You should be less worried about whether China will overtake us than what we’re going to do [in the United States]. Because if we do the things we need to do to get our house in order and fix our economic problems and restore our economy, we’re going to be the preeminent power for a long time. And if we don’t, we won’t.
Former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson
The above is US media Foreign Policy’s quote of Paulson’s advice on US maintaining its no. 1 position.
The media carried a report titled “Xi Jinping’s Problems Are ‘Monumental’” on Paulson’s new book, especially his views on China and its leaders. Due to his experience in doing lots of work along with Chinese leaders when he was first an international banker and then US treasury secretary, Paulson has profound insight in understanding China.
He sees Chinese President Xi Jinping’s charisma as a leader in describing Xi as “a big presence who lit up a room.”
The report quotes Paulson as saying, “I can’t think of a leader in history that is attempting to change so much for so many people on such a massive scale as Xi. He’s got the economy to reboot, he’s got an urbanization model to reboot or change, in addition to the environment to clean up, the corruption problem…. You’re talking about really [deep] reforms.”
Paulson reminded the reporter in the report: While Xi “doesn’t want our values or our form of government,” it’s also true that the problems Xi is “dealing with are very significant; they’re monumental.”
Paulson described how China learnt from the US, which enabled China to rise so drastically.
He believes that the US has to help Xi Jinping’s reform which will benefit the US.
For example, the controversial U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). He regards it as a possible agreement to liberalize mutual investment and further open China’s economy to Western competition. The report quotes him as saying, “I’m very positive about the progress so far.” “I think that the Chinese side has crossed a big threshold with their willingness to provide a negative list which essentially says, rather than having to go seek approval for every investment, these are the parts of our economy that are open and these are the parts that aren’t. Now this won’t be easy to get done. And it sure won’t be easy to get done this year. But if this is done properly and it’s a high standard BIT, it can be transformational and help open up more of the Chinese economy to competition and create more opportunities for U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.”
According to Paulson, the US shall support Xi in his reform because the problems Xi is “dealing with are very significant; they’re monumental…” “(I)f he doesn’t (succeed), it’s going to hurt us all.”
Source: Foreign Policy “Xi Jinping’s Problems Are ‘Monumental’”
Full text of the report can be found at https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/16/xi-jinpings-problems-are-monumental-henry-paulson-interview/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks&utm_campaign=Russia_Direct_April_Promo_PowerInboxRS4%2F16
Jiang Zemin put forth his Three Represents and Hu Jintao put forth his Scientific Outlook on Development. Both are regarded as the legacy guidelines they left for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to follow. Now it is Xi Jinping’s turn. He put forth his “Four Comprehensives” in his speech last December. Just like Jiang Zemin’s first mention of his Three Represents in a speech in 2000, Xi’s mentioning of his Four Comprehensives did not attract much attention until now. CCP mouthpiece the People’s Daily has published and will publish one commentary after another to publicize it as “a strategic blueprint for China’s future”.
I am going to give below the full texts of People’s Daily commentary and Reuters report on the Four Comprehensives:
However, it is interesting to point out that Jiang put forth his Three Represents for the first time in 2000, 11 years after he was appointed CCP general secretary. It indicated the difficulties in establishing his powerbase. Hu put forth his Scientific Outlook on Development within one year after being appointed. It indicated the strong support he got from Jiang the core of the third generation of CCP leadership.
Xi has obtained strong support from not only Jiang, the core, but also other elders so that he was able to put forth his Chinese Dream as soon as he was appointed. Now he has substantiated his Chinese Dream with the Four Comprehensives. It indicates his success in establishing his position as CCP leader.
However, judging by the serious pollution, corruption, overcapacity, excessive local government debts, etc. left behind by Hu Jintao, Hu has not had much success in realizing his Scientific Outlook in developing Chinese economy.
Will Xi be able to realize his Four Comprehensives to “comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively implement the rule of law, and comprehensively strengthen Party discipline”?
That is the question.
Deepen reform? Can he surmount the resistance from conservatives and vested interests?
Rule of law? Can China’s judiciary be independent?
Strengthen Party discipline? Can he overcome rampant corruption?
PEOPLE’S DAILY COMMENTARY
Xi’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ a strategic blueprint for China’s future
(Xinhua) 08:20, February 26, 2015
BEIJING – A moderately prosperous society, reform, rule of law, Party discipline — these “Four Comprehensives” are Xi Jinping’s blueprint for China’s future.
The “Four Comprehensives” are tasks raised at Communist Party of China (CPC) meetings over the last two years, since President Xi Jinping took office.
