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.
SCMP says in its report “Strike Two: Communist Youth League ‘aristocracy’ under fire again” that cadres with youth league (CYL) backgrounds are warmed that “they would face ‘tough weather’after several scandals compounded the leadership’s resentment over their ‘self-serving’ attitude”.
CYL, is former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Hu Jintao’s powerbase. When Hu was in power, he promoted lots of his CYL protégés to high official positions. As a result a powerful CYL faction emerged and is second only to Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction.
SCMP’s report is based on a microblog posted on Capitalnews, a WeChat account operated by Beijing Daily, the official newspaper of the party’s Beijing municipal committee.
Such a microblog on the Internet seems insignificant, but we should recall that it was the article by Deng Yuwen on Hu Jintao’s legacy of ten problems on August 30, 2012 that brought about tremendous consequence on the eve of the 18th CCP National Congress.
At that time Deng Yuwen was the deputy chief editor of Study Times, a magazine of CCP Party School controlled by Hu Jintao’s designated successor Xi Jinping. Soon after the article was published, Xi Jinping mysteriously disappeared for almost half a month in early September.
Before Xi’s mystic disappearance, the CCP could not determine the date of its 18th Congress as there is no consensus on the formation of its Politburo, especially the PSC.
Deng’s article on the Internet seemed insignificant when Chinese official media was filled with articles and reports on Hu Jintao’s achievements, but it gave Xi the ammunition when he visited the powerful elders during his mystic disappearance to win over their support for his fight against corruption and other malpractices.
As a result, soon after Xi reemerged from his mystic disappearance, Jiang Zemin came to Beijing to preside over a Politburo meeting to determine the date of the 18th Congress and severe punishment of Bo Xilai that Hu Jintao lacked power to determine.
Due to the problems listed in Deng’s article, Hu’s CYL faction lost in the fight for control of the PSC. Jiang’s Shanghai faction had all the new PSC members. However, as a compromise, all Jiang’s members were old and had to retire in the 19th Congress and Hu’s faction had 8 Politburo members who were quite talented and might well be chosen as PSC member in the 19th Congress.
However, the arrangement of having 5 PSC members to retire at the next Congress also meant that Jiang wanted Xi to succeed him as the core of CCP leadership and choose the new PSC members to succeed those chosen by him.
It seems that Xi does not want to choose members of CYL faction as PSC members and like Deng’s article on the Internet in 2012, the current microblog by Beijing Daily will play a role similar to Deng’s article.
As for what happened during and after Xi’s mysterious disappearance, it is a very long story described in full in the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report.
Full text of SCMP’s report can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1911332/strike-two-communist-youth-league-aristocracy-under
In the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements, I describe in details the commencement of the power struggle between refromists and conservatives by Hu Jintao’s omission of Mao Zedong Thought, Bo Xilai’s rise as the leader of the powerful conservative faction, his use of Maoist Chongqing model to oppose reformists’ further economic liberalization, his downfall due to the trick of the democracy and legal faction with the cooperation of a heavyweight of the Shanghai faction, Jiang Zemin’s decision to punish Bo harshly and Xi Jinping using Chinese dream to put an end to the power struggle.
If Xi had failed to put an end to the power struggle, China would have been a divided nation in which Xi would have been utterly unable to conduct his thorough economic reform.
The book also describes how Xi used Mao’s term of mass line to carry out his mass line campaign that is entirely different from Mao’s. Those are very long topics that the readers, if interested, can read the book.
What I have to point out is that the power struggle will remain until like Jiang Zemin, Xi has developed a theory accepted by the Party to justify his reform similar to Jiang’s Three Representatives that justify Jiang’s prusuit of capitalism and the recruitment of capitalists into the Party.
SCMP publishes a report on the debates in theory between Maoists and reformists that reflect the power struggle in the field of theory. I have to point out that it will be a vital struggle to smoothen the road of reform just as the debate at the beginning of Deng Xiaoping’s reform. Only when Deng’s doctrine of “practice is the only criterion of inspecting truth” prevailed over Hua Guofeng’s Maoist “two whatevers” (which advocate persisting in acting in accordance with Mao’s instructions) would Deng really be able to conduct his reform.
