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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rightful Resistance Turned Wrongful?

Dear All, over night, the biggest news in China was a series of explosions in the town of Fuzhou in Jiangxi Province. I attach some news summaries of the events below. What's really striking is that the perpetrator seems to be a farmer who had petitioned through both the courts and the petition system for over ten years. In fact, he had his own weibo account, which recounts his ordeals. In the end, he apparently took matters into his own hand. On the Chinese weibo-sphere, users almost universally lauded his actions as justified! (His weibo account is: http://weibo.com/1773401361) I venture to guess that the leaders in Beijing may be more disturbed by his martyr status than by the bombing itself. For us political scientists, the may be a watershed event in the rightful resistance model developed by Kevin O'Brien and Li Lianjiang.



China Explosions Kill at Least Two

Wall Street Journal

By JAMES T. AREDDY

SHANGHAI—Three explosions rocked government offices in a small city in the relatively poor Chinese province of Jiangxi, killing at least two people and injuring others, state media said.

A blast in a parking lot near the prosecutor's office in Fuzhou city's Linchuan district Thursday morning was followed minutes later by a second inside the nearby headquarters building of the district government, where two people were killed and six injured, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said. Another blast rocked an office in the district related to food and drug administration, a witness and Xinhua said.


Smoke rising from explosions that shook government offices in Fuzhou city Thursday
0526cblast02
0526cblast02

The explosions took place between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Citing a witness, Xinhua reported that windows were blown out of the eight-floor building housing the prosecutor's office. Xinhua said it didn't yet have casualty figures for the explosion there or at the third building struck.

The buildings are located within a short drive of each other.

A woman answering telephones in the Fuzhou city government offices said no one was available to comment, and calls to the local police department went unanswered.

"The cause of the blasts is still being probed, but the source with the provincial government said a farmer was suspected to have triggered the explosions to (avenge) his resentment," Xinhua said.

A photo showed grey smoke rising at least 100 meters over the site of one of the blasts.

Xinhua and other reports said it was likely at least one of the blasts was in a car. A Volkswagen Santana was destroyed and several other cars were damaged, Xinhua said.

Such incidents aren't unusual in China's city centers. In recent years, for instance, people have died in suspicious bus fires in Kunming, Chengdu, Wuxi and Shanghai that were blamed in some cases on gasoline brought on board.

Earlier this month, an explosion possibly ignited by a crude gasoline bomb injured 49 people at a rural bank office in northwestern China's Gansu province, government media reported. According to Xinhua, the county government later reported police had apprehended a suspect, a former bank employee recently fired for embezzlement.


Series of Blasts Leaves at Least 2 Dead in Southern Chinese City
By EDWARD WONG
Published: May 26, 2011
New York Times


BEIJING — At least two people were killed and six injured by three explosions within an hour on Thursday at different government office buildings in a city in southern China, according to state media and a provincial government Web site.

The blasts occurred in the city of Fuzhou in Jiangxi Province between 9 and 9:45 a.m., according to the government posting, which appeared on the province’s propaganda bureau Web site. The first one was at the Fuzhou Procurator’s Office, the second at the Linzhuan District government building and the third in a car park at the Linzhuan Food and Drug Administration office.

A photograph posted on a Chinese social networking Web site and on the Web site of Phoenix Television, based in Hong Kong, showed a large cloud of smoke rising above a cluster of buildings as scores of people watched from a wide avenue. Other photos and a short video on the Phoenix Television Web site showed government buildings with windows blown out, shattered glass on sidewalks and damaged cars.

The Web site of Xinhua, the state news agency, posted an item saying the explosives were planted by a farmer who was angry with the handling of a court case, which could explain why the first explosion took place at the procurator’s office. That office supervises legal matters in Fuzhou and is responsible for the prosecution and investigation of legal cases. The Xinhua posting had been deleted by 1 p.m.

The lack of rule of law in the country is an abiding source of frustration for ordinary Chinese, many of whom believe that true justice is elusive. Legal experts say China’s attempts at legal reform have stalled in recent years, and in many cases have gone backwards. The central government’s disregard for legal proceedings has been evident during a broad crackdown this year on progressive speech and thought, as security officers have detained and interrogated hundreds of intellectuals, artists, dissidents and rights advocates without citing any legal basis.

If the attacks in Fuzhou were carried out by a disgruntled farmer, as the Xinhua Web site had reported, then that raises again the question of whether China needs to establish greater rule of law in order to ensure stability.

A report under the local news section of the Xinhua Web site said the mayor of Fuzhou, Zhang Yong, gave a talk earlier this week on “maintaining social stability” to officials who were attending a class on social management. Fuzhou is a city of four million in a farming region.

Deadly explosions have taken place in recent years in several Chinese cities, even outside the restive western region of Xinjiang. In May 2008, an explosion during rush hour on a public bus in Shanghai killed at least three people and injured at least 12, according to official reports. In July 21, 2008, bomb attacks took place at around the same time on two buses in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, killing at least two people. The explosions in both cities, along with violence in Xinjiang, raised security concerns ahead of the Summer Olympics, which began in August 2008 in Beijing.

Five days after the Kunming attack, a shadowy group called the Turkestan Islamic Party, which claims to be a jihadist group working for the liberation of Xinjiang, where many ethnic Uighurs are frustrated by the policies of the ruling ethnic Han, put out a video taking credit for the explosions in Kunming and Shanghai. Chinese officials said their investigations showed the group was not responsible, but it was unclear who had carried out the attacks.

Comments:
Hi Victor

Yes. When I read this report I immediately thought of Fuzhou in Fujian. In 05 I think it was, some disgruntled farmer exploded a large fertiliser bomb in a bus two blocks from the city centre. Numerous deaths and body parts all over the banyan trees. Total news clampdown and the street was sanitised within hours. However, you could still bee the scorch marks on the road.
 
Hi Victor, I understand your concerns. However, I doubt whether O'Brien and Li have ever suggested that 'rightful resistances' have to be RIGHT. In my personal opinion, the 'rightful resistance’ is all about framing. It is a framing strategy through which citizens may gain more ‘legitimacy’ or sympathy for their noninstitutionalised protests. Therefore, from this perspective,‘rightful resistance’ will never turn wrongful since the concept itself has nothing to do with right or wrong; and whether a rightful resistance should be appreciated and/or sympathised really depends on its targets and the way it is carried out. But you are quite right to point out that nowadays many people in China simply sympathise everything that goes against the government, and this is what the Chinese Government should really concern.
 
