Sun Nov 4, 2012, 11:31 AM
Ghost Dog (13,900 posts)
Chinese party plenum closed. Congress about to open...
Chinese leaders ended a key closed-door conclave on Sunday with a decision to formally expel disgraced politician Bo Xilai from the Communist Party, in a meeting which also promoted two senior military men and approved the party constitution's amendment.
The secretive four-day meeting of 365 senior party officials ratified an earlier decision to expel Bo, former Chongqing party boss, as well as Liu Zhijun, one-time railway minister, sacked last year for "serious disciplinary violations", state news agency Xinhua said.
Bo and Liu can now be expected to face criminal charges and a trial.
The party plenum comes just days before the opening of a congress in Beijing on November 8 that will usher in a generational leadership change, which has been overshadowed by a scandal with Bo, who had once been a contender for top office himself...
... Bo's ouster has exposed deep rifts in the party between his leftist backers, who are nostalgic for the revolutionary era of Mao Zedong, and reformers, who advocate for faster political and economic reforms.
The letter, carried on the far-left Chinese-language website "Red China" and addressed to the parliament's standing committee, says the party is fuelling doubts about the accusations against Bo by refusing to discuss them publicly.
"What is the reason provided for expelling Bo Xilai? Please investigate the facts and the evidence," says the letter. "Please announce to the people evidence that Bo Xilai will be able to defend himself in accordance with the law."
Parliament and its members are there to provide oversight and make laws, not to "act as a rubber stamp" for attacks on people for personal reasons by political factions, it added.
Since Bo was ousted in March, he has not been seen in public and has not been allowed to answer the accusations against him. At a news conference days before his removal, Bo rejected as "filth" and "nonsense" the then unspecified allegations against him and his family...
China's insecurities laid bare
... Specifically, Chinese citizens are increasingly troubled by inequality and corruption they view as endemic in their country. Pew notes, "... the side effects of rapid economic growth, including the gap between rich and poor, rising prices, pollution, and the loss of traditional culture are major concerns, and there are also increasing worries about political corruption."
Given the events of the past month, concerns over corruption seem entirely reasonable - allegations that Chinese Premier Wen Jiaboa and family have squirreled away almost US$2.7 billion in assets became public came hard on a Bloomberg account of vast wealth linked to the family of president-to-be Xi Jinping...
... The Communist Party knows its history: one of the many compelling reasons it originally came to power over the Kuomintang was the latter's wide spread corruption, a burden born by rural Chinese in particular. Today's leaders in China know that they can ill afford to turn a blind eye forever on corruption; it took down their predecessors, and it could also curtail their leadership.
Income inequality remains a major source of insecurity. The Pew report notes "... there is a general consensus in China that the economic gains of recent years have not benefited everyone equally." In what is coming to be a common refrain not only in China, but in the United States as well, Pew found "81% agree with the statement the 'rich just get richer while the poor get poorer,' and 45% completely agree." (emphasis original) This has obvious implications to the future of economic reform in China.
If the next group of China's leadership is not able to illustrate how additional capitalist reforms empower the individual and set in motion greater economic equality, it will be difficult for the trajectory of China's anticipated reform to match what the West has long hoped to see. Among the many insecurities touched on by the Chongqing Model and its emphasis on revisiting older tried and true Socialist policies and mantras was the nostalgia Chinese feel for a day when they felt more secure and, while still poor, felt more equal with one another. Pew found that "While 45% agree with the statement 'most people can succeed if they are willing to work hard,' one-in-three disagrees." ...
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Chinese party plenum closed. Congress about to open... (Original post)
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Sun Nov 4, 2012, 01:40 PM
Ghost Dog (13,900 posts)
1. China's leadership shock
... The South China Morning Post says the new line-up of the Politburo's Standing Committee is "packed with conservatives". The succession deal agreed over the summer has been scuppered.
The 86-year Mr Jiang -- who rose to supreme leader on the bones of Muxidi and Tiananmen in 1989 -- has placed his accolytes in charge of the economy, propaganda, as well as the Shanghai party machine.
The hardliners seem poised to snatch control of the seven-man Committee, tying the hands of incoming president Xi Xinping and premier Li Keqiang. If confirmed, long-term investors may have to rethink their core assumption about the future course of China.
This power struggle going into the 18th Party Congress matters more in the sweep of history than the run-off two days earlier between a centrist Barack Obama or the centrist Mitt Romney, though the stage drama is less compelling.
Mr Jiang's rear-guard coup should give pause to thought. It was he who instituted the Patriotic Education movement in schools in the 1990s, whipping up nationalist fervour to replace the lost mystique of Maoism...