China’s Reserve of Talented Leaders: Wang Yang

I was quite impressed when SCMP reported that in a speech in May, Wang Yang expressed the view: “The party can’t make you (citizens) happy.”

He said, “We should eradicate the wrong concept that happiness is a benevolent gift from the party and the government.”

SCMP said in its report, “The remarks represent a departure from years of propaganda that has urged citizens to view the party as a benefactor and provider of good fortune.

“The theme echoes Wang’s two-year-old ‘Happy Guangdong’ campaign, in which the province set up a happiness index and encouraged people to strive for joy in their lives.”

Wang gave me the impression that he either forgot or implied: how can people really be happy without human rights and democracy?

Therefore, I wrote the following ragged verse:

The party cannot make you happy.

It can boost the economy;

It can increase your income;

It can provide you with lots of commodities,

But it cannot give you human rights and democracy.

You have to pursue happiness yourselves.

Strive for human rights and democracy, buddy!

Wang Yang is a powerful party boss of Guangdong, the richest province in China, and a Politburo member. Before Bo Xilai fell into disgrace, Wang was widely regarded as an official setting up a Guangdong Model to counter Bo’s Chongqing Model.

However, he was so clever that as soon as People’s Daily published its commentary on Bo’s downfall and called for obedience to the central authority, he said that there was no Guangdong Model but only the China Model in order to show that he had always followed Beijing’s instructions.

In the 1st and 2nd quarters of this year, Guangdong’s GDP grew much slower respectively 7.2% and 7.6%. Bo Xilai’s model was socialism with his focus on the development of large state-owned enterprises while Wang Yang’s model is capitalist market economy.

Wang’s way for Guangdong’s economic recovery is innovation and creation. According to Singtao Daily, at a meeting in ZhongshanCity on July 19, Wang Yang said, “If an enterprise is sufficiently strong in its ability of innovation and creation, it may rise in spite of the downward trend,” and “Our products will be unmarketable if we remain unable to innovate and create.”

He pointed out that in a market economy, survival of the fittest is realized through cyclical fluctuation. Each economic fluctuation may lead to the birth of a new technology and give rise to improvement of the productive force.

The constantly changing complicated economic situation at home and abroad has made Guangdong face great challenge. However, it also constitutes a mechanism to force Guangdong to enhance its innovative and creative capability in science and technology and has thus brought opportunities.

That proves that he is not only a political but also an enlightened economic reformer.

He has been carrying out a campaign against graft and other crimes since he found that Bo’s campaign against organized crime was popular though Bo was denounced for disrespecting the rule of law in doing so.

On August 22, Beijing gave approval for Guangdong to explore streamlining bureaucratic red tape, which may set an example for the rest of the country. It may also afford Wang more leverage in political jockeying ahead of this autumn’s party congress.

It seems to me that he has great chance to be promoted into the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC)

However, in SCMP’s report “Jiang Zemin’s allies set to eclipse Hu Jintao’s on new Standing Committee” yesterday, it mentioned information learnt from sources about the new line-up of the next PSC that its members will be reduced to seven. The paper says that the line-up is almost certain to include Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang who are already members, and Yu Zhengsheng, Zhang Dejiang, Li Yuanchao and Wang Qishan, but it is not sure which of the three: Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang, Tianjin party secretary Zhang Gaoli and propaganda chief Liu Yunshan will the seventh member but believes that Zhang’s chance is the greatest.

I really cannot make myself believe SCMP’s speculation due to its track records of making wrong predictions, especially its recent report entitled “Next step this week in Bo’s fall from grace”, stating, “Disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai is expected to be stripped of his membership of the legislature this week,” while Singtao Daily gave a contrary report the same day entitled “Bo Xilai Expected to Remain an NPC Deputy for the Time Being”.

It turned out Singtao was correct as it had contacted Chongqing People’s Congress before publishing its report. Obviously, its reporter knows Chinese constitution that stripping Bo’s NPC membership shall begin from Chongqing; while SCMP’s staff did not do the homework.

Knowing well the lack of transparency in Chinese politics, we shall certainly make allowance for such inaccuracy in speculation.

Wang’s view on the party being unable to make citizens happy shows that he is an open-minded reformer that China urgently needs for its reform in the future. He may incur opposition from the conservatives, but I believe as the conservatives have suffered a great setback in Bo Xilai’s downfall, Wang’s chance to enter the PSC must be greater now. Anyway, whether Wang is promoted may be an indicator of future reform especially political reform in China.