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How do we characterize China?

When people ask me about contemporary China, I find myself describing something that is a mix of socialism, state capitalism, and crony capitalism. Of course, China has the socialist legacy of state ownership of strategic firms and the entire financial sector (except for underground banks and trust products....etc.). Because these SOEs face competition within China and in the global market, some of us call this phenomenon state capitalism. Of course, China endowed itself with capitalist competition by deliberately opening its market in many sectors to global competition, which set it apart from autarkies like North Korea. Increasingly, however, we see interest groups with strong state connections trying to influence state policies in order to obtain private gains. Crony-influenced state policies tax the households, as in the case of forced evictions, create oligopolies, as in the case of oil companies in China, and stall further reform in various sectors.

In the case of England, it might have been some form of state capitalism, as was the US. However, in both cases, institutions eventually developed to allow different interest groups to influence policies in a more transparent way. Powerful interest groups still drive policies in both of these countries, but the media and the public provide some (I emphasize "some" here) checks against crony capitalist tendencies. Eventually, some institutions (not necessarily a constitution) develop to protect the property rights of ordinary citizens.

In China, leaders with regime-wide influence used to check against cronyist tendencies. Today, I see less clear stance against powerful interest groups, and more inaction dressed up as reform. I would agree with the assessment that institutional development is lagging, although I hesitate to call this "fascist," as some have done

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Land Grab in Yunnan and Political Struggle?

Once again, Caixin hit the nail on its head within its expose of a major real estate scandal in a Yunnan county. Tengchong County, which is close to the Burmese border, is supposedly a beautiful place. In late 2007, Century Golden Resource Group rolled into this sleepy town and grabbed over 5000 mou of virgin forest land to build a giant golf luxury villa complex. After acquiring the land for 51 yuan a sq meter, Century Golden is now selling the villas at 7000-12000 yuan a sq meter. Now, there are several anomalies at work here. First, county authorities or even provincial authorities can't approve this large a tract of land. It needs the approval of Ministry of Land in Beijing. Also, some of this land was protected virgin forest, and developing of such land usually takes a lengthy approval process involving several central ministries. All of this was bypassed. Now, the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) has made this a "high priority case," but Caixin found that villas are still being sold and that there are no plans to demolish the villas at all. In fact, it looks as though Century Golden Resource will get away with a light fine. What kind of political power is behind this mysterious project?

Now comes the speculative part:
1. Century Golden Resource Group is headed by Fujianese Huang Rulun, who is known to be the real estate king of Fuzhou. Of course he has branched out all over China since then, most recently in Chongqing. Of course, we know that Xi Jinping lived and worked in Fuzhou for many years as party secretary of Fuzhou and later as governor of Fujian. It is all but certain that Xi and Huang had a close working relationship.

2. The article implies that "high level provincial approval" was given for this project. The party secretary of Yunnnan at the time and today is Bai Enpei, who is from Shaanxi. Curiously, both Bai and Xi Jinping were working in the Yan'an area during the late Cultural Revolution period. Bai was first at a farm then in a tractor factory, while Xi was the head of a production brigade. Well, guess what collective farms need to farm-- tractors. Although the tie is more tenuous, there is a high probability that Bai and Xi knew each other. After all, Bai's career went nowhere until 1985, when he was suddenly catapulted into the Yan'an leadership. A year before that, Xi Zhongxun was elevated to the Politburo. "Dad, my good friend Bai needs a job..."

3. The timing of the approval of the project was also curious. Century Golden signed an MOU with the county government on October 11th, 2007, four days before the 17th Party Congress formally elevated Xi Jinping into the PSC. By early November, the county had given formal approval for the project to go ahead (again in violation of dozens of central regulations). Talking about acting fast!

4. Now, the Ministry of Land, by publicly condemning this project, is clearly under instruction to give Century Golden and its political backers an embarrassing slap on the wrist. To be sure, the project will go ahead because the MLR clearly cannot impose punitive measures on an entity with this much political backing, but everyone now knows that certain leading cadre is not so clean after all.


谁动了土地
本文来源于《新世纪》周刊 2011年第4期 出版日期2011年01月24日 财新传媒杂志订阅
地方与地产商合流,圈地运动勃兴;中央是纵有意愿约束也鞭长莫及;底层是难以抗拒。出路何在?

  2008年3月,世纪金源以每平方米不到52元的价格在美丽的云南古镇腾冲拿下了5571亩林地,两年后将这里变成了一个高尔夫度假村。

  这是国土资源部执法监察局2010年公布的违规批地清单中的一项,也是国土部督办大案之一。2011年1月,这张名单上又增加了一个新面孔——中国海外集团违反土地利用总体