The concept was first mentioned by Xi in December, “..comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively implement the rule of law, and comprehensively strengthen Party discipline.”
Shortly after Xi took helm of the CPC in November 2012, he put forward the concept of “the Chinese Dream,” or “the great renewal of the Chinese nation”.
“A moderately prosperous society” is not only the primary objective identified at the 18th Party Congress, but also “a crucial step towards the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation.”
Xi’s first trip as China’s leader was to Shenzhen, symbolic hub of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, and promised “no stop to reform and opening up”.
“Deepening reform” identifies the route to prosperity and social progress.
The “Four Comprehensives” come as China pays greater attention to improving governance following the economic miracle. Social justice has become an important goal.
“The rule of law” came to prominence at the fourth session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and guarantees modernization of the system of government while championing social justice.
The leadership has taken great pains to address corruption, which they believe may threaten the very survival of the Party and the state: “Strengthening Party discipline” is a must for the CPC to survive.
The “Four Comprehensives” will ensure China continues steadily on its path of development.
After the ‘Three Represents,’ China pushes ‘Four Comprehensives’
BEIJING Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:13am EST
(Reuters) – Following in the footsteps of Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the “Three Represents,” China is promoting President Xi Jinping’s “Four Comprehensives,” calling for rule of law and enforcement of Communist Party discipline.
State media has ratcheted up promotion of the doctrine in the run-up to the country’s annual parliamentary session in March.
The People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s most important mouthpiece, praised the slogan in a front-page commentary on Wednesday. The commentary also appeared on state television and other party-owned news outlets.
The “Four Comprehensives” refer to China working “comprehensively” to build a moderately prosperous society and strengthen reforms, rule of law and party discipline.
Party discipline is Communist Party jargon for efforts to fight corruption. A campaign against graft has formed the centerpiece of Xi’s administration and the leadership has vowed to target both high- and low-level offenders.
Xi has referred to the “Four Comprehensives” in past months but the People’s Daily editorial signals a wide endorsement.
Xi’s best-known slogan so far has been his call for the “Chinese dream”, an ambiguous catchphrase leaders have said refers to national rejuvenation in everything from ties with Taiwan to China’s space program.
Critics say pursuing rule of law is futile without granting independence to courts, which are controlled by the Communist Party. China’s top court on Thursday said it rejected the notion of Western-style judicial independence and separation of powers.
Former President Jiang Zemin was famed for his “Three Represents,” which embraced private entrepreneurs and were written into the party’s constitution.
Hu Jintao, Xi’s immediate predecessor, was primarily known for the economic doctrine of “scientific development”.
I believe that Reuters’ report today on China’s rule of law is also interesting; therefore, I give its full text below:
China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform
BEIJING Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:53am EST
(Reuters) – China’s top court set a five-year deadline on Thursday for legal reforms to protect the rights of individuals, prevent miscarriages of justice and make its judiciary more professional as the ruling Communist Party seeks to quell public discontent.
A statement on the Supreme Court’s website promised specific deadlines for each goal, including support for a “social atmosphere of justice” by 2018.
It gave more details of a decision reached at a four-day meeting last year, when the party pledged to speed up legislation to fight corruption and make it tougher for officials to exert control over the judiciary.
Despite the legal reforms, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration has shown no interest in political change and has detained dozens of dissidents, including lawyers.
China’s top court stressed that one of the five basic principles of legal reform was adhering to the party’s leadership and “ensuring the correct political orientation”.
He Xiaorong, the director of the Supreme People’s Court’s reform division, said the court “would make officials bear responsibility for dereliction of duty” for cases that have a wide impact.
“Only through the establishment of such a system can we ensure that we can guarantee social fairness and justice in every case,” He told a news conference, according to a transcript on the court’s website.
The measures reflect worries about rising social unrest. Anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution – issues often left unresolved by courts – have resulted in violence between police and residents in recent years, threatening social order.
The court said it would prohibit criminal defendants from wearing vests and jumpsuits to trials, effectively removing the presumption of guilt that is common in China. It pledged to strengthen the prevention of torture to gain evidence and “effectively prevent miscarriages of justice”.
It would also establish a performance evaluation system for judges, “perfect the mechanism for protecting lawyers’ rights” and establish media galleries in courts for certain trials.
It also promised to boost transparency, saying it would make more information available, and reduce local protectionism by changing the jurisdiction of courts.
How much impact the reforms would have was uncertain. Laws are often not enforced and can be abused by the police.
