China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution


South Korean special envoy Lee Hae-chan (L) meets China’s President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Fri May 19, 2017 | 4:51am EDT

China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a “normal track”, President Xi Jinping said on Friday, but Beijing also urged Seoul to respect its concerns and resolve tensions over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system that it opposes.

Relations between Beijing and Seoul, strained by disagreement over South Korea’s hosting of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, have taken on a more conciliatrory tone with the election earlier this month of President Moon Jae-in.

Xi told Moon’s representative Lee Hae-chan on Friday that his visit showed the importance the new South Korean leader attached to relations with Beijing.

“China, too, pays great attention to the bilateral ties,” Xi said in comments in front of reporters in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

“We’re willing to work with South Korea to preserve the hard-won results, properly handle disputes, put China-South Korea relations back onto a normal track and benefit both peoples on the basis of mutual understanding and mutual respect,” he said.

Lee gave Xi a hand-written letter from the popular, liberal Moon, who easily won election earlier this month to replace Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in a corruption scandal.

“President Moon said he hopes I’d also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected,” Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Lee: “China is willing to strengthen communication with the new South Korean government… (and) continue to push for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

In a separate meeting with Lee on Friday, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi said China “hopes that South Korea can respect China’s major concerns (and) appropriately resolve the THAAD issue,” Xinhua reported.

INFURIATED

China has been infuriated by the U.S. deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, saying it was a threat to its security and would do nothing to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

The United States and South Korea have said the deployment is aimed purely at defending against any threat from North Korea, which experts have thought for months is preparing for its sixth nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

South Korea has complained that some of its companies doing business in China have faced discrimination in retaliation for the THAAD deployment.

However, Xi’s comments helped push up the shares of several South Korean companies that rely on the spending of Chinese tourists, whose visits have fallen sharply amid the THAAD dispute.

Shares in Lotte Shopping (023530.KS) reversed earlier losses to rise 1.5 percent, while Hotel Shilla (008770.KS), South Korea’s second-largest duty free store operator, rose 2.8 percent. Shares in AmorePacific (090430.KS), its largest cosmetics firm, were up 0.9 percent.

The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression. The threat from Pyongyang presents U.S. President Donald Trump with one of his greatest security challenges.

The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat, has called on China to do more to rein in its ally and neighbor. Trump and Moon have both also warned that a major conflict with the North is possible.

Moon sent envoys to the United States, China, Japan and the European Union this week in what the government calls “pre-emptive diplomacy”. His envoy for Russia will leave next week.

Before leaving Seoul for Beijing, Lee said Moon could meet Xi as early as July at a Group of 20 summit in Germany, while a separate meeting could also be possible in August.

(For a graphic on North Korea’s nuclear program, click tmsnrt.rs/2n0gd92 )

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Christian Shepherd in BEIJING; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Stephen Coates and Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters “China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution”

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


Duterte says China’s Xi threatened war if Philippines drills for oil


Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in Beijing. REUTERS/Etienne Oliveau/Pool

By Manuel Mogato | MANILA Fri May 19, 2017 | 9:30am EDT

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday Chinese counterpart China Xi Jinping had warned him there would be war if Manila tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil in a disputed part of the South China Sea.

In remarks that could infuriate China, Duterte hit back at domestic critics who said he has gone soft on Beijing by refusing to push it to comply with an award last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favor of the Philippines.

Duterte said he discussed it with Xi when the two met in Beijing on Monday, and got a firm, but friendly warning.

“We intend to drill oil there, if it’s yours, well, that’s your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth because it is ours,” Duterte said in a speech, recalling his conversation with Xi.

“His response to me, ‘we’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship, but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war.”

Duterte has long expressed his admiration for Xi and said he would raise the arbitration ruling with him eventually, but needed first to strengthen relations between the two countries, which the Philippines is hoping will yield billions of dollars in Chinese loans and infrastructure investments.

The Hague award clarifies Philippine sovereign rights in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone to access offshore oil and gas fields, including the Reed Bank, 85 nautical miles off its coast.

It also invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim on its maps denoting sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.

Duterte has a reputation for his candid, at times incendiary, remarks and his office typically backpeddles on his behalf and blames the media for distorting his most controversial comments.

Duterte recalled the same story about his discussion with Xi on oil exploration in a recorded television show aired moments after the speech.