规划,在重庆大观至黎香湖以租代征违法占地747亩。

  按照国土资源部的相关规定,省国土厅有权批准的是590亩以下的建设用地。然而,类似规模宏大的“圈地运动”在中国屡禁不止。

  随着中国城市化进程的推进,土地的资源属性日益凸显,价值日益提升。每一块土地资源的背后,都是一个多方利益的复杂博弈,至少包括中央政府、地方政府、开发商和农

民四个层面。但在其中,地方政府谋求经济体量迅速膨胀的冲动与房地产勃兴的浪潮迅速结合,构成“圈地”最强大的推动力。

  大片的土地,通过地方政府少批多征、先征后批、分拆批地、拍卖作弊等方式,化整为零,再转手与作为地方政府合作伙伴的房地产开发商。手法隐蔽而谨慎,既有以既成事

实倒逼合法认证,亦有巧设心思规避法律红线。

  为谋地方经济发展而招商引资,往往是地方政府做土地文章的源动力。尤其在营商环境较差的地区,政府用以吸引外来投资的“好牌”并不多,无外土地与附着其上的优惠政策

。在以“土地换发展”的思路下,地方政府热衷于推动大规模的工业园区、公用事业园区以及庞大的城市更新计划,继之以庞大的用地规划。

  在四川成都温江区永宁镇,镇政府向取得集体土地统一经营的村庄“租用”土地,并开发房地产或建设工厂,镇政府通过支付一定的土地补偿费和劳动力安置费,消弭了村民的

承包经营权。当地镇政府将这种做法叫“下清”。这一切均不按征地程序,而土地已从村民手中腾挪至政府控制之下。同样在温江,以工业园区“圈地”,以及以公共事业园区名义兴

建的地产项目,仅举数例,已占整个温江面积的20%以上。

  具有实力的投资者则有挟政府以争土地的便利。海尔集团在落户重庆时即是如此。2005年7月,海尔和当地政府签订《投资合作协议书》,当地政府表示将约1440亩的宗地,

协议出让与海尔,用于建设以公司命名的工业园区,同时约定将土地价款全额返还。之后,地方政府如约出让并返回土地出让金 5431万元,但海尔却中途提出将其中一块地(约

284亩)用于做房地产,亦得到地方政府部门的默许支持。

  更多的故事类似于世纪金源在腾冲的经历,商业地产开发以新的地方经济支柱的名义出现,并获得地方政府护航。这样的项目通常仍以“招商引资”引进,然后再冠以土地整理

的名号,跟这些公司签订土地整理和整体开发合同,即通常所说的土地一、二级开发联动。

  在这些项目中,政府为供地,而不惜在拿不出征地批文之下,以租代征、少报多征,或者先征后报、分拆报批;进而不经“招拍挂”程序或者在“招拍挂”中做手脚,将大片土地

分割出让,使开发商以“蚂蚁吃大象”的方式,一举揽得数千亩,甚至上万亩的土地,坐享资源价值,或以开发获利。

  而在地方政府看来,这种种“圈地”只是为地方发展而身不由己的“突破”规范,介入其中者甚至是拉动当地经济建设和财政增长的功臣。即使在因违规批地而被罚之后,多数项

目也会在地方多个多级政府部门的串联包庇下,安然过关。腾冲世纪金源项目即是一例——从2010年8月就被责令停售的项目至今仍在对外销售,相关部门均视若无睹。而失地农民

们一个家庭拿到10万元补偿的都不多见,之前虽曾有过“安排工作”的口头允诺,最终却不见下文。

  成都温江的农民不甘沉默,开车围着地块绕圈,估算周长,据此测量温江区没有征地批文而被“圈”的地块面积,并向官方举报,也无下文。

  那些急于凭大项目开发拉动当地GDP的地方主管官员们,则或以政绩迅速升迁,或以利益输送曝光而迅速坠落。这样的故事几乎每天都上演着。不在这里,便在那里。

  这正是上述提及的四方博弈的鲜明写照,地方政府与开发商合流,居于主导;中央政府纵有心约束也鞭长莫及,各种约束和监管被地方逐渐消化分解,效用递减;最底层的农

民,博弈能力缺乏系统有效的法律支持而无法形诸于实。这最终构成了中国征地与用地博弈结构中两头小中间大的失衡现实。其代价不仅是土地资源的批量流失,还包括随之而来

的基层激烈对抗。

  在当下,寄望于地方政府改变“以土地换发展”的路径并不可能。对于中国而言,改变两头小中间大的畸形结构方是解决之道。中央的监查风暴或将陆续袭来,而赋权农民亦须

提上日程。

世纪金源腾冲违规占地
本文来源于《新世纪》周刊 2011年第4期 出版日期2011年01月24日 财新传媒杂志订阅
国土部挂牌督办大案,有什么下文?
《新世纪》周刊 记者 付涛 李慎
单页阅读

  到过云南腾冲的人,很少不会喜欢上这块翡翠般碧绿的土地。森林覆盖率70.7%,80多处地表温泉资源,独特的火山景观,加上四季如春的气候,这些禀赋都使得距离云南省

会昆明600多公里的腾冲,被看好成为云南丽江的后继者。

  如果不是近年来推土机隆隆之声日增,打破了这座高黎贡山西麓边陲古城的寂静,朴实安足的腾冲人仍沉湎于大自然所赐的静谧与雄奇之美中。

  “最近三年是腾冲变化最快时期。腾冲县批地用地最多的一年(2008年),可能已接近东部某些省全省的批地用地总量。”一位腾冲当地官员说。

  在中国几乎所有大中城市上演的土地资源争夺与房地产勃兴的故事,如今也在这座偏远的古镇重现。只是,因其美丽,争抢者尤为强大;因其边远,方式更为大胆。

  2010年8月19日上午,在国土资源部召开的房地产用地专项整治工作新闻通气会上,一纸通报将近年来高歌猛进的腾冲推上到全国媒体面前。“云南省腾冲县政府违规供地和云

南世纪金源投资置业公司违规建别墅案”,被列为六宗没有处理到位的违规违法案件之一,由国土部进行挂牌督办。

  然而,四个月过去了。上述挂牌督办案件的办理结果至今尚未正式公布,过去几个月在腾冲县内稍显低调的推土机们,如今又重新热闹起来。

违规别墅买卖依旧

“‘大牛场’的别墅还在卖?那是他们晕头了吧。”

  “我们一期开发了将近600套别墅,大部分都已经出售,现在只剩下20多套了。”2010年12月13日下午,在腾冲国际高尔夫度假村,一位售楼人员指着售楼中心的沙盘告诉本刊

记者。

  腾冲国际高尔夫度假村位于腾越镇侍郎坝村附近的“大牛场”,透过售楼中心窗子看去,是连片的高尔夫绿茵和成群的独栋别墅。

  这个度假村正是国土部挂牌督办的“违规建别墅”项目。可是,当问起售楼人员这一项目被挂牌督办是否还能买卖时,售楼人员以肯定的口气回答,“没有问题,目前别墅每平

方米单价在7000元至1.2万元之间,先交5万元定金,一周内签合同,土地证与产权证半年至一年内办下来。”

  据售楼人员介绍,项目第二期可能在两年后开盘,还有200多套别墅。

  根据腾冲国际高尔夫度假村官方网站资料,该项目规划占地面积高达6272亩,总建筑面积达45万平方米,包括体育休闲公园、商务会所及低密度住宅,有54洞国际高尔夫球场

和上千栋别墅,别墅每栋平均占地2亩左右。

  “‘大牛场’的别墅还在卖?那是他们晕头了吧。”12月17日下午,腾冲县国土局副局长郭强在办公室面对本刊记者的提问回应称,“他们肯定是晕头了,早就不让卖了。”