On Wednesday, the court urged party officials to shun Western-style judicial independence and reject “erroneous Western thought”, state media said on Thursday, as controls over the media, dissent and the Internet are tightened.
Source: Reuters “After the ‘Three Represents,’ China pushes ‘Four Comprehensives’” and “China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform”
Source: People’s daily “Xi’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ a strategic blueprint for China’s future”
Few reforms succeeded in China’s thousands years of history mainly due to the agony caused by the reform. Shang Yang’s reform was the greatest. It made the State of Qin strong both economically and militarily and finally able to unify China.
However, due the agony caused by the reform, Shang Yang was cruelly killed by conservatives. Fortunately, in spite of strong conservative opposition, the sovereigns of Qin wisely carried on the reform. Pressure from other powerful states was one of the major factors that forced the sovereigns of Qin to gain the strength through the reform to counter the threat from them, especially its powerful neighbor, the State of Wei to which the State of Qin had lost quite a large part of its territory.
In a sense, Qin should be grateful to those states for the pressure placed on it by them.
The situation is being repeated in China’s current reforms.
Due to the agony caused by the reforms, major reform leaders Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang fell into disgrace.
Due to the agony caused by the reforms, there was mass protest in 1989 that almost overthrew the communist regime.
Jiang Zemin led the new generation of talented intellectuals with moral integrity to exploit the panic caused by the mass protest and carry out a silent peaceful coup d’etat to substitute intellectuals’ dominance of Party and state for uneducated workers’ and peasants dominance. (See my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition). He was thus able to carry on Deng Xiaoping’s reform.
However, the reform seemed to be at a dead end. It seemed that no one knew how to conduct the trickiest reform of China’s state owned enterprises. There were the popular predictions that China will soon collapse so that American Chinese writer Gordon Chang’s book The Coming Collapse of China became a best seller in early 2010s.
I said in my book that Gordon Chang knew China well and his prediction was well founded. He saw the problems China faced at that time, especially the trickiest problem in China’s state-owned sector. No one in the world has ever resolved the problem satisfactorily. The Soviet Union tried to solve the problem by privatization but collapsed as a result.
However, Jiang’s talented assistant Premier Zhu Rongji smoothly carried out the reform of China’s state-owned sector and turned it from a source of huge losses into a lucrative sector.
I said in my book that Gordon Chang failed in his prediction because he underestimated Chinese talents.
While carrying on Jiang’s reforms and economic development, Hu Jintao saw the problem of corruption, pollution and over-reliance on export and investment and put forth the Scientific outlook on development as a remedy. He had to conduct another round of economic reform for thorough economic liberalization, but he was unable to overcome the resistance from vested interests and conservatives.
Hu left Xi Jinping a legacy of rampant corruption, a stagnant economy with overinvestment and excessive local government debts and fierce power struggle between conservatives and reformists.
I have described in my book how Xi launched his anti-corruption storm, put an end to the power struggle and was happy that economic slowdown facilitated his thorough economic reform.
Now, seeing the economic slowdown, quite a few China watchers have predicted the coming collapse of China again. A typical article is Linette Lopez’s “ANALYST: China’s ‘Long-Awaited Day Of Reckoning’ Is Almost Here” at Business Insider (it can be viewed at http://www.businessinsider.com/credit-drying-for-chinas-soes-2015-1).
Ms. Lopez does not know China so well as Gordon Chang. She failed to see the huge assets Chinese central and local governments have for resolution of the debt problems. However, if Xi’s thorough economic reform fails, economic slowdown will be a prolonged reality.
Xi and his assistant Premier Li Keqiang repeatedly said that China’s reform is now in deep water due to the strong resistance of vested interests. The State of Qin successfully carried out Shang Yang’s reform as its sovereigns were able to overcome the resistance from powerful aristocrats. Now, China’s problem is whether Xi and Li are able to overcome the resistance of powerful vested interests. (As described in my book Xi has overcome powerful conservatives’ even greater resistance.)
Xi and Li are now carrying out their thorough reforms step by step smoothly. When Jiang Zemin met Henry Kissinger, he told Kissinger that China needed a strongman and Xi was strong enough. He was happy Xi was the right choice as China’s leader.
Xi has proved himself as a sufficiently strong leader by his mass line campaign and anti-corruption storm. However, according to Chinese history, a leader has to master the art for being the emperor, in which discovery, wise use and creation of bondage with talented assistants is the key for a Chinese emperor’s success. (I have described in my book that China’s current political system is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core like an emperor.)