He said Xi told him “do not touch it”.

He said Xi had promised that the arbitration ruling would be discussed in future, but not now.

Duterte said China did not want to bring up the arbitral ruling at a time when other claimant countries, like Vietnam, might also decide to file cases against it at the arbitration tribunal.

It was not the first time the firebrand leader has publicly discussed the content of private meetings with other world leaders.

His remarks came the same day that China and the Philippines held their first session in a two-way consultation process on the South China Sea.

They exchanged views on “the importance of appropriately handling concerns, incidents and disputes involving the South China Sea”, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that gave few details.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Martin Petty)

Source: Reuters “Duterte says China’s Xi threatened war if Philippines drills for oil”

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


One Belt One Road Development of China’s Backyard


People wave Chinese and Union flags as they pose for photographs during departure of a freight train transporting containers laden with goods from the UK en route to Yiwu in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. Photo: AFP

Like Latin America for the US, Central and Southeast Asia can be regarded as China’s backyard. Chinese President Xi Jinping has the vision to see the importance in developing those areas. China has already had great influence in Southeast Asia through trade and its rich overseas Chinese there. The collapse of Obama’s pivot to Asia has now left China as the only dominant power there.

US long-term close ally the Philippines’ switch to China’s side is a clear indication.

To strengthen China’s dominance there, Xi invented his 21st century maritime Silk Road to include in his One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative Southeast Asia that has never had anything to do with China’s Silk Road. Chinese investment in the infrastructures there will benefit both China and the overseas Chinese there.

What about Central Asia, the traditional part of Silk Road that links China with the Middle East and Europe?

Reuters says in its report “China’s COSCO to invest in Kazakhstan border project as part of Silk Road drive” yesterday that Chinese state-owned shipping giant COSCO “will sign a deal on Monday with Kazakhstan’s national railway company to take a 24 percent stake in a dry port in the Khorgos Eastern Gates special economic zone (SEZ)”.

Khorgos exchange is an important transport hub for change in railway gauges for the railway link between China and Europe. Through the railway network 27 Chinese cities have already connected with 11 European cities including London and Duisburg.

On April 24, SCMP published Tom Holland’s article “Puffing across the ‘One Belt, One Road’ rail route to nowhere” stating, “Compared to sea or air, the Europe-China freight service just makes no economic or environmental sense, either coming or going”

Mr. Holland simply regards the railway link between China and Europe as stupid as it is not cost effective and has no market.

However, it is of great strategic importance for China’s national security as it provides an alternative land route for transport of important goods between China and Europe in case China’s sea route is cut by enemy navy.

In addition, Xi wants to make those poor sparsely populated Central Asian countries rich by helping them exploiting their natural resources and providing jobs for their cheap labor. When those countries have become rich and filled with lots of Chinese immigrants, China will be better able to prevent illegal immigration and drug traffic from there.

The railway link between China and Central Asia and between Central Asia and Europe will greatly facilitate the trade of those inland Central Asian countries.

Those countries were formerly members of the Soviet Union so that Russia has great influence there. Xi’s efforts in establishing de facto alliance with Russia enable China to invest in infrastructures in and have close economic relations with them smoothly. The economic development in those countries will, in fact, also benefit Russia. Why shall Russia hinder China’s efforts?

China is even investing in infrastructures in Russia and lots of Chinese have moved into Russia now.

China now almost has the entire Asia as its backyard, allies or friends except India, Japan and South Korea.

India should regard Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as its backyard, but has failed to do so. It lacks the strategic flexibility to turn its most important neighbor Pakistan into its backyard or at least a friendly neighbor. India’s enmity has turned Pakistan into China’s close ally.

It is interesting that the US regards Latin America as its backyard. It has set up a free trade area with Canada and Mexico that draw its neighbors close to it. However, it now wants to scrap the free trade area or revise the terms of the area and thus push its neighbors away.

Perhaps the US is too rich and strong to need friends. It is happy to provide protection to all its allies without any consideration that it needs real allies that may help it when it is in trouble.

China, perhaps, is too poor and weak and has to build up its backyard and seek alliance and friendship.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters and SCMP’s articles, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-cosco-idUSKCN18A0KP and http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/business/article/2089507/puffing-across-one-belt-one-road-rail-route-nowhere.