The following is the full text of the SCMP report:
Academic’s questions point to Communist Party divide over dogma
Party academics raise series of agenda-setting questions, reflecting differing internal views on how to merge ideology with economic reality
The Communist Party must bridge ideological divides that are driving a wedge between its factions, party analysts have said ahead of a key meeting this month.
Academics at the Central Party School have raised eight ideological questions, the answers to which they say will be crucial to the direction of the country’s development, according to a report by Shanghai Thinkers Forum, a theoretical journal run by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The article was also posted on the People’s Daily website.
The questions revolve around the need to maintain the traditional communist ideology as the party tries to establish a capitalist-style market economy.
The issues run from the contradictions between the tenets of socialism and market economics; to how to promote core socialist values; and the need to settle the theory of class struggle.
Question marks have also been raised over interpretations of Soviet-era Marxism, modern governance of state affairs, the role of market forces in resource distribution, the coexistence of Marxism and traditional Chinese culture, and the mechanics of a market economy under a centralised government.
The article comes as the party prepares for its fourth plenum in Beijing on October 20-23, a gathering expected to cover major political and ideological issues, including the rule of law and judicial reform.
The plenum will convene under the leadership of Xi Jinping who, in the two years since becoming general secretary, has launched both anti-corruption and ideological campaigns to “purify” the party to justify its sole rule of the world’s most populous nation.
The ideological debate is reflected in the wrangle that two leading party publications – Qiushi (Seeking Truth), the party’s theoretic journal, and the Study Times, a key product of the Central Party School – have engaged in over late leader chairman Mao Zedong’s theory of class struggle.
Analysts said this rising debate highlighted the ideological dilemma the party had struggled with since the mainland embarked on market reforms 35 years ago.
“This is a very interesting debate. At the core is the Communist Party’s difficulty in re-establishing its legitimacy as political and economic conditions change,” said Professor Zhiqun Zhu, director of the China Institute at Bucknell University in the United States.
Zhu said the debate reflected deep divisions among party officials and scholars, disputes that could widen the party’s internal gaps and create opposing political camps.
“It may also be conducive to redefining the party’s very identity in the 21st century and lead to the transformation of the party [into one] that will become more politically open and tolerant.”
Xigen Li, an associate professor at City University’s department of media and communication, added: “The issue of ideological correctness and … reality is always a dilemma, which is difficult to resolve under China’s current political system.”
Li said the dilemma and the debates over the ideological issues would continue and have the benefit of bringing the issues to the table for those in power to face seriously.
“While ideological emancipation is the final solution – and the dilemma will exist for some time – at least some compromise could be made to solve compelling issues in economic development rationally and efficiently,” Li said.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: SCMP “Academic’s questions point to Communist Party divide over dogma”
Evaluation of Mao was one of the two major issues in the fierce power struggle between the reformists lead by Hu Jintao and the conservatives lead by Bo Xilai.
In order to omit Mao Zedong Thought, Hu Jintao introduced the Party jargon that the Party shall act “under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents”. In that jargon, Mao Zedong Thought is conspicuously missing.
In the communiqué of the second Plenum of the eighteenth CCP Central Committee, that jargon was repeated, but in that of the third Plenum closed yesterday, the jargon was changed to “under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents”.
I give detailed description of the power struggle in the second edition of my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”. As it is very long, I only give some excerpts below:
Jiang Zeming used his Three Representatives to justify the capitalist road and turn CCP into a party of the whole people that recruited capitalists, the targets of conservatives’ revolution. Conservatives suffered a serious defeat. Their previous argument against reform was that the reform is capitalist in nature. When the The Three Represents has justified the capitalist road and written into CCP constitution, they have lost that major argument for their opposition to the reform.
Hu Jintao who carried on Jiang Zemin’s reform believed that reformists’ victory was not a stable one and that the conservatives could use Mao Zedong Thought to attack the reformists.