Only when Xi has found and appointed to high posts his loyal protégés can we be sure he is able to carry out his reforms successfully to make China the richest and strongest nation in the world.
The following is the full text of Reuters report today on China’s economic slowdown:
China’s imports slump, capping dismal January trade performance
China’s trade performance slumped in January, with exports falling 3.3 percent from year-ago levels while imports tumbled 19.9 percent, far worse than analysts had expected and highlighting deepening weakness in the Chinese economy.
Largely as a result of the sharply lower imports – particularly of coal, oil and commodities – China posted a record monthly trade surplus of $60 billion.
The data contrasted sharply with a Reuters poll which showed analysts expected exports to gain 6.3 percent and the slowdown in imports to slow to 3 percent, following a better-than-expected showing in December. The poll had also forecast a trade surplus of $48.9 billion.
The slide in imports is the sharpest since May 2009, when Chinese factories were still slashing inventories in reaction to the global financial crisis. Exports have not produced a negative annual reading since March 2014.
The dismal trade performance will increase concerns that an economic slowdown in China – originally considered a desirable adjustment away from an investment-intensive export model toward one based on domestic consumption – is at risk of derailing.
The government is expected to lower its GDP target to around 7 percent this year, after posting 7.4 percent in 2014 – the slowest pace in 24 years.
Chinese economic indicators in January and February are typically viewed with caution given the distortions caused by the shifting week-long Lunar New Year holiday, and while the analyst median estimate was for a rise, the range of estimates was extremely wide.
However the data – in particular the import data – is worrisome even after accounting for cyclical factors; last year the new year holiday idled factories and financial markets for a week in January, but this year the holiday comes in late February and January was a full month of business as usual.
“It’s a very strange data print,” said Andrew Polk, economist at the Conference Board in Beijing, noting that exports tended to be less effected by the holiday than other indicators, but added he was more concerned by the implications of the startlingly negative import figure.
“The import data suggests a substantial slowdown in the industrial sector. The first quarter looks to be pretty horrible.”
Investors had hoped that the announcement of domestic stimulus spending plans, combined with moves to ease monetary policy, including a reduction in banks’ reserve requirement ratios on Wednesday, would restore confidence and boost demand in China’s struggling manufacturing sector.
However, many analysts believe measures taken so far to boost yuan liquidity are insufficient to do much more than offset surging capital outflows. Advocates of more aggressive action will seize on the weak January trade data to support their case.
Chinese imports have fallen every month since October, seen as reflecting weak domestic demand, and the scale of January’s drop was mostly due to an across-the-board fall in import volumes of major commodities.
For example, coal imports dropped nearly 40 percent to 16.78 million tonnes, down from December’s 27.22 million tonnes, and China also appeared to cut back on its strategic stocking of crude oil imports, which slid by 7.9 percent in volume terms.
Imports from Australia and the Russian Federation, both major fuel and commodity suppliers, slid by 35.3 percent and 28.7 percent, respectively.
Chinese officials had predicted that monetary easing measures in Europe would boost demand for Chinese goods, and analysts polled by Reuters had also been optimistic that signs of economic strengthening in the United States would support exports.
However, the data showed that while exports to the United States rose by 4.8 percent year-on-year to $35 billion, exports to the European Union slid 4.6 percent to $33 billion in the same period.
Exports to Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan were also down, with exports to Japan slumping over 20 percent.
During 2014, China’s total trade value increased by 3.4 percent from a year earlier, short of the official target of 7.5 percent, and some analysts have raised questions about whether export data was inflated by fake invoicing as firms speculated in the currency and commodities markets.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: Reuters “China’s imports slump, capping dismal January trade performance”
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
I have pointed out in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition that there are three black boxes in China: The CCP Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), the group of powerful elders who control China behind the scene and the secret police.
I describe how Xi obtained powerful elders support for his cyclone to fight rampant corruption, official despotism, extravagance, bureaucratism, hedonism, etc. in early September during his mysterious absence (refer to Chapter 15 The Mystery of Xi Jinping’s Absence in September, 2012—Xi’s Inaction before and Xi Cyclone after His Absence of my book).
Now, as Xi’s anti-corruption storm and mass line campaign have offended lots powerful officials, Jiang Zemin has to leave his mansion of retirement in Shanghai to stay in Beijing to provide the most powerful support of the group of elders.
Those who are ignorant of China’s political system of CCP Dynasty with a core of leadership like are emperor remain naïve in their comments on Jiang’s recent appearance in Hainan.