  然而,这位副局长说罢此话便无下文,继续其他工作,既未进一步解释,亦看不出要采取任何解决措施。

  按照《国土资源领域违规违法案件公开通报和挂牌督办办法(试行)》,世纪金源涉及的土地违规建别墅案件,云南省国土资源管理部门应及时向云南省政府分管领导报告,

按有关规定配合或会同纪检监察机关进行调查处理,一般在两个月之内处理完毕。若是重大或复杂案件,由省级人民政府国土资源行政主管部门向国土资源部提出书面申请,经部

专题会议或部长办公会议批准后,可以适当延长办理时限。

  自2010年8月19日宣布挂牌督办至12月中旬,已近四个月。当本刊记者一再追问该项目挂牌督办的处理结果时,郭强不置可否,回应称:“这事你去问国土部。”

  据腾冲县国土局办公室有关人士介绍,2010 年8月18日,腾冲县政府给世纪金源公司发了函,要求停止高尔夫别墅项目一切销售活动。第二天,世纪金源公司回复称,已撤销

一切销售活动和广告宣传。

“排头兵”世纪金源

世纪金源两个项目都是占地数千亩的大盘,合在一起或逾万亩

  腾冲国际高尔夫度假村只是房地产开发商世纪金源在腾冲的两个项目之一,另一个是位于腾越镇西山坝规划中的腾冲新城内的世纪城项目。

  世纪城项目位于腾冲老县城往北约四五分钟车程的西山坝,位置在规划中的腾冲新城的东部。2010年年末,本刊记者在黄土飞扬的项目工地看到施工人员忙碌的身影,工地上

有即将完工的成片住宅楼房和别墅,也有等待建设的大片黄土裸露的工地,推土机和运土车在其上奔忙着。世纪城项目以西的大块土地,亦在新城规划的范围内,建设尚未开始,

还长着茂盛苍翠的丛林。

  世纪金源两个项目都是占地数千亩的大盘,合在一起或逾万亩,算得上目前腾冲开发建设规模最大的房地产商。

  2007年,世纪金源与众多房地产开发商一起,扎堆腾冲。在此以前,来腾冲拿地的外省房企凤毛麟角。

  “由于交通原因,此前来腾冲旅游的人很少,大多数是周边城市的居民。”腾冲县旅游局的一位官员在接受本刊记者采访时称。

  与云南的大多数城市一样,交通是制约腾冲发展的巨大瓶颈。腾冲一直未通火车,前往省会昆明,只能乘坐长达约10个小时的长途汽车,直到2009年初才开通了航班。

  云南省内企业中,来自昆明的官房集团先拔头筹,在腾冲县城中心建造了当地第一家五星级酒店。

  “2005年之前,官房来腾冲拿地,这里的地价非常便宜,人们还没有意识到这里的土地会一下子变得那么值钱。”一位腾冲当地的生意人说,“短短的几年,土地价格翻了几十

倍甚至百倍,这让多年来财力不足的地方政府也尝到了甜头。”

  世纪金源也非十足的“外来汉”,2005年前后在昆明开发了世纪城项目,其大盘开发模式在当地房地产业领一时风气之先。2007年世纪金源进入腾冲,以拿地万亩的气魄取代官

房,成为当地房企中的“排头兵”。

  世纪金源是国内知名地产开发商,在全国开发各类商品房8000万平方米,在北京、重庆、昆明、贵阳、长沙和合肥等地,均拥有以“世纪城”命名的住宅开发项目和以“金源时

代购物中心”为名的商业地产项目,并在全国拥有16家五星级酒店。

  奥宸地产、大港旺宝、华隆集团等地产商,也在腾冲盘桓多年,但无论拿地速度还是开发进展,都远远落在世纪金源之后。对于到腾冲淘金的房地产开发商来说,世纪金源成

为了他们的一个标杆,其开发节奏和定价策略,都是其他开发商判断政策风向的重要依据。

“大牛场”前世今生

对于“大牛场”如何由集体用地转变为国有用地,腾冲农业局一位负责人语焉不详

  根据国土部2010年8月19日的通报材料,位于腾冲县腾越镇侍郎坝村的“大牛场”,为腾冲县农业局2003年取得的国有土地。

  2007年10月11日,云南世纪金源投资置业集团有限公司与腾冲县政府签订投资协议,在大牛场建设腾冲国际旅游体育健身休闲公园项目。

  2007年10月17日,腾冲县旅游局向县政府申请将腾冲县农业局使用的大牛场土地变更给云南世纪金源投资置业集团有限公司作为旅游设施及开发用地。

  2007年11月,腾冲县政府下发《腾冲县人民政府关于大牛场土地使用权变更的批复》,同意将大牛场5571.469亩土地变更给世纪金源投资置业集团有限公司使用。

  本刊记者在当地采访时发现,情况与通报材料颇有出入。腾冲县岗峨村一位村干部告诉记者,“大牛场”是当地村民的习惯叫法,一直以来是当地13个自然村(7个行政村)的

集体用地,总共有3000多亩土地,并没有5571.469亩之巨,常年是一片长了些草的荒坡,因农民常在这里放牛而得名,也有农民在上面种些苦荞。

  2003年,当地农业局(2005年腾冲县农业局与畜牧局分家,此后归畜牧局管理)向村里以每亩2元的年租价格租用该土地植草发展畜牧业,后转租给腾冲当地一位李姓私营业

主供其养牛,直到2007年10月被世纪金源征用。

  “世纪金源征用时,补偿我们的价格为每亩1.2万元。”这位村干部称,“这些钱我们大部分按照人头分发给村民,还有一部分用于修路等村内公共设施的建设。”

  对于“大牛场”如何由集体用地转变为国有用地,腾冲农业局一位负责人语焉不详,但他承认“一部分是农业局的土地,一部分是附近农村的集体用地,集体土地居多。集体用

地都做了补偿,农民还是比较高兴的,因为这个地放在那里,效益很低,就是荒草地。”

  这位官员也承认,“大牛场”并没有5571.469亩那么大,“政府批了那么多,可能是把周边土地也算上了”。

  侍郎坝村与岗峨村的几位村干部都证实,世纪金源在2007年10月征地后,还在2008年进行了两次扩征。

  “扩征时,有分到村民的林地,也有村里集体的林地。”一位岗峨村村干部称,“补偿标准大约为每亩1.4万元,成材林地为每亩2万元。”