He began to Omit Mao Zedong Thought
It was typically reflected in what Hu Jintao said in his 2010 New Year’s message on New Year Eve: “In the upcoming new year, we will unswervingly uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, further implement the Scientific Outlook on Development under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents,…”
In CCP’s and China’s constitutions, the guiding ideologies are Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, but here Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought were conspicuously missing.
Hu’s words became CCP jargon and was frequently repeated by him and other Chinese leaders and in CCP documents in the last couple of years when Hu was in charge. Premier Wen Jiabao repeated the exact wording in his speech in celebration of the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. As CCP continued to urge its members to study Marxism at that time, clearly what Hu wanted was to omit Mao Zedong Thought.
Bo Xilai countered Hu Jintao’s omission by intensification of his sing-red campaign to remind people of Mao era. He often quoted Mao’s words and even sent quotations from Mao’s works as message to all mobile phone users in Chongqing in early 2012. By so doing, he rallied all the conservatives in the nation around him into a powerful conservative faction as the basis for seizing supreme power in CCP.
Evaluation of Mao became the major issue of the recent round of fierce power struggle between conservatives and reformists.
At first Bo Xilai gained the upper hand. His sing-red campaign spread all over the country and even to capitalist Hong Kong while quotations from Mao became popular in Chongqing.
The reformists seized Bo Xilai’s mistakes and exploited his wife’s murder of British businessman Neil Heywood to bring down Bo Xilai. Bo was placed under house arrest. But Bo’s conservative faction was too strong. It was only Jiang Zemin as the core who was able to make the final decision to punish Bo Xilai harshly.
However, Jiang Zemin only made a decision on punishing Bo’s crimes, but has not touched the evaluation of Mao. The issue was left to Xi Jinping to deal with. Xi skillfully applied the art for being an emperor to satisfactorily deal with it.
Xi Jinping has fully displayed his wisdom, vision, tolerance and mastery of the art for being an emperor in dealing with that issue.
Xi Jinping understands the situation very well that both the reformists and conservatives are very strong in China, so that whichever side he takes he will encounter great resistance from the other side. That will make it even more difficult for him to resolve the tricky issues left behind by Hu Jintao and achieve his ambitious goal, which he refers to as his China dream.
First, he is clear that China has no future if further thorough economic reform cannot be carried through. However, he and Li Keqiang are sure that they will encounter fierce resistance from vested interests.
China Dream Rallies Reformists and Conservatives Around Xi Jinping
As elaborated above, Bo Xilai used his sing-red campaign and resurrection of Maoism to rally all conservative around him to form a conservative faction strong enough to counter the reformists. The reformists defeated the conservatives not by its overwhelming strength but by depriving them of their leader through finding his crimes. However, the conservatives remain large in number and powerful in strength and Maoism remains popular among quite a few people.
In carrying out his further thorough economic reform, Xi Jinping will encounter not only the resistance from vested interests, but also fierce opposition from the powerful conservative faction. Not long before the 18th CCP Congress, Li Peng, the arc conservative, published a new book to emphasize the government’s role in regulating the market. Two weeks later on July 12, 2012, CCP’s mouthpiece People’s Daily carried a full-page article to promote Li’s book and denounce mainstream Western economic ideas.
Obviously, those were conservatives’ efforts to oppose in theory the reformists’ further reform of economic liberalization when they had learned that from the research report by the World Bank and the State Council’s Development Research Center. The conservatives represented by Li Peng oppose economic liberalization. On the contrary, they want intensification of control.
Blocked by strong resistance from vested interests and the conservatives, the reformists cannot move even a step forward. No wonder Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao had made no significant progress in that reform.
“Where hills bend, streams wind the pathway seems to end, past dark willows and flowers in bloom lies another village.” Precisely like what is described in the often-cited lines in a famous Chinese poem, Xi Jinping used China dream as a magic key to open a way out.
The China dream was put forth not by reformists but by conservatives.
In 2009, under the influence of Maoist sinocentric cosmology, PLA senior colonel Liu Mingfu published his leftist book “China Dream: Great Power Thinking and Strategic Posture in the Post American Era” to reject reformists’ idea of China’s peaceful rise and advocate instead China’s “military rise”. Liu believes that China’s goal shall be to surpass the United Statems and become world number one militarily. The book was an instant success and soon sold out. However, the reformists under Hu Jintao banned reprinting of the book due to its leftist theory that pursues military hegemony.