Exclusive: U.S. complains to China about North Korea’s attendance at Silk Road summit


People take pictures in front of a “Golden Bridge on Silk Road” installation, set up ahead of the Belt and Road Forum, outside the National Convention Centre in Beijing, China May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

By Ben Blanchard and John Ruwitch | BEIJING/SHANGHAI Fri May 12, 2017 | 12:10pm EDT

The United States warned China on Friday that North Korea’s attendance at a weekend summit on China’s new Silk Road could affect the participation of other countries, casting a shadow over what is Beijing’s biggest diplomatic event of 2017.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation said the U.S. embassy in Beijing had submitted a diplomatic note to China’s foreign ministry, saying that inviting North Korea sent the wrong message at a time when the world was trying to pressure Pyongyang over its repeated missile and nuclear tests.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of working hours in China. The ministry said on Tuesday that North Korea would send a delegation to the summit but gave no other details.

Asked about the invitation to North Korea to attend, Anna Richey-Allen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department’s East Asia Bureau, said the United States expected China to push its neighbor to return to “serious talks” on denuclearization.

“That includes taking steps to make clear to the (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un regime the political, economic, and diplomatic consequences of its reckless and unlawful actions.”

The United States did not think it would be appropriate for North Korea to play a prominent role at the Belt and Road Forum, according to one of the sources familiar with the U.S. concerns.

The United States will send a delegation led by White House adviser Matt Pottinger to the summit, China’s Foreign Ministry said earlier on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has asked China to put more pressure on North Korea, and has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s role in trying to rein in Pyongyang.

A source with knowledge of the note said that some Western countries could walk out of the specific session of the summit the North Koreans were attending if they were given too important a role, but that no decisions had been taken yet.

“This has generated a lot of concern,” the source said.

It was not immediately clear which sessions North Korea would attend. There are several sessions happening on Sunday afternoon, including on trade, finance and people-to-people exchanges. China has given few details about attendees.

North Korea’s chief delegate may also appear on stage in a group photo with other participants, said the same source, who is familiar with the planning for the summit.

China has not announced who that chief delegate will be, but South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Kim Yong Jae, North Korea’s minister of external economic relations, will lead the delegation.

CHINA SAYS SILK ROAD A WIN-WIN

Leaders from 29 countries will attend the forum in Beijing on May 14-15, an event orchestrated to promote Xi’s vision of expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to push Chinese influence globally.

They are also concerned at the presence of leaders from countries with poor human rights records.

China has rejected criticism of the plan and the summit, saying the scheme is open to all, is a win-win and is only about promoting prosperity.

Some of China’s most reliable allies and partners will attend the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

However, the only leader from a G7 nation to attend will be the Italian prime minister, according to China’s foreign ministry.

Despite Chinese anger at North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, even as Beijing has signed up for tough U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.

China has over the years tried to coax North Korea into cautious, export-oriented economic reforms, rather than saber rattling and nuclear tests, but to little avail.

(Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING and David Brunnstrom in WASHINGTON; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Source: Reuters “Exclusive: U.S. complains to China about North Korea’s attendance at Silk Road summit”

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


U.S., China agree to first trade steps under 100-day plan


U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sits for an interview in his office in Washington, U.S. May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Ayesha Rascoe and Michael Martina | WASHINGTON/BEIJING Fri May 12, 2017 | 6:16pm EDT

The United States and China have agreed to take action by mid-July to increase access for U.S. financial firms and expand trade in beef and chicken among other steps as part of Washington’s drive to cut its trade deficit with Beijing.

The deals are the first results of 100 days of trade talks that began last month, when a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping proved far more friendly than had been expected after last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, but the immediate impact was unclear.

“This will help us to bring down the deficit for sure,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at media briefing in Washington. “You watch and you’ll see.”

The United States ran a trade deficit of $347 billion with China last year, U.S. Treasury figures show.

By July 16, the 100th day after the leaders’ meeting, China agreed to issue guidelines that would allow U.S.-owned card payment services “to begin the licensing process” in a sector where China’s UnionPay system has had a near monopoly.

China will also allow U.S. imports of beef no later than July 16, and the United States will issue a proposed rule to allow Chinese cooked poultry to enter U.S. markets.

Foreign-owned firms will also be able to provide credit rating services in China.