程序缺失乱象

尽管市场质疑之声不绝于耳,世纪金源对腾冲“大牛场”的开发进程却丝毫未受到影响

  虽然征地事实上先后分三次进行,一直持续到2008年中,但世纪金源在2007年底便领到了土地证。

  2007年11月26日,腾冲县国土局为世纪金源在腾冲县成立的子公司云南世纪金源体育度假有限责任公司办理了土地登记并发国有土地使用证,登记面积4798.209亩。证书内容

为:国用(2007)第109392号,地号533023101-DL-29-2,50年的土地使用权(2057年 11月25日),用地类型为综合用地,使用权类型为出让,使用权面积为3198806平方米(约

4798.209亩)。

  更为令人费解的是,世纪金源竟在拿到土地证之后数月才缴纳土地款。国土部的通报材料显示,2008年3月,通过对土地及地上建筑物、附着物整体打包转让的方式,世纪金

源体育度假有限责任公司支付了16466万元价款(即大约每平米51.48元,每亩3.4317万元)。

  “我们从来没有看到过关于‘大牛场’用地的招拍挂公告。”一位腾冲当地的开发商向本刊记者称,算下来这块土地的购买成本仅每亩3万多元,这样的价格在腾冲市场上早已绝

迹,目前腾冲新城规划区的土地价格大约是每亩14万至18万元,县城中心区域的地价最高已达每亩400万-500万元,而目前“大牛场”别墅售价,高于腾冲县城普通商品房售价的1倍

以上,后者每平方米约3500至4000元。

  尽管市场质疑之声不绝于耳,世纪金源对腾冲“大牛场”的开发进程却丝毫未受到影响。2008年4月8日,腾冲世纪金源体育度假有限责任公司进驻“大牛场”并在此开发建设,开

始动工建设高尔夫球场,同时进行房地产开发。

  2009年9月,世纪金源高尔夫项目一期建成并投入使用,别墅开盘销售。项目一期独栋540套、联排30栋(60套),占地约1000亩。10 月,世纪金源体育度假有限责任公司申

请将腾越镇侍郎坝村大牛场,更名为“腾冲县腾越镇观景大道1号”。10月22日,腾冲县民政局批准改名。

  至此,“大牛场”在腾冲永远成为了一个历史名词。

隐藏的秘密

一口气批4798.209亩土地,这远超过县政府和地方国土部门的权限,完全不是我们能够想象

  在腾冲,大多数官员对“大牛场”项目的情况三缄其口。一位官员私下告诉本刊记者,这个项目当时是省里面甚至更高层领导打过招呼,县领导也做不了主。“这么大的项目,

若是省里面不点头,我们也不敢做。”

  上述官员透露,当时世纪金源来腾冲,政府做过承诺,企业负责投资开发,相关土地报批手续由政府帮助完成。

  “一口气批4798.209亩土地,这远超过县政府和地方国土部门的权限,完全不是我们能够想象。”一位腾冲当地的开发商向本刊记者称,“我们知道,一个批次最多不可能超过

600亩,因为省国土厅的审批权限就那么大。”

  这位开发商历数了“大牛场”开发过程中,按照当地正常的土地报批流程,让人费解的六点操作:

  第一,大片的集体土地,转眼间变更为国有土地进行出让;第二,一个批次报批近5000亩土地,竟能顺利拿到土地证;第三,先拿到土地证,数月之后才缴纳土地款;第四,

边拿到土地证,边进行土地征用;第五,边开发建设,边进行扩征;第六,至今没有看到公开的招拍挂公告。

  事实上,短短半年时间中,“大牛场”项目便从立项签约到开工建设,其审批过程中,还有诸多隐秘未与外人道。例如,“腾冲国际高尔夫度假村”规划面积和目前实际占有土地

面积,已远超出当初“大牛场”的占地面积,而且这一项目除占用荒山坡,还占用了大片林地,估计至少达千亩以上。

  腾冲县林业局官员和当地村民都证实了这一说法。“有些还是很好的成材林,树径有碗口那么粗了。”一位岗峨村村民一边比划一边告诉本刊记者,“像这样的林地,我们感觉

拿到手的征地补偿太低。”

  一位腾冲县建设局官员告诉本刊记者,“大牛场”项目所在地一直未纳入其规划范围,“这块地既没有总规,也没有详规,自然谈不上规划要求”。

  与西山坝项目不一样,“大牛场”项目正因没有纳入城镇规划区的范围,其土地补偿标准较西山坝低得多。

  “西山坝的土地可以享受‘六八政策’,我们‘大牛场’的土地就不能享受,”一位岗峨村干部告诉本刊记者,“我们拿到的补偿是一次性的。”

  所谓“六八政策”,即除了一次性拿到一笔土地征用补偿,农民每年还能获得每亩600元(旱地)或800元(水田)的征地补贴。

  以岗峨村为例,全村2000多人,目前被“腾冲国际高尔夫度假村”征用的田地已近2000亩,大多数农户手中的田地也所剩无几,只能村外寻找临时工的机会。

  “目前拿到10万元以上补偿费的家庭并不多。”上述村干部称,“但岗峨村一直是个贫困村,很多农民拿到补偿费后,发现一辈子也没见过那么多钱,大多用来修自己的住房或

买摩托车。”

  “现在手头是宽裕不少,但想想以后家里连田地都没有了,还是有些担心,毕竟物价涨得也很快。”一位村民表达了自己的担忧,“前段时间家里还有人在‘大牛场’帮世纪金源

做工,现在他们招工的要求挑剔了,只能去西山坝找机会。”

  上述腾冲县官员告诉本刊记者,尽管没有对外公开,但政府内部已通报,腾冲县国土局和林业局的两位负责人,因“大牛场”项目将受到行政记过处分。前者因供地程序违规,

后者则因林地占用,森林受到破坏。

  对于世纪金源违规建别墅的处理,有知情人士透露,不会让他们拆除,但要进行罚款。

从违规占地到造城运动 二三线城市“圈地”冲动不减
来源:中国广播网
2011年01月24日09:10
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  中广网北京1月24日消息(记者柴华)据中国之声《新闻纵横》报道,金灿灿的田垄边上,一位头戴遮阳帽、脚踏胶底绿布鞋的农妇正在为一片青菜地浇水。这是在农村里常常会看到的一幅典型画面,然而,到了明天,这块平静的土地上还会不会长出绿油油的青菜呢?