In its report on Jiang’s appearance in Hainan, SCMP quotes Hong Kong-based political observer Johnny Lau Yui-siu as saying, “Jiang wants to warn President Xi Jinping – who has brought down several Jiang protégés including former security chief Zhou Yongkang amid his ongoing anti-graft campaign – don’t target my sons and grandchildren while I am still alive. We can see the praying tour was accompanied by the Hainan party head, which indicated some local officials still look up to him as he still has political influence.”
Obviously Mr. Lau is entirely ignorant of the fact that Jiang remains the core that has the power as an emperor and due to his mastery of the art for being an emperor, he has made satisfactory arrangement for succession so that like Deng his relatives will be protected by his successor after he died.
If Jiang had not created bondage with his successor like the bondage Deng has created with Jiang, it is no use that Jiang shows his influence now when he is alive. When his successor has established a sound powerbase after Jiang’s death and wants to punish Jiang’s relatives, nobody can help them.
Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty was a powerful emperor ruling China firmly for more than 60 years. He was able to protect his favorite corrupt official He Shen even after his retirement, but soon after he died, his successor arrested, executed He and confiscated He’s enormous assets.
He Shen was closer to Qianlong even than Qianlong’s relatives, but Qianlong could not protect He after his death even though he married his daughter to He’s son.
In fact, Jiang’s public appearance has shocking impact on the powerful officials who want to retaliate due to Xi Jinping’s investigation and punishment of their corrupt crimes.
In spite of the threat of their retaliation, Xi continued his anti-corruption storm relentlessly. He challenged their threat with his public appearance in a meal at a popular fast-food restaurant as if saying, “Come to assassinate me. I am not afraid of assassination.”
In fact, people must understand the strength of secret police in a communist country by Putin’s emergence as a Russian strongman.
Chinese secret police is not less powerful. Previously they brought down powerful conservative leader Bo Xilai by tricks to ensure Xi Jiping’s smooth succession. (Please refer to Chapter 18 The Third Black Box—The Mystery of Bo Xilai Falling into Disgrace.) Now, they are secretly protecting Xi so that Xi is able to appear in public with a small entourage.
People shall never underestimate the influence of the third black box in China.
Jiang’s words there revealed some important information but SCMP seems failing to attach importance to it. It quotes Jiang as saying, “”I will help you to promote it when I return to Beijing. The mountain will be crowded in the future”.
Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily noticed that Jiang’s words about his return to Beijing indicated that Beijing is perhaps Jiang’s permanent residence now. It gives the impression that Xi has asked Jiang to come out of retirement and help him deal with lots of tricky issues Xi is facing.
Here I give a translation of Singtao’ report on Jiang’s words:
“Jiang said to Luo Baoming the Hainan provincial Party secretary who accompanied him, ‘A famous spot with such nice scenery shall be vigorously promoted by Hainan. Beijing shall also vigorously promote it. When I return to Beijing, I will also promote it for you, then there will be a huge crowd here.’ Those words seem to hint that at present Jiang Zeming stays in Beijing permanently.”
The following is the full text SCMP report:
Jiang Zemin family steps out in public
Robust former president leads family on hike at age of 88 in possible show of strength amid Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign, observers say
Former president Jiang Zemin has taken a walk with family members in Hainan province, photos posted online show, in an apparent demonstration of the retired leader’s health and continuing political influence, according to observers.
It was Jiang’s second high-profile public appearance in a month.
The photos were posted on the WeChat account of the Dongshan Ridge parkland in the southern province. They showed Jiang, with his wife Wang Yeping and two other generations of their family, on their way to a mountainside Buddhist temple. They were accompanied by Luo Baoming, the Communist Party’s provincial head, and several officials and bodyguards.
“It’s a pity [that people] do not come to visit such a famous mountain in Hainan,” Jiang, 88, was quoted by the WeChat message as saying. “It’s a worthwhile trip for Jiang Zemin.”
Jiang promised Luo he would help to promote the beauty of Dongshan, the message said. “Hainan [officials] should try to promote such a nice scenic spot,” as should leaders in Beijing.
“I will help you to promote it when I return to Beijing. The mountain will be crowded in the future,” Jiang was quoted as saying.
The pictures showed Jiang and his wife in apparent good spirits while hiking, although they needed some assistance to get up and down the mountain.
The details about the family’s tour in Hainan were deleted by yesterday afternoon, but the pictures and quotes were widely picked up by media websites at home and overseas.
Some internet users and political observers noted that Dongshan in Chinese means “staging a comeback”.