Xi Jinping, however, thinks that he can exploit it to greatly facilitate his reform. He expands Liu Mingfu’s China dream into a dream for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Soon after he came to power, he brought all the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) members to visit “the Road Toward Renewal” exhibition in Beijing. There, he said that the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation was the greatest China dream for the Chinese nation now and wanted people to strive to realize the dream.
At one stroke, he has rallied around him both the reformists who advocate turning China into an economic power and the conservatives who advocate turning China into a military power. Moreover, the vested interests that opposed further reform due to their interests may also think that they may be benefited when China becomes powerful. That may reduce their opposition.
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 reprining of his book was allowed.
In order to win over the conservatives, when Xi Jiping 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 that for a militarily powerful China.
Now, the new jargon has further pleased the conservatives, who Xi Jinping believes can help Xi overcome vested interests’ resistance.
The reformists are not strong enough to bring down Bo Xilai who had the support of the large and powerful conservative faction. However, there was a second major issue in the power struggle that upset Qiao Shi’s legal and democracy faction and Wu Bangguo, a heavyweight in Shanghai Faction. That was Bo’s protégé Wang Lijun’s persecution of criminal defense lawyer that caused criminal defense lawyers to be persecuted throughout the nation. Wu Bangguo lead the NPC to amend Chian’s criminal procedure law to protect defense lawyer while Qiao Shi’s legal and democracy faction discovered Bo Xilai’s wife’s murder crime and used trick to have Bo involved.
That is too long a story to quote here. Details can be found in the second edition of my book that I am going to release.
Source: Chan Kai Yee “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”
In Reuters Analysis titled “Analysis of China’s next inner circle”, foreign media again shows its ignorance about China.
However, the ignorance is natural. There are three black boxes in China’s power center. Elaborated description of them will be given in the second edition of my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Analysis”.
Even the first black box, the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), is difficult enough to penetrate. No wonder it is so difficult for Chinese and foreign China watchers to see through.
The second black box, the group of powerful elders who are heads and important heavyweights of various factions are even more difficult to penetrate.
As a result, Reuters is only able to be correct in regarding Jiang Zemin’s “Shanghai Gang” as the dominant faction now, but it is entirely wrong in predicting that the “Tuanpai”, i.e. the Communist Youth League (CYL) faction will take over after five of Jiang’s protégés in the PSC retire in 2007.
Reuters says, “Of the 14 members in the 25-member Politburo eligible for another term in 2017, nine have worked in the Communist Youth League and are considered to be protégés or allies of Hu. Only five are known to have ties with Jiang.
“Communist Youth League experience is even more prevalent among provincial-level Party chiefs.”
In Chapter 7 of my book I said, “A high-ranking official usually appoints and promotes quite a lot of his people to official posts when he is in power. Those people together with the officials appointed and promoted by them are bound together by comradeship, friendship and common interests and aspiration and become a faction.”
Of course, Hu is fond of promoting people of CYL background, but whether those he promoted can form a faction united and combat strong is another question.
What required is not only common background and interest but more importantly comradeship, friendship and common aspiration.
Even when Hu was in the office of the general secretary, he could not urge the CYL faction members he had promoted to pay attention to his priorities: corruption and pollution. As a result, Hu was attacked by Shanghai faction heavyweight Zhu Rongji in 2010 and 2011 for rampant official corruption throughout the nation.
Hu’s failure to rally those with CYL background around him is reflected in the problems he left behind for which he was blasted by the Deng Yewen, a senior editor of the Party mouthpiece Study Times on September 4, 2012.
In fact, Hu’s Scientific Outlook on Development has won Jiang’s support and at first he had the potential to become the leader of the Shanghai faction to succeed Jiang. However, he turned out incompetent to establish a team of competent associates to deal with the problems he was aware of and wanted to resolve.