  最新一期《新世纪周刊》推出封面文章《谁动了土地?》,深入追踪了“世纪金源云南腾冲违规占地案”,以及“恒大地产在四川大邑的造成运动”两个典型案例。《新世纪周刊》报道称,地方政府谋求经济体量迅速膨胀的冲动与房地产勃兴的浪潮迅速结合,构成了“圈地”最强大的推动力。

  而这种冲动正在面临着来自中央的监查风暴与来自基层的强烈对抗。如果地方政府短期内不改变“以土地换发展”的方式,我们将如何遏制城市强大的“圈地”冲动呢?记者对《新世纪周刊》副主编王晓冰进行了采访。

  记者:2008年3月,世纪金源以每平方米不到52元的价格在美丽的云南古镇腾冲拿下了5571亩林地,两年后将这里变成了一个高尔夫度假村。如今,土地资源争夺与房地产勃兴的故事已经蔓延到这座偏远的古镇。世纪金源是如何拿到这么大一块地的?作为2010年国土部挂牌督办的大案,如今这个案件又有何下文呢?

  王晓冰:世纪金源应该是在2007年11月份的时候就已经拿到了,根据我们看到的文件,腾冲县政府已经把5000多亩的国有土地变更给世纪金源来使用,但是实际上从我们看到的所有相关的公开资料来看,2008年3月份的时候,它才交纳了相关的土地款。而且根据当地开发商介绍,他们从来没有看到过,关于这块用地,当地俗称为大牛场招牌挂的公告,而算下来土地的购买成本大概每亩就有三万多元,每平方米就相当于51.48元的样子,跟当地相关的价格来比是非常之便宜的。

  而这些土地存在这么几个问题:第一是这么大片的集体土地几乎在一夜之间变成了世纪金源的,就是云南省一级的国土局都没有资格来报批,那五千亩的土地为什么一夜之间就变成世纪金源使用了,这里头是非常奇怪的。当然在这个过程中,刚才我前面讲到的,它先拿到土地证,过了几个月之后才交纳的土地款,而且它一边在拿土地过程中间,一边又进行了扩地的征用。而且从始自终根本没有看到过公开的招牌挂的公告,这个事情当时是国土部去年8月份的时候挂牌督办的六个比较重大的案件之一,但是直到现在这个别墅项目依然在销售,记者12月底的时候去当地看,销售人员说一期已经卖的只剩60多套了,二期他们还在建,还要建200多套。 记者:根据《新世纪周刊》的报道,恒大地产进驻四川大邑县是始于2005年地方上发展旅游业的战略规划,而这一点上地方也很无奈。他们的无奈从何而来?像恒大山水城这“突破”万亩的大规模开发,又怎样去获得征地批文呢?

  王晓冰:他们过去财政收入主要是来自于煤炭产业,但煤炭产业作为一种能源,它开掘总有枯竭的时候,而且最重要的是它给当地带来了非常严重的污染问题,所以最后全县以人大决议的方式要关掉煤矿、水泥厂等污染企业发展旅游业,把旅游业作用重要的支柱产业。从地方来上讲是没有什么错的,但是作为一个三线的城市它怎么才能够吸引到投资,来填补它基础设施的缺口,特别是比方说宾馆、酒店,当地是没有资金的,所以它必须要引入大量的开发商帮助它开发旅游地产的项目,而地产商往往就会提出大规模要地的要求,而政府一旦给出这种承诺它在用地上就不得不突破国家的一些相关规定。我们知道恒大就是非常典型的这样一个情况,采取的方法就是分割,本来是连成一线的土地,但是它裁成21块,一块一块的卖给恒大。

  记者:如果寄希望于让地方政府改变“以土地换发展”的路径短期内难以实现,那么我们又该如何去遏制这样的“圈地”冲动呢?

  王晓冰:现在问题出在地方政府和开发商,它的决定权太大了,而中央政府和农民,他们的博弈力量又太小,我们想这种局面有一个什么样的解决方法呢?就要改变现在中间大两头小的局面,一方面在中央这一层的责任追究的过程中间,我觉得应该引入媒体的力量;同时中央政府应该建立一套更加公开透明的督办的规则,定时向公众来通报相关的这种结果,同时鼓励各方面来加强监督等等。

  最重要的我们觉得最底层的层面还是要给农民赋权,让农民自己去维护自己相关的权益,现在我们看到一方面是农民因为认知水平的局限,他可能博弈能力很有限,所以这需要一些相关的主角进行基层教育的工作;另一方面还要有系统、有效的法律来支持,比方说地方法院也很有可能跟地方政府走到一起去,解决相关法律支持的问题。

Comments:
Very interesting observations, Prof. Shih! I am not sure, however, if your blog post is implying that Xi Jinping is actually behind approving this enormous land transaction? But if so, I wonder how it is that the Ministry of Land and Resources would put this on their list of serious violations. It seems as though with someone as high up as Xi Jinping, the Ministry would not dare start a public investigation into the affair. The article also states that the county-level Departments (of Land and Forestry) heads have been punished for their malfeasances. I was just curious to hear how you think elite influences (at such high levels) works in such cases. Thank you!
 