Inner sources on selection of leaders for 18th and 19th Congresses

Ming Pao’s Zhong Mingjiu gives an exclusive report that the Party congresses in various Chinese provinces and reelection of provincial leaders will all be completed by the end of June. Such congresses and reelections make preparations for the 18th Party Congress, in which the personnel arrangement and various policies and principles will be decided. However, when most people’s attention is focused on the 18th Party Congress, some analysts in Beijing point out that the arrangement for the 18th Party Congress is to a certain extent related to the next Party Congress and that long-term consideration will be made for the future.

A scholar says the era of authority is over

A scholar close to Zhongnanhai reveals, strengthening democracy will be an important political orientation in the future for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The methods of selection and promotion by means of democratic recommendation within the Party will perhaps gradually take shape as a mechanism in the future. For example, top CCP leaders will be elected democratically by officials at and above principal minister level and there may be competitive election of top leaders. The scholar points out, “the era of authority when successor is designated by the predecessor is over and a profound lesson has been learnt from Bo Xilai saga. In this respect, a new mechanism will emerge in the CCP to imbue awareness of pressure and competition and new ideology among leading cadres.”

The person reveals that in the area of organization and personnel arrangement, the CCP has already begun arrangement for its 19th Congress. Only no public announcement has been made about it. Judging by CCP’s practice over the recent 10 odd years, formation of the top leading group has not been fully institutionalized, but a rule or consensus of “retirement at or above the age of 68” has already been reached, i.e. those who are 68 or more years old will not be admitted into the next group of top leaders. Therefore, the age mix of the members of the Politburo Standing Committee elected at the 18th Congress shall be considered for smooth transition into that elected in the 19th Congress.

Importance is attached to the candidate’s experience, honesty and integrity

The principle of selection stressed by the CCP over the past few years is: no restriction to the place origin of a candidate and appointment by merit. Work experience, education, knowledge and personal characters of courage and resolution are important factors in selecting a senior leader. For example, generally speaking, a candidate shall have local work experience in serving as the head of one or two provinces. Among the current Politburo Standing Committee, Xi Jingping served as top leader of Fujian, Zhejiang and then Shanghai; while Li Keqiang served at Henan and then Liaoning.

In addition to being well experienced in local work, the candidate shall be able to be independently in charge of and responsible for the work alone. A top leader has to undergo long-tern test. It is an important principle that the leader selected shall have both integrity and talents. In official jargons, it means investigation and study shall be made to see whether the candidate has noble characters and moral integrity, works always in the public interest, etc.

As China is now in a complicated external environment, the CCP has raised new requirements for it top officials, such as the ability to grasp future development of the situation, make comprehensive consideration of various international factors to control the overall situation, strategic vision and awareness of contemporary times.

Grabbing Talents from Abroad Is the Order of the Day

In an interview with American Chinese basketball superstar Jeremy Lin, the Chinese Central Television (CCTV) reporter asked Lin whether he would play basketball for China in international matches. Lin said that he had not made up his mind yet.

The reporter is being condemned widely on the Internet. “Are gold medals so important that China wants an athlete from another country to help it win them?” asked some bloggers.

However, human history was a history of grabbing and snatching from abroad for thousands of years. Over 2,000 years ago, there were seven kingdoms in China. Qin, the strongest among them, fought one after another war to grab land from other kingdoms, but there was no United Nations to condemn it or a superpower to punish it for aggression. Finally Qin robbed all the land of the other six kingdoms, but the King of Qin who was later called Qin Shihuang, was praised in the recent popular film “Hero” for unification of China (a successful PRC propaganda) in spite of his cruel exploitation and persecution of Chinese people.

Quite a few Chinese still regard Genghis Khan as a great Chinese hero who conquered many countries, i.e. robbed all the land in those countries. They prefer not to remember that China was also a country whose land was grabbed by him. At first, his troops wanted to turn all Chinese land into grassland for breeding sheep and horses, but talented Chinese intellectuals persuaded them to allow Chinese people to continue their farming and thus create much more wealth for them.

Anyway, the Mongolian tyrants are not condemned for their grabbing.

In our current civilized world, grabbing by force is not feasible, but we can attract talented people by high remuneration and great respect. Obama precisely wants to do so. In his recent State of Union speech, he wants to change immigration rules to keep in America talent foreign intellectuals trained by American colleges. Certainly the same treatment shall be given to talented athletes too. Didn’t Yao Ming, a basketball star well-known in China, play NBA games in America?

The question is not whether a country is justified in grabbing talents by lawful means from abroad but whether it is cost effective for the country. Paying US$1,000,000 annual salary to win a gold medal seems too expensive, but if Lin is employed to set an example and help training Chinese basketball players and turn Chinese basketball matches into a business generating billions of dollars like the NBA in America, the return will be huge compared with the investment.