Hong Kong-based political observer Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the family’s praying tour, involving three generations, suggested the former president was making every effort to protect the interests of his two sons and grandsons.
“Jiang wants to warn President Xi Jinping – who has brought down several Jiang protégés including former security chief Zhou Yongkang amid his ongoing anti-graft campaign – don’t target my sons and grandchildren while I am still alive,” Lau said. “We can see the praying tour was accompanied by the Hainan party head, which indicated some local officials still look up to him as he still has political influence.”
On December 3 – just two days before the Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog announced the dismissal and formal investigation into Zhou – state media reported Jiang, former vice-premier Li Lanqing and current vice-premier Liu Yandong had visited the National Museum in Beijing.
“Every time Jiang makes a public appearance it has a purpose, because he is such a typical old-style Chinese leader who is unwilling to give up power,” said Zhang Ming, a professor of political science at Renmin University.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: Singtao Daily “Jiang Zeming at winter resort in Hainan, Climbing Dongshan mountain to Pray for Blessing” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Source: SCMP “Jiang Zemin family steps out in public”
Reuters reports today on Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s announcement on investigation of the corruption of former president Hu Jintao’s close protégé Ling Jihua but quotes two sources with ties to the leadership as saying that Ling, who heads a party body charged with reaching out to non-Communists and holds a rank equivalent to a vice premier, may escape prosecution.
Reuters says that Xi Jinping is being fair to investigate Ling. As Xi has targeted another former president Jiang Zeming’s protégés, Xi has to investigate Ling to show that he is not targeting any specific faction.
A truely wise leader shall have vision to prevent any faction from suspecting that his punishment of any high official aims at weakening a specific faction so that his fight against corruption is but power struggle.
If the fight has been regarded as power struggle, it will give rise to a mess of political struggle in China and Xi can never succeed in eliminating rampant corruption, which may cause CCP to collapse.
In Chapter 16 “Xi Jinping Tendered His Resignation—All Elders Give Full Support for Xi Jinping Cyclone” of this blogger’s book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition, this blogger points out Xi’s difficulty in fighting corruption due to faction politics: The removal of a high official in a faction may greatly weaken it. The faction will certainly protect the official and demand a lenient punishment or even immunity. Other factions will mostly side with the faction of the guilty official for fear that it was a faction’s trick to weaken other factions one by one. The resistance of the alliance of the faction with other 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. This blogger says in his book:
In order to succeed in his fight against corruption and for further reform, Xi should first of all obtain support from Jiang, the core of the CCP Dynasty and the leader of the strongest faction, who had the power similar to an emperor.
He should also win over the elders of all other factions so as to avoid encountering their resistance.
During Xi’s mysterious two-week absence, he went to all the elders to win their support in his fight against corruption and made clear to all of them that a high official of whatever faction becomes the target of his anti-corruption purely because of the official’s own corrupt crime. It has nothing to do with the power struggle to weaken the specific faction; therefore, no one shall protect the official.
As a result, Jiang Zeming took the lead not to protect his mentor’s son Bo Xilai and protégé Zhou Yongkang to show his support for Xi’s anti-corruption campaign.
With all the elders’ especially the core of leadership Jiang Zemin’s support, Xi has the freedom to punish corrupt officials no mater what factions they belong to.
Therefore, it is groundless speculation that in order not to offend Hu Jintao. Ling Jihua will not be prosecuted when Ling has been found guilty.
The following is the full text of Reuters report:
China probes former senior aide to Hu Jintao over graft
China’s ruling Communist Party announced a corruption investigation into a one-time senior aide to former president Hu Jintao on Monday, as President Xi Jinping opens another front in his sweeping battle against deep-rooted graft.
In a terse and brief statement on its website, the party’s anti-corruption watchdog said that Ling Jihua was being investigated for “suspected serious discipline violations”, the usual euphemism for graft. It gave no other details.
But two sources with ties to the leadership said that Ling, who heads a party body charged with reaching out to non-Communists and holds a rank equivalent to a vice premier, may escape prosecution.
“He is under investigation, but it does not necessarily mean he will be prosecuted,” one source with ties to the leadership told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“This is Xi Jinping being fair,” the source added, meaning that the president is keen to show his campaign will target anyone and that nobody is safe, no matter what their party affiliations.
Several allies of another former president, Jiang Zemin, have also been targeted, including former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai and former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang.
“Xi is not targeting a specific faction,” said the second source. “Hu Jintao’s men are also being investigated.”
Ling Jihua was demoted in September 2012 after sources said his son was involved in a deadly crash involving a luxury sports car.