“We believe that Sino-U.S. economic cooperation is the trend of the times… We will continue to move forward,” Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a Beijing media briefing.

Trump had pledged during his presidential campaign that he would stop trade practices by China and other countries that he deemed unfair to the United States. His tough talk toward Beijing had fueled early fears of a trade war.

But Trump’s rhetoric toward China has softened in the past month, expressing admiration for Xi and saying he wanted Beijing to help deal with the North Korean nuclear threat.

Shortly after their meeting, Trump said he had told Xi that China would get a better trade deal if it worked to rein in North Korea. China is neighboring North Korea’s lone major ally.

On Friday, when asked whether the trade talks with the United States were related to North Korea, Zhu said economic issues should not be politicized.

UNCERTAIN BENEFITS

But while the world’s two biggest economies agreed to take a number of steps by July 16, it was not clear how much these new deals would increase trade in the near term.

Ker Gibbs, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said the measures were a good beginning but not a breakthrough.

“Past foot-dragging means we won’t celebrate until these promises are executed,” Gibbs said, calling the opening in the electronic payments market “mainly symbolic”.

“This should have been done years ago when it would have made a difference. At this point, the domestic players are well entrenched so foreign companies will have a hard time entering the China market.”

China is the top export market for U.S. agriculture products, with the total value of exports rising by more than 1,100 percent since 2000 to $21.412 billion in 2016, so beef sales are potentially lucrative for U.S. exporters.

China had conditionally lifted its longstanding import ban on American beef last year, but few purchases have been made. The ban was imposed in 2003 due to a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in Washington state.

And U.S. credit card operators Visa Inc (V.N) and MasterCard Inc (MA.N) have yet to be independently licensed to clear transactions in China, despite a 2012 WTO ruling mandating that Beijing open the sector and rules issued by the central bank to let foreign firms enter the market.

Visa said in an emailed statement it looked forward to submitting an application for a bank-card clearing institution license, which, “once granted”, would allow it to support economic development in China.

MasterCard welcomed the announcement, saying it looked forward “to having full and prompt market access in China”.

The United States also signaled that it was eager to export more liquefied natural gas, saying China could negotiate any type of contract, including long-term contracts, with U.S. suppliers.

For U.S. gas drillers, China provides a potential customer base beyond countries such as Japan and South Korea, where the long-term demand outlook is bleak due to mature economies, rising energy efficiency and falling populations.

Potential cooperation between the United States and China on LNG would not have any immediate impact on supplies, as China currently does not need new gas supplies and the United States is not yet able to deliver more.

Randal Phillips, Mintz Group’s Beijing-based managing partner for Asia, said that Washington was too focused on selling more to China and should instead seek to address structural imbalances created by Chinese industrial policies and barriers to investment.

“That’s going to be the challenge, and hopefully the Trump administration doesn’t start declaring victory,” he said.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe in Washington; Michael Martina, Kevin Yao and Matthew Miller in Beijing; and John Ruwitch in Shanghai; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Nick Macfie)

Source: “U.S., China agree to first trade steps under 100-day plan”

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


Chinese President Xi Jinping’s secret in Giving Priority to mass line campaign


President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called for curbs of bribes and government spending. Photo: Xinhua

This is the article I promised to write in my previous post “Xi Jinping’s Balancing Art” to elaborate on Xi’s secret goal in conducting his mass line campaign.

CCP’s Real Crisis of Survival
“Being divorced from the masses of the people” is Xi Jinping’s euphemism for local officials turning CCP into the people’s enemy. Local despots’ infringement on people’s rights and interests gave rise to tens of thousands of people’s protests each year. There is statistics from investigation that before Xi took over the reign there were in China more than one hundred thousand incidents of mass protest to protect their rights every year.

CCP has set up agencies of letters and calls at various levels for petitioners to submit their complaints and provide remedy for them, but local agencies failed to provide remedy for people’s petitions. On the contrary, they mostly shielded the officials whose misconducts had been exposed by petitioners and tried hard to silence complaints and even persecuted petitioners. That was why lots of petitioners went to central agency of letters and calls to lodge their complaints.

