The Past Still Exerts Considerable Influence On Chinese Politics. Expect Little Change Soon

Hu Jintao and Wen JiabaoGu Suhua writes from Beijing: A feeling of intense disappointment pervades this city and country. Instead of a new generation of leaders taking over, the golden oldies of the past exercised a visible influence on the selection of the top Party elite. First and foremost was Jiang Zemin. Now 86 years old, he stepped down as paramount leader as long ago as 2002. He was not the oldest comrade from the past. That prize went to Song Ping, now 90.

Jiang Zemin is the patron of the Shanghai faction within the leadership. It now has three of the seven seats on the Politburo Standing Committee. They are Xi Jinping, who owes his rise to power to Jiang; Zhang Dejiang, who will soon become Chair of the National People’s Congress or parliament; and Liu Yunshan, who has become head of the Party Central Committee Secretariat. Hu Jintao wanted to promote two of his protégés, regarded as reformers, to the Standing Committee. However Jiang and Li Peng, now 84 years old, and one of those who advocated the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, blocked their advance.

Hu Jintao, in his farewell 101 minute speech, devoted some time to talking about a fairer and more transparent way of choosing leaders. Party members had the ‘right to know, right to take part in discussions, electoral rights and supervisory rights’. However Hu did not condemn the cult of personality which was so evident in the activities of Bo Xilai, the disgraced Party secretary of Chongqing. Hu was visibly annoyed by the cult of personality which surrounds Jiang Zemin. However he chose not to make this public.

Wen Jiabao’s speech was much more revealing. He referred to an address by Deng Xiaoping delivered in 1980. The latter identified huge obstacles facing the Party and government: ‘bureaucracy, over concentration of power, patriarchal attitudes, life tenure in leading posts and a multitude of privileges’. He defined patriarchal traditions as ‘placing individuals above the organisation’. They used this as a ‘tool to become dictatorial’. Which patriarch did Wen have in mind? Clearly he was referring to the activities of Jiang Zemin.

Hu Jintao talked a lot about battling corruption. If it were not overcome the Party would be dealt a fatal blow. What new Party regulations did he introduce to combat this disease? None. The obvious one was to oblige senior Party officials to declare the assets of their relatives and to reveal whether the latter had foreign residency rights.

Jiang ZeminBloomberg and the New York Times, just before the Congress, published detailed information about the business activities of the relatives of Xi Jing and Wen Jiabao. For instance, it was claimed that the Wen family was worth $2.7 billion. Censors scrambled to remove this information from the web but it is certain that millions of Chinese read it. No reports circulated about investigations into the business activities of top Party families. The elite were in denial. They claimed that measures had been put in place to prevent relatives from improperly acquiring wealth.

In his report, Hu stated that the economy was ‘unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable’. Despite this he advocated that the state sector should grow at the expense of the private sector. This underlines the influence of state corporations on policy. If China is to become more economically efficient, it has to avoid the emergence of state monopoly capitalism. Chinese capitalism now appears to resemble American capitalism in the late 19th century. The Middle Kingdom needs economic reform and quickly.


The Past Still Exerts Considerable Influence On Chinese Politics. Expect Little Change Soon A post originally shared by Alexander first published over on Stirring Trouble Internationally. Stirring Trouble Internationally is a current affairs website with news about music, entertainment, politics and world news. Stirring Trouble Internationally - A humorous take on news and current affairs http://www.stirringtroubleinternationally.com http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/StirringTroubleInternationally/~3/9yU9ghNDs7w/ November 18, 2012 at 12:08AM
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