The car, a Ferrari according to some of the sources, crashed in Beijing in March 2012 in an embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party, which is sensitive to perceptions that children of top party officials live rich, privileged lifestyles completely out of touch with the masses, the sources said.
Ling was dropped from his post as head of the party’s General Office of the Central Committee, a powerful post similar to cabinet secretary in Westminster-style governments.
He was then appointed as minister for the less influential United Front Work Department, which is in charge of co-opting non-Communists, religious groups and ethnic minorities.
As of Monday evening, Ling’s picture and biography were still on the United Front’s website, implying that despite the probe he still has his job.
It was not possible to reach him for comment and it is not clear if he has a lawyer.
Speculation about Ling’s fate had been running high after a probe into his older brother, Ling Zhengce, was announced in June, for suspected “serious discipline and law violations”.
After Ling Zhengce fell, the official Xinhua news agency noted cryptically that “having somebody in the palace won’t help”, in pointed reference to his family connections.
However, last week Ling Jinhua had a 4,000 character essay published in a major party journal, Qiushi, about the importance of maintaining unity for the country’s ethnic minorities, in which he mentioned Xi’s name at least 15 times.
China’s campaign against official corruption has intensified since Xi took over as president, with several senior government figures and state company executives in detention.
Zhou’s arrest was announced earlier this month and the government is also investigating Xu Caihou, the retired deputy head of the powerful Central Military Commission.
Source: Reuters “China probes former senior aide to Hu Jintao over graft”
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Related posts at tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com:
- China: Severe Anti-corruption Storm on the Horizon dated August 31, 2013
- Severe Anti-corruption Typhoon to Sweep Entire China dated November 15, 2013
- Anti-corruption Storm Sweeps the Top dated November 22, 2013
- China: Little Officials, Giant Corruption dated November 15, 2014
- China Sufficient Anti-corruption Awe by Punishing Zhou Yong Kang dated December 7, 2014
Ideology is always important in Chinese politics, especially in power struggle. Now, Xi Jinping has offended lots of powerful officials with his anti-corruption and mass-line campaigns and his mentor Jiang Zeming is 88 years old. Conservatives believe that they now have the golden opportunity to disrupt once for all Xi’s thorough economic reform.
Like their predecessors, they started their campaign to bring down Xi with ideological debates on Mao’s theory of class struggle.
In 1966, Mao used his theory of class struggle and constant revolution to grab back power from his selected successor Chinese President and CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Vice Chairman Liu Shaoqi.
Later in the era of reform, conservatives used the ideological struggle against Western spiritual pollution to successfully force the then CCP reformist General Secretary Hu Yaobang to resign.
Carried away by their success in bringing down Hu, under powerful conservative elders’ leadership, Deng Liqun nicknamed Leftist King and other conservative writers launched fierce attack at the reform capitalist in nature in order to put an end to the reform. Zhao Ziyang, another top reformist who had replaced Hu as the general secretary, silenced leftist writers by closing leftist writers’ headquarters the Research Office of CCP Secretariat and leftists’ mouthpiece the Red Flag magazine.
Zhao’s bold acts infuriated powerful conservative elders. They went to Deng Xiaoping to complain and asked Deng to remove Zhao from the post as CCP general secretary. However, Zhao won Deng’s firm support and was for a time able to carry on the reform.
Tiananmen Protests caused the downfall of Zhao who sympathize with the protestors. Reform suffered great setback until Deng used his Southern Tour to reinvigorate the reform.
The above is known to most people not only China watchers.
The power struggle between conservatives and reformists later has not been so clear to them. That is a long story described in details in the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements. Here I will give a short summary of it.
Jiang Zeming exploited the fear throughout the CCP given rise by Tiananmen protesters who almost overthrew the CCP, to conduct a silent peaceful coup d’état to substitute intellectuals’ dominance of the CCP and state for uneducated workers and peasants’. As a result, he was able to use his Three Represents to justify China’s pursuit of capitalism and recruitment of capitalists into the CCP. Failure to understand the first of his Three Represent makes most China watcher unable to see that.
Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao knew that conservatives might use Mao Zedong Thought to attack the reform again and disrupt the tremendous achievements of reform. He began his efforts to remove Mao Zedong Thought by omitting the Thought in his major speeches and major CCP documents. He has thus given Bo Xilai the opportunity to rally all the conservatives around Bo. With the strong support from conservatives, Bo used his charisma and charm to become a rising political star and was able to challenge the reformists by his Maoist Chongqing model.