Local despots set up black jails in Beijing to round up petitioners and persecuted them to silence them. If a petitioner persisted in petitioning, they imprisoned him in a local reeducation-through-labor camp without any legal procedures. People were forced to take to the streets to protest. However, instead of understanding and making allowance for people’s complaints, local governments sent armed police to suppress protesters with the excuse of maintaining stability. The masses of the people, though silenced by violence, remained indignant. Their indignation might erupt any time and would be impossible to suppress like volcano eruptions. That was the greatest threat faced by CCP at that time; therefore, for CCP, rectification of the malpractice of “being divorced from the masses” was instead the most important.

That was why Xi closed black jails and rectified CCP’s letter and calls agencies as soon as he took over the reign. He said that his second task was to abolish the reeducation-through-labor system. In spite of strong resistance from police and local governments, he succeeded in abolishing the system on December 28, 2013, one year after he was elected CCP general secretary.

Xi has thus removed the obstacles to people’s fight against local officials’ malpractices including corruption. Xi knows well that he shall not entirely deprive officials of their authority as the official system will be unable to operate without authority, but there must be people’s power to balance officials’ power, i.e. people shall have the power to inspect officials so that officials have to perform their obligations without abusing their authority.

In addition, Xi has been improving China’s legal system for the rule of law so that people have the last resort to use law to protect their rights and interests. That is why Xi wants China’s legal system to be independent. Some China watchers have insight that China’s legal system cannot be independent from CCP. Certainly, Xi only wants it to be independent from officials so that the legal system can help the masses of people inspect officials.

From the above we can see that Xi Jinping’s mass line education campaign is in fact a campaign of democratic supervision. However, Xi avoided the use of the wording that despotic officials have turned CCP into enemy of the people as that will be too sensational. Nor did he mention democracy as due to the Tiananmen Protests most conservatives hate the mentioning of democracy and regard it as what the West exploits for regime change. Xi is wise to avoid debate with conservatives over democracy. What he cares is the actual result instead of the wording in that campaign.

From Xi’ closing of black jails and abolishment of the reeducation-through-labor system, we must already be aware that Xi had a plan long ago to use the power of the masses of people to balance that of the vested-interest group of officials. With such a balance, he can make his official system serve the masses of people satisfactorily.

The mass line campaign has indeed brought fundamental changes to China’s official system. Before the campaign, people waited in long queue to go through some official formalities in government offices but the officials dealing with the formalities worked slowly while chatting joyfully. There were no such scenes in government offices now. Having been severely criticized by the masses of people, government staff now has to work diligently without chatting or doing anything else.

That is but the work style of lowest ranking officials. Can Xi touch the work style of high officials? High officials were criticized much more severely and the inspection teams sent by Xi to local governments focused on the work style of high officials especially top province-level officials. Most of the top officials were taken by surprise as they believed that Xi would instead conduct a nationwide anti-corruption campaign. Most of them did not worry as they were not corrupt. Xi however conducted a mass line education campaign that focused on their work style such as dealing with masses of people’s petitions and protests, extravagance in the ceremonies, receptions, visits, etc. such as the use of red carpet, decoration of lots of flowers, let alone the attending of luxurious banquets and drinking of expensive liquors.

A provincial head had great trouble when he had been seen having a subordinate holding an umbrella to keep rain away from him during his visit of a work site in the open. Such irregularities were very common but high officials found themselves in great trouble for such minor issues. As a result, Xi’s mass line campaign became a real purgatory for officials ranking high and low.

In this way, Xi has attained his secret goal of removing official despotism that he calls being divorced from the people and regards as the greatest threat to CCP’s survival. In addition, he has broken officials’ resistance to the nationwide anti-corruption campaign he was to carry out after the mass line campaign. The greatest secret goal he has achieved is the establishment of democratic supervision of officials by the masses of people. Only democratic supervision can provide long-term insurance for removal of corruption and purification of China’s official system.

Certainly, what Xi has done is but a beginning. There shall be lots more efforts to consolidate masses of people’s power of democratic supervision.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


Xi Jinping’s Balancing Art


In my previous article on Xi Jinping fighting corruption “Xi Jinping’s huge surprises”, I promised that I will elaborate in my next article Xi’s way to make officials go through the purgatory he set for them.

I have mentioned that for a sovereign the most important skill is the art for being an emperor, of which the most important is the balancing art.

