version of my book why Xi had to convince all the factions that his struggle against corruption is not power struggle as the struggle would have failed at its very beginning if it had been power struggle.

Xi’s first five-year reign has proved his great wisdom and courage, but he has not shown whether he is competent as a great leader.

In Chinese history, a great leader shall first of all have the ability to identify talents and appoint them to important official posts to give play to their talents.

We see quite a few new faces in Xi’s new Politburo but still have to wait for their actual performance in the coming five years to prove that Xi has made the right choices.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Singtao’s report, full text of which in Chinese can be found at https://hk.news.yahoo.com/%E9%BB%94%E8%A5%BF%E5%8D%97%E5%B7%9E%E6%8E%A5%E7%B7%8A%E6%80%A5%E9%80%9A%E7%9F%A5-%E6%92%A4-%E5%81%89%E5%A4%A7%E9%A0%98%E8%A2%96-%E8%82%96%E5%83%8F-221124254.html.

“Fat Leonard,” the Navy bribery scandal involving more than 60 admirals, explained

It involves fancy dinners, prostitutes, and lots of alcohol.

Updated by Alex Ward@AlexWardVoxalex.ward@vox.com Nov 6, 2017, 5:20pm EST

The US Navy is now investigating more than 60 admirals and hundreds of other Navy officers because of their possible involvement in a bribery and fraud case that has become the worst corruption scandal in the service’s history.

As the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock reports, the admirals caught up in the so-called “Fat Leonard” scandal allegedly attended fancy meals — and post-dinner romps that sometimes included prostitutes and lots of alcohol — throughout Asia, paid for by a defense contractor named Leonard Glenn Francis. Francis is already in jail in San Diego because he pleaded guilty in January 2015 to charges of bribery and fraud; his bribes and fraudulent invoices helped him overcharge the Navy for his services by around $35 million. He’s now cooperating with authorities.

In total, 440 active-duty and retired sailors are currently under scrutiny for possibly violating ethics rules in their dealings with Francis’s company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia. So far, criminal charges have been filed against 29 people, with at least one retired rear admiral serving prison time.

Here’s what you need to know about the “Fat Leonard” scandal that is threatening some of the most senior officials in the US Navy.

“The KGB could not have done what he did”

At the core of the scandal was a tit-for-tat that allowed Francis to gain unprecedented access from top Navy officials such as admirals — the highest-ranking officials in the US Navy, equivalent to generals in the Army, Marines, or Air Force.

As the Washington Post reports, the Singapore-based Francis bribed officers of the Navy’s Seventh Fleet — the service’s largest fleet that operates in Asia — with gifts like prostitutes, money, and vacations while they docked in his ports from Russia to Australia. In exchange, Francis received classified information — including warship and submarine movements — and sensitive contracting developments.

Francis would use that privileged information to get US ships to dock in ports his company controlled. Once there, he would overcharge for “fuel, tugboats, barges, food, water, and sewage removal,” the Washington Post reported last year.

This went on for at least a decade until Francis was arrested in a sting operation on September 16, 2013, that spanned three states and seven countries in order to arrest other suspects and obtain relevant files.

Francis did have some help to do his work, though. His four associates recruited Navy officers as moles for the company and submitted fraudulent invoices, according to the Post. They have also pleaded guilty to charges ranging from fraud to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

But the Post reports that part of Francis’s success stemmed from his strategy to show leaders a good time so that they wouldn’t care how the Navy paid for dock services. He would sometimes be on the pier when the ship pulled in to offer bribes right away. Those who interacted with him said his personal touch allowed him to make friends with top Navy officials — making sure to keep them happy. That’s partially why Seventh Fleet ships kept returning to his ports, and why he was able to overcharge so much for his services.

“The Soviets couldn’t have penetrated us better than Leonard Francis,” an unnamed retired Navy officer who knew Francis told the Post. “He’s got people skills that are off the scale. … At one time he had infiltrated the entire leadership line.”

“The KGB could not have done what he did,” the officer continued.

Robert Huie, an assistant US attorney in San Diego working the Fat Leonard case, was incredulous when he heard what Francis was able to do. “I ask, when has something like this, bribery of this magnitude, ever happened in this district or in our country’s history?” he said last year during a court hearing on the case. “Mr. Francis’s conduct has passed from being merely exceptional to being the stuff of history and legend.”

Officials have already been charged. Will there be more?

While the investigation into the scandal is now expanding, some formerly high-ranking officers have already been charged with crimes.

So far, 14 Navy officials have pleaded guilty to charges ranging from making false statements to conspiracy to commit bribery. Retired Rear Adm. Robert Gilbeau is the highest-ranking officer to go to prison because of the scandal. In May 2017, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, had his rank reduced to captain, and had to pay $150,000 in fines. The 13 others who pleaded guilty include three captains, five commanders, a petty officer — all junior officers — and three civilians.

Ten others are awaiting trial, including retired Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless. He was arrested in California in March and was charged with conspiracy, bribery, and making false statements, the Washington Post reports.

Adding Francis and his four associates brings the total number of charged people to 29.

It’s possible that more will face penalties as investigators look into the conduct of more admirals and officers, but it’s still unclear if they will be charged. Still, the size and scope of the Fat Leonard scandal to date is already troublesome.

Source: Vox website ““Fat Leonard,” the Navy bribery scandal involving more than 60 admirals, explained”

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

Chinese watchdog says 1.34 million officials punished for graft since 2013

Reuters Staff OCTOBER 8, 2017 / 1:41 PM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s anti-graft watchdog said roughly 1.34 million lower-ranking officials have been punished since 2013 under President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive.

Xi, who is preparing for a major Communist Party leadership conference later this month, has made an anti-graft campaign targeting “tigers and flies”, both high and low ranking officials, a core policy priority during his five-year term.

China is preparing for the 19th Congress later this month, a twice-a-decade leadership event where Xi is expected to consolidate power and promote his policy positions.

Those punished for graft since 2013 include 648,000 village-level officials and most crimes were related to small scale corruption, said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on Sunday.

While much of the country’s anti-graft drive has targeted lower ranking village and county officials, several high-ranking figures have been taken down.

In August the head of the anti-graft committee for China’s Ministry of Finance was himself put under investigation for suspected graft.

In September a senior military officer who sits on China’s powerful Central Military Commission, overseen by Xi, was detained and questioned over corruption-related offenses, Reuters reported.

The CCDI said 155,000 country-level party bureaux have set up corruption policing mechanisms as of August, representing 94.8 percent of total bureaus.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Michael Perry

Source: Reuters “Chinese watchdog says 1.34 million officials punished for graft since 2013”

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