Jiang’s strong point is his ability to discover talents and build up bondage with them. As a result, those who share the aspirations of Three Represents and Scientific Outlook on Development, including Li Keqiang, Xi Jinping, Wang Qishan, Yu Zhengsheng, etc. have all become his associates no matter what their origins are.
His faction has taken into it quite a few of the new generation of scholars with moral integrity, while we do not see that in any other factions.
Jiang’s is a faction with strong comradeship, friendship, common interest and aspiration and is therefore very strong, but it does not have a large number of members.
Hu’s CYL faction is large, but its members fail to share Hu’s interest and aspirations so that Hu will not become a powerful elder when he retires.
Hu’s lack of strength was obvious reflected during the election at the 18th Congress in his failures to promote his protégés Li Yuanchao and Wang Yang into the PSC or Zhou Qiang and Ling Jihua into the Politburo or even have his personal aide Chen Shiju elected a member or alternate member of CCP Central Committee.
Then there is the princeling faction.
Reuters says “A third group has also ascended rapidly – the princelings, or privileged children of revolutionary leaders. Key princelings include Xi and Politburo Standing Committee members Yu Zhengsheng, Wang Qishan and Zhang Dejiang.”
Princelings may form a group based on their origin, but a loose one without enough loyalty to the group. In fact, two of the heavyweights in the group Xi Jinping and Bo Xilai are deadly foes not because of their rivalry for succession, but due to their entirely different aspirations.
In fact, the Xi, Yu, Wang and Zhang mentioned by Reuters are all important members of Jiang’s Shanghai faction.
Will Xi Jinping be merely a consensus builder?
When Jiang Zeming was appointed the general secretary, most China watchers and even Zhao Ziyang regarded him as a transitional figure. Later, he was regarded as a consensus builder. However, they have now realized that Jiang remains the dominant core of the CCP’s third generation of collective leadership.
Is Xi Jinping a consensus builder? He was in the past, but in the future he has to be a strong consensus imposer instead of a helpless consensus seeker.
In early September, when the powerful elders were not able to reach consensus on the candidates for the PSC and Politburo, the manner to punish Bo Xilai or even the date of the 18th Congress, Xi was mysteriously absent to meet the powerful elders in secret and enabled them to have consensus on all those issues. Soon after Xi reappeared on September 15, Jiang Zemin came to Beijing and presided over a Politburo meeting to make decisions on all those issues including the tricky issue of punishing Bo Xilai harshly. Xi proved himself a talented consensus builder among his superiors.
Xi’s activities during his absence are described in the second edition of my book. As it will soon be published, I will not elaborate here. It is in fact too long for this post.
Xi is to deal with rampant corruption and purge the CCP to prevent the CCP’s collapse. If he is as weak a leader as Hu Jintao, he is doomed to failure. He has proved himself a competent leader and Jiang Zemin has made up his mind to let Xi succeed him as the core of the CCP collective leadership. Xi will have firm control of the party and state after he has purged the Party. By that time quite a few of his associates will appear as rising stars on China’s political scene.
Being well aware of that trend, Jiang made the arrangement that all the five 18th PSC members appointed by him will retire at the 19th Congress.
The conservatives are the largest faction in number, but they do not have a leader who can rally them around him. Bo Xilai was their leader but he has fallen into disgrace. Tiananmen butcher Li Peng has become increasingly unpopular in the faction. He was given the cold shoulder at the 18th congress and his son got the least votes when elected as an alternative member of the CCP Central Committee. What a shame! Song Ping is the most senior member, but he is too old to lead the faction.
Qiao Shi’s legal faction remains strong. Qiao though a Presidium Standing Committee member, did not attend the 18th Congress, but two of his associates were active elders there. His faction together with Wu Bangguo of Shanghai faction were the first to bring down Bo Xilai.
The secret security department similar to KGB in former Soviet Union is the third black box entirely impossible to penetrate.
For many years before his retirement, Qiao Shi had been in charge of China’s secret security department, an organization that plays the role of both CIA and FBI in China. He was in charge of spying on all the domestic officials. In China, an official in charge of this kind of job usually does not retire. No one knows whether Qiao retired from that position when he retired from all other government and CCP positions.