Now, the large number of corrupt officials is a very strong group of vested interests in power, Xi must have some strength at least as powerful and preferably more powerful than it. Where is the balancing strength?

In my article “The Conundrum of Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream” on April 16, I said that Bo Xilai exploited Hu Jintao’s omission of Mao Zedong Thought to rally all conservatives around him to form a large and powerful conservative faction in order to challenge the reformists. Bo began a fierce power struggle over the evaluation of Mao with his real goal to grab from Xi Jinping the right of succession to Hu Jintao. Xi lobbied Jiang to punish Bo severely and has thus deprived the conservatives of their very shrewd leader.

Jiang held an expanded Politburo meeting and made the decision to punish Bo severely, but he did not deal with the fierce struggle between conservatives and reformists over the evaluation of Mao. It was Xi Jinping who exploited conservatives’ popular slogan “Chinese dream” to put an end to the power struggle and bring back unity to a deeply split nation.

Bo exploited the conservative faction in order to grab from Xi the right of succession to Hu Jintao and to oppose further reform that Xi wanted to carry out. Xi should have regarded the conservatives as his enemy, but Xi’s mastery of the art for being an emperor has enabled him to turn his enemy into his ally in fighting corruption.

The conservatives have not been benefited from the reform capitalist in nature. Most of them are honest and adhere to the old communist values of economic equality. They hate corruption bitterly. There, on the contrary, were quite a few corrupt officials in the reformist faction as the reform makes the country rich so that there is wealth in the state for them to steal.

Hu Jintao, the reformists’ leader, fell into the trap mentioned in my previous article of forming and relying on his own CYL (Communist Youth League) faction as his powerbase. Just like Emperor Qianlong, he employed a very corrupt official Ling Jihua to be in charge of CCP’s daily affairs. Ling corrupted China’s official system and gave rise to rampant corruption.

Has Hu gained supreme power through his very large and powerful CYL faction? No, he appointed some talented officials but also quite a few officials who either were corrupt or pursued hefty economic growth for promotion resulting in serious pollution, over investment and excessive production capacity.

He did not obtain the status of CCP core leader though he was CCP top leader for a decade.

Xi’s use of Mao’s words about mass line pleased the conservative faction who had lost their leader Bo Xilai, but now Xi can lead them to be pioneers in fighting corruption.

A sovereign has real power because he has power in himself for others to rely on him instead of his relying on certain factions or powerful officials for power.

Now, the conservatives rely on Xi’s power to fight corruption while the reformists rely on him for further reform so that Xi has the support of both conservatives and reformists.

Xi knew that the greatest strength lies in the masses of people but it was very difficult to mobilize them as they had been oppressed by officials for a long time and thus had their traditional fear of officials, especially powerful corrupt officials. When corrupt officials have deprived them of their means of survival, they will rise up to overthrow the corrupt officials along with CCP those officials belong to. Xi certainly could not wait for that to happen.

Xi had first to rely on the strength of the conservatives to balance the strength of the group of officials with vested interests. As conservatives cherish nostalgic love for Mao, Xi used Mao’s mass line to give them the impression that he himself was a conservative and shared conservatives’ hatred of officials’ malpractices and corruption.

That worked wonderfully. Due to his wording quite a few China watchers outside China regarded Xi as a conservative and even a Maoist at that time. By so doing, Xi Jinping succeeded in using conservatives to be the vanguards in opposing the malpractices of being divorced from the masses of people. The number of conservatives is large and they are supported by lots of retired high officials. They have long been indignant at officials’ misconducts. Now, they have the opportunities to attack officials for their irregularities. They have thus given rise to some heat in the mass line campaign and make officials conduct self-criticism humbly. Officials had thus lost their prestige and dignity. As a result, the masses of people no longer feared them and became bold to join the conservatives to denounce official despotism.

By making officials undergo the purgatory of the conservatives and masses of people, Xi Jinping gained overwhelming strength over corrupt officials and subdued the entire corrupt official system to ensure that there will be no united strong resistance to his anti-corruption campaign.

You may wonder that Xi could have first launch an anti-corruption campaign with the support of conservatives and mobilization of the masses of people. Why did Xi put his second priority dealing with the malpractice of being divorced from the masses of people above his first priority dealing with corruption?

Xi had his secret goal in doing so, which will be elaborated in my next article.

Article by Chan Kai Yee