The democracy and legal faction together with Wu Bangguo, a heavyweight of the Shanghai faction used trick to bring down Bo Xilai but no one is powerful enough to punish Bo. Finally, Jiang Zeming used his prerogative as the core of CCP leadership to punish Bo harshly.
However, conservatives, though had lost their leader, remained strong and Jiang had not put an end to the power struggle between conservatives and reformists by punishing Bo harshly. It was Xi Jinping who finally used Chinese dream to rally both conservatives and reformists around him and put an end to the power struggle.
For nearly two years, Xi has held Mao in high esteem and used Mao’s jargons to please conservatives but acted entirely as a reformist. Diehard conservatives have now realized that Xi is by no means a conservative. They have to use Maoism to bring down Xi and put an end to Xi’s further reform. They believe the timing is the best now to do so as Xi has offended lots of powerful officials and generals and Jiang is too old to support Xi.
Jiang Zemin has to come out to support Xi when Maoists attack reformists again
China’s National Day celebration was an important political show that China watchers have to watch closely. As China is now at a critical moment of its mass line and anti-corruption campaigns and radical economic reform, we shall be especially careful to find clues to the political situation and possible political struggle and changes.
I have made it very clear in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements that in China Xi’s top post does not give him the top power that the person holding the post shall have. Zhao Ziyang pointed out in his memoir that he and the Politburo Standing Committee led by him had no power. They were referred to by Deng Xiaoping as daughters-in-law while Deng was the mother-in-law in charge of them. Deng knew that the other two elders Chen Yun and Li Xiannian were also powerful enough to be their mothers-in-law. Deng told Bo Yibo to ask Chen and Li’s consent that they had to allow Deng to be the only mother-in-law.
From that we know that even when Deng died, Zhao if still had been the general secretary, would not have had the supreme power that he should have had due to his post. He would still be the daughter-in-law of a mother-in-law other than Deng. Only when he had built the powerbase a top leader must have could he really have been the top leader. By that time, he would have been not only the general secretary but also the core of the Chinese Communist Party with the power of an emperor.
In 1992 long after Deng has retired from all his posts including the post of the chairman of the Central Military Commission, he was still able to reinvigorate the reform across the nation with his Southern Tour, during which he said those who failed to carry out the reform should be dismissed. What power did he have to dismiss officials? He had the absolute power as the core of the CCP Dynasty.
Jiang Zemin has the personal experience of the hard efforts he was to make in building his powerbase for years and the challenge he encountered from conservative and other pretenders for his post. He knows very clearly that as Xi’s mentor, he has to display not only his firm support but more importantly his supreme power and good health.
That is especially important because since May, there have been rumors about his death or serious sickness.
He showed that he was in charge by walking abreast of Xi Jinping instead of behind Xi in many previous occasions when he and Xi enter the hall to attend National Day concert. His message is very clear: I am still in charge and I am supporting Xi.
He showed on TV screen at both the concert and the National Day reception his healthy gait and ability to attend the concert and National Day reception for quite a long time without the assistance of his bodyguard.
I do not know how he managed to do so at the age of 88. However according to what I saw on TV screen, he sat by the side of Xi with satisfaction in giving the lie to the rumors of his death or poor health.
From what we saw on TV screen at the reception, we know that Xi wanted to use the occasion to show his gratitude to all the powerful elders for their support in his mass line and anti-corruption campaigns.
All the powerful elders were sitting at the head table with Xi and other Politburo Standing Committee members while the Politburo members who appear before the elders in official media reports had to sit at a nearby table.
Among the powerful elders sitting on the head table, there are three conservatives, Li Peng, Song Ping and Luo Gan. Among them, Li must be the most powerful as he was the premier and national people’s congress (NPC) chairman for many years and must have groomed quite a few followers. His opposition to Xi’s reform is obvious as shortly before 18th CCP National Congress, he published a book stressing state’s leading role in economy to oppose reformists’ reform to give market the leading role. However, his son Li Xiaopeng got the least votes in being elected an alternate CCP Central Committee member showed his unpopularity within the CCP.
However, his ability to have his book published and promoted by CCP’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily proved that he remained influential. It is most likely that he is behind conservatives’ attack at reformists with Mao’s theory of class struggle.
Anyway, we must be aware that until Xi has built a sound powerbase a few years later, Jiang Zemin’s good health is indispensable for China’s stability and prosperity.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2md Edition
Sources: CCTV “65th National Day concert ‘Beatutiful China: Glorious Dream’ was held in Beijing” and “State Council held National Day reception to solemnly celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)