We all know that the secret security department including the secret police is a very powerful secret network. Its head performs his leadership mostly in secret. A top official may be spied on by him in secret and brought down when he has submitted to the PSC the evidence collected by him. In Russia, the communist party has lost power but the KGB remains powerful and has one of its member serving as Russian president now.
SCMP brief: “The name of former president Jiang Zemin again appeared in the media yesterday – the sixth mention he’s had in as many weeks.
“An article on the website of the People’s Daily said Jiang wrote calligraphy to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Shanghai Ocean University, where he had earlier visited.
“On Wednesday the daily ran an article praising his musical talent while about two weeks ago, Jiang, 86, wrote a calligraphy couplet to mark the anniversary of his alma mater, Yangzhou Middle School.
“The frequent references to him ahead of the 18th party congress are meant to send a political message that he is still wielding political influence, analysts say.”
In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, I point out that the Chinese system now is the CCP Dynasty with a core functioning as an emperor. The core may have retired from all official posts, but like Deng Xiaoping, the core of the second generation of CCP leadership, he remains the paramount leader and has the final say.
Ming Pao’s exclusive report today proves that.
Ming Pao says in its report titled “Appearing with a Large Entourage in Limelight, Indicating His Influence on the 18th Party Congress”, “Jiang Zemin likes music and is closely connected with Li Lanqing (a retired Politburo Standing Committee member), which are no secret at all. On the surface, Jiang’s appearance at a special concert last Saturday means but an occasion of recreation, but upon careful analysis, in fact, it was by no means so simple.”
It had been Jiang’s first public appearance since last October. The concert was not held in secret. The over 2,000 seats in the National Center for the Performing Art were filled by officials at provincial and ministerial level and their relatives and staff. There was no media report but pictures of the occasion have been published in microblogs. Obviously, it was Jiang’s high-keyed public appearance, a display of the strength of Jiang’s Shanghai faction.
He appearance was not accompanied by current top leaders but by his close friends and protégés including powerful elders Zeng Qinghong and Li Lanqing, former Politburo member Zeng Peiyan and You Xigui who served as his bodyguard for a long time and has now been promoted to the rank of general.
Jiang left his mansion in Shanghai and made high-keyed appearance in Beijing before the 18th Party Congress. By so doing, Jiang obviously passed a message at home (to the more than 1,000 provincial and ministerial level officials) and abroad (through microblogs to the world): I am still alive, in good health, able to move around freely and accompanied and supported by a number of old friends. We, Jiang’s Faction, are united. It goes without saying that our influence on Party Congress remains.
It is interesting that no current top leaders accompanied Jiang during that occasion of Jiang’s high-keyed appearance. That was perhaps because it was not an official occasion. Ming Pao believes that it was also because current leaders and those who want to be promoted were all especially careful to avoid unexpected misfortune as they might have laid themselves open to suspicion if they had jointed Jiang.
Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily cites Shanghai’s sh.eastday.com report that at the city’s recent 10th Party Congress both Xi Jinping and Yu Zhengsheng, a politburo members and Shanghai Party boss, were elected 18th congress delegates by a great majority and that Yu was reelected Shanghai Party secretary and Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng was elected Yu’s deputy.
The paper speculates that Yu is expected to be promoted into the Politburo standing committee. Yu, a member of Shanghai faction, will certainly enhance the faction’s influence, but being 67 years old, he will only be able to serve one term of 5 years. Han Zheng, 58, may be a better choice for the Shanghai faction, but it depends on the strength of Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction as he is 86 now and people wonder whether he remains so powerful an elder in the Party.
People perhaps wonder why I regard Xi Jinping and Yu Zhengsheng as members of Shanghai faction as neither of them is Shanghai native.
In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, I point out that Shanghaiis is a bourgeois “dye jigger” that will change the color of all those who come to live there.” I described my neighbors when I lived in Shanghai. They were all Party officials coming from Shandong and wanted to keep their revolutionary Shandong live style, but soon their wives and children all switched to the Shanghai ways of live and regarded themselves as Shanghainese instead of Shandong natives.