Hi Victor

I wonder if you have picked up on this piece of major league malfeasance, given your interest in Bo Xilai.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/show-them-the-money-old-china-20110325-1ca3f.htm

King Tubby
 
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Monday, December 27, 2010

CNOOC vs China Customs
Well, Caixin published a very interesting story which immediately got "harmonized". Fortunately, Bill Bishop (Twitter @niubi) caught it and forwarded it to me. As you can see China Customs actually sent customs police and arrested sub contractors who worked with a CNOOC subsidiary which imported oil drilling machineries for cnooc. Although cnooc was given low customs rate when importing oil machineries in the 80s, that privilege has been revoked by a more recent state council document. However, cnooc still refused to pay the full rate. Now the interesting thing is that this dispute simmered below the surface until customs sent police to arrest cnooc officials and subcontractors. I would guess that high level approval is needed before this is done. This likely was done with the approval of li keqiang or Wang qishan. One or both of them seemto be flexing some muscle. However, I don't think this infringes on Zhou yongkang's turf as his power base is petro china rather than cnooc. Anyway interesting case to chew on.

caixin reporter linked to this on tianya
http://www.tianya.cn/publicforum/content/news/1/195229.shtml

 http://magazine.caing.com/chargeFullNews.jsp?id=100210977&time=2010-12-25&cl=115&page=all

  中海油关税事件
  本文来源于《新世纪》周刊 2010年第51期 出版日期2010年12月27

  中海油与海关就海洋石油设备进口税政发生争议,涉及两家机构个别人员间的利益纠结与冲突,漩涡不断扩大

  《新世纪》周刊 记者 陈竹 特派香港记者 王端

    2010年岁末,由关税引发的风暴仍在中国海关与中国第三大国有石油公司中海油之间持续发酵。

    10月14日,一份由中海油总部签发的任免通知,免去了姜锡肇海油工程总裁职务。随后10月中下旬的一个凌晨,姜被海关缉私警察带走。其他多位海油工程高管也陆续被要求协助调查。

    一个多月后,海油工程发布公告,承认公司正被天津海关调查。“调查涉及公司与天津海关对外籍工程船舶进出境申报的适用法律、申报方式和具体操作程序等有关政策规定的理解和执行方面存在着的不同认识。”

    这篇措辞谨慎的公告背后,是中海油与海关总署之间一场持续了一年的暗战,中心是双方对于与海洋石油开采相关的一些设备进口税政的争议,同时涉及两家机构个别人员间的利益纠结与冲突。随着矛盾升级,外部监管监督机构也被卷入其中,漩涡不断扩大。

    多位消息人士向本刊记者透露,关税争议案值高达数十亿元,从海关到中海油,均有多人涉案。针对相关争议,国资委相关部门亦向财政部、发改委、能源局等多个部委打报告,就相关争议商品关税的认定征询意见。

    据本刊记者从接近海关及中海油的多位人士处了解,中海油总公司在自查后,已向中央纪委举报自家前采办部经理陆麟接受天津一家报关公司天津海润的贿赂,中央纪委随后控制了陆麟、天津海润总经理胡晓波和天津新港海关相关官员。海关总署也出动缉私部门,加紧对海油工程前总裁姜锡肇及其下属的调查。知情人士透露,这场由“逃税门”演化而来的“二海之争”很可能分缉私和反腐两路查办。

  关税争议

    作为国内惟一一家承揽海洋油气开发工程建设项目的总承包公司,中海油的子公司海油工程每年进口大量设备,用于海上油气田开发工程及其陆地终端的建造、海底管道与电缆的铺设等。

    自1997年以来,国家对中国海洋开采石油、天然气进口物资采取免征进口税的政策。海油工程所需大部分进口设备,都可在免税清单上找到。用一位业内人士的话说,“中海油成立之时,国家给的不是钱,是政策,其中就包括关税减免。”这点,各界并无争议。

    但是,随着中国石油工业和中海油的发展壮大,政策也在逐渐变化。在这个过程中,特别是由于中海油作为中国具有海上对外合作专营权的惟一一家企业,经常需要与外国石油作业公司合作,而这些合作者、承包商以及中海油海外子公司带着工程船舶和相关设备进来作业时,相关船舶和设备的关税是否也应减免?争议出现了。

    1982年中海油成立时,中国海洋石油事业几乎是一片空白,完全依靠海上对外招标,为了鼓励这一新兴事业,国务院于1982年2月28日批准《海关总署、财政部关于中外合作开采海洋石油进出口货物征免关税和工商统一税的规定》,提出“外国合同者为开采海洋石油而暂时进口并保证复运出口的机器和其他工程器材,在进口或复运出口时予以免税”,并发布《中外合作开采海洋石油进口物资免税清表》。执行时间为1996年4月1日至2000年12月31日。

    执行该免税清表的老合作项目包括了从1980年6月9日和日中石油开发株式会社合作的渤西南区块项目,到1994年12月27日和阿科(中国)有限公司合作的63/20区块项目的共计19个项目。

    但2000年12月31日后,这一法规被废止了。国务院2008年1月15日发布的《国务院关于废止部分行政法规的决定》再次确认“适用期已过,实际上已经失效”。替代的是《海关总署关于执行“十五”期间在我国海洋和陆上特定地区开采石油(天然气)进口物资税收政策的通知》。通知规定,“项目单位和外国合作者暂时进口相应物资,准予免税,进口时海关按‘暂时进口’货物办理手续”。执行时间为2001年1月1日至2005年12月31日。

    在中海油来看,这一政策在实质意义上延续了中海油自上世纪80年代起享受的作业相关设备进出口关税优惠政策。但据知情人士透露,海关看法与此不同,措辞上的微妙变化已为后来的争议埋下伏笔。

    根据《中华人民共和国海关进出口货物征税管理办法》(下称《管理办法》,“租赁进口”和“暂时进口”是两回事,关税征收办法也大相径庭。如果将中海油合作作业单位或海外子公司带来的工程船舶或其他设备,按“租赁进口”来处理,就需按租金缴纳租赁关税;如按“暂时进口”来处理,则基本可以免税或象征性缴纳少量税收。

    而海关在《管理办法》中规定,“暂时进口”货物往往指“在展览会、交易会、会议及类似活动中展示或者使用的货物;文化、体育交流活动中使用的表演、比赛用品”等。以此定义来套中海油情况其实比较牵强,其中已透露了海关希望逐渐取消关税优惠之意。而中海油则认为,中国海洋石油事业仍处于起步阶段,照顾政策应当继续。

    “十五”结束时,矛盾又摆上台面。几番较量下,2007年4月13日海关总署出台了《海关总署关于执行“十一五”期间在我国海洋和陆上特定地区开采石油(天然气)进口物资税收优惠政策的通知》。据这份通知,财政部、海关总署和税务总局审核认定了“十一五”期间中国开采海洋油气项目及项目免税物资的进口额度。也就是说,额度以内的免税,额度以外的正常缴税。