Jiang Zemin is a Yangzhou native. When he studied and worked in Shanghai, he and his wife and children have all become Shanghainese. He lived not far away from my father-in-law’s home before his rise in ranks and people in his neighborhood had never had the idea they were Yangzhou natives until he became famous. So have Xi Jinping and Yu Zhengsheng when they have stayed and worked in Shanghai. Of course, one may become a member of Shanghai faction due to his close relations to or promotion by a member of Shanghai faction
As Shanghai was an international city long before the communist takeover, it has its unique characteristics. I point out in my book, “Before the reform and opening up, Shanghainese were discriminated against in nearly every other area in China for their shrewdness, pursuit of rationality and practical benefit instead of the benefit in theory or claimed in communist propaganda, emphasis on education, rules, standards and etiquette and preference to and aptness in accepting Western things.”
Those characteristics were all targets of transformation under Mao’s rule, but were advantageous for the reform and opening-up. When Jiang took the top job, lots of people who did not know the Shanghainese characteristics or Jiang being a Shanghainese regarded him as a conservative, but it is him and his Shanghai faction that have overcome conservatives’ strong resistance and successfully carried through the economic reform to make China prosperous for the past two decades and worked hard to establish the rule of law for more than a decade. The question of whether the Shanghai faction will remain dominant is crucial to China’s development after the 18th Congress.
The election of Xi Jinping and Yu Zhengsheng as Shanghai congress delegate is certainly a good sign, but if Han Zhen is promoted into the Politburo standing committee, we will be sure that Shanghai faction’s dominance remains.
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There is an established practice in China now that retired leaders keep a low profile and refrain from making any comment on the work of their successors. However, at the beginning of a Peking Opera show for Shanghai officials mostly at bureau-chief level on January 18, former premier Zhu Rongji broke his silence and gave a 9-minute impromptu speech.
Zhu began his speech with a joke, telling the audience to be patient as the show would last only three hours, not much longer than the official speeches they have been used to attend. Well-known for the efficiency in his work, Zhu attacked with humor officials’ lack of efficiency in giving excessive long speeches.
What provided much food for thought was that he recalled his work in Shanghai under the leadership of President Jiang Zemin and what he once said then: “We will have a satisfactory clean government in Shanghai and Shanghai will be able to achieve successes however great if only we watch closely our 506 bureau-level officials and give play to their talents.”
When Zhu retired in 2003, he firmly promised that he would not comment on government work. He expressed his dissatisfaction related to housing, automobile industry, urban communications, education, etc., during his visit to Tsinghua University for its centennial celebration in late April, 2011, but he did not mention Jiang Zemin and told his audience not to disclose what he said to outsiders.
Why did he break his silence now?
At the age of 88, Deng Xiaoping could not but break his silence in his famous Southern Tour in 1992 because conservatives were putting an end to his reform. What was the serious problem in China now that makes Zhu, 84, break his promise to remain silent? In spite of Zhu’s instruction to keep his speech in Tsinghua University secret and the CCP Central Disciplinary Commission’s notice immediately after Zhu’s speech that forbade such speech, sources revealed that Zhu was indignant that local governments robbed land from peasants to increase their income though they get 80% of the tax income of the nation. They have such excessive financial needs due to rampant corruption.
In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état in China…” I point out that China’s current political system is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core who has the absolute power as the emperor of the dynasty whether the core is in office or retired. To prove that, I cited Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour to prove that the core though retired had the absolute power to rescue the reform when conservatives prevailed.
Will Deng’s successor Jiang Zemin continue to be the core ten years after his retirement or be replaced by Hu Jintao who will retire this year? To remain the core, Jiang’s Shanghai faction has to have a majority in the new politburo standing committee, while Hu needs a majority in it for his Youth League faction if he is to replace Jiang and become the new core.
This issue is usually resolved through behind-the-scene bargaining when preparations are being made for the coming CCP congress, but the words of a retired heavy weight in the Party and government will certainly have some decisive repercussion especially when he points out real serious issue in his speech.
That was why in spite of CCP Central Disciplinary Commission’s ban, Shanghai Party head Yu Zhengsheng, a politburo member, gave Zhu forum to air his views.