    此外,《通知》也进一步厘清了1994年12月31日之前批准的对外合作“老项目”和之后批准的新项目的关系。对于老项目,准予免税。但对于新项目,分“暂时进口”和“租赁进口”两种情况——暂时进口准予按规定免税;而租赁进口,符合《免税物资清单》范围的才准予免税,而且免税进口租赁物资也需要申请额度。

    据海关总署一位不便具名官员透露,海油工程正是将上述油气开采设备的租赁合同“伪造”成暂时进口合同,海关稽查部门已掌握足够证据。据此,海关在2010年下半年向国务院领导报称,中海油涉巨额逃税案,申请严处。

    而中海油则认为,国家对海洋石油开采给予包括关税在内的政策优惠,是中海油能够发展起来的一个重要因素,以此指责中海油偷逃关税无异于否定中海油发展模式。2009年,海油工程归属上市公司股东的净利润仅为9.23亿元,无法承受沉重的关税负担。据悉,国资委已就此请能源和税务专家研究出具了一份报告,知情人士称,国资委报告支持中海油的结论,亦获得财政部、发改委、商务部、能源局等多部委认同,但海关总署坚持“逃税说”,目前此事仍在僵持之中。

  天津海润

    按照一位海关内部人士的说法,报关“技术含量最高”的部分就是“归类”,进口商品归为哪类,在关税上相差很大。模糊的措辞,与日渐收紧的关税政策,都使得中海油越来越感到需要有专业的报关公司来夯实原有的免税待遇。2006年前后,天津海润国际货运代理有限公司(下简称天津海润)浮出水面,并逐渐成为为中海油承担通关事宜的一家主要报关公司。

    天津海润来头不小。据接近中海油人士透露,2006年前后,即“十一五”期间中国海洋油气进口物资税政策出台的前夕,海关总署监管司的官员将中海油总公司采办部的工作人员召至办公室,介绍了海关优惠政策的调整思路,同时推荐了几家报关行,其中就包括天津海润。事后,中海油采办部工作人员获悉,天津海润的法人代表胡晓波在海关总署和天津海关均有深厚人脉,其妻即在监管司任职。不久,在中海油采办部经理陆麟的推动下,中海油向下属公司发文建议将在天津等北方港区的报关相关业务交给天津海润。

    胡晓波2003年3月加入报关行业,注册成立了天津市海润物流有限公司。2004年初,天津市海润物流有限公司出资400万元,天津开发区四达仓储有限公司出资100万元,联合成立了天津海润国际货运代理有限公司。其中,天津开发区四达仓储有限公司主营集装箱的储存、装卸,是塘沽新港发展最快的堆场之一,创立人孙荣鸣,为胡晓波妻弟。公开资料显示,孙荣鸣亦在天津从事报关行业多年,从1993年起先后参与创立过天津四达报关行有限公司、天津汇葆物流有限公司等多家企业。

    2005年2月16日,天津海润两家企业股东变成三个自然人:胡晓波、王冬和曹洪生。注册资本在2005年和2007年两次增资后至700万元。其中,胡晓波出资385万元,占总股本的55%。

    据天津海润官网信息,它是经商务部批准的国际运输一级代理公司,总部位于天津,在天津新港拥有近4万平方米集装箱堆场,在宁波、上海、厦门、深圳、香港也有分支机构。在同行眼中,天津海润擅长大型企业及大型设备的进口操作,专营大客户,客户名单中包括海油工程,也包括康菲石油公司、哈利伯顿、斯伦贝谢、壳牌中国等。

    由在海关人脉深厚的天津海润承理报关,在海油工程内部人看来,更多是“顺水人情、锦上添花”。中海油享受国家关税优惠政策多年,海油工程又是海关总署评定的AA级进出口企业,2006年还进入“红名单”(全国海关系统评定进出口企业的最高管理级别),这意味着海油工程本就享受各项通关便利优惠,包括最低的查验率、最快的清关速度,以及“先放后税”的政策。

    但天津海润显然有不同理解。据上述知情人士透露,天津海润收费标准近年来大幅攀升,其船代收费比其他同行高出数倍。自2006年到2009年,天津海润仅从中海油系统有关公司,就收取了1.52亿元保管费和“特殊服务费”。

    对此,天津海润业务部经理金鑫在12月20日接受电话采访时表示,海润的业务都是靠招标,不可能垄断相关业务,一般大客户也都会选择两三家货代,不会完全依赖一家。对于海润船代费是否大大高于同行,金鑫解释说,货物进口量大,相应的船代费就会高。

    无论如何,随着天津海润代理费用渐增,海油工程与天津海润的关系走过了蜜月期。2009年下半年,海油工程下决心弃用天津海润的独家代理,而对其货代业务实施公开招标。由于海润报价较高,部分项目未能中标。

  3亿保证金事件

    2009年天津新港海关正逢“困难年”。受国际金融危机影响,新港海关2009年实征税收559.87亿元,较2008年有所下降。当年天津海关实征税收980.84亿元,其中关税236.85亿元,同比下降30.93%。据消息人士透露,2009年
11 月,天津新港海关正为完不成年度海关税收目标而发愁。这时海油工程境外子公司所属一艘工程船抵达天津,向新港海关申报。新港海关同意以“暂时进口”方式报关,但提出此次申报不通过银行担保函担保,而是缴纳3亿元保证金。据知情人士透露,新港海关一位官员对海油工程人员暗示说:“过去我们帮你,关键时候你们要帮我。”

    但海洋工程没有当回事,拒绝了新港海关的要求。一位接近海油工程内部的人士说,时任海油工程总裁的姜锡肇当时没有清楚认识各方微妙的利益关系,多年来也习惯于享受“免税”和“暂时进口”报关等优惠政策。国资委一位人士也私下评价说,中海油“太洋化”,过去习惯于和外国人打交道,和国内官员打交道缺乏经验。

    但另一个不可忽视的因素是,2009年之于中海油工程也是“勒紧裤腰带”的一年。受恶劣天气影响,在南海施工的惠州一项目成本超支,导致项目亏损4.2亿元,影响净利润3.6亿元。海油工程2009年归属上市公司股东的净利润仅9.23亿元,同比减少17.48%——这还是动用了各种方法降本增效的结果。

    在海油工程的坚持下,新港海关最后不得不同意,接受银行担保函,但要求中海油额外缴纳1000万元的保证金。在不少熟悉此事的业内人士看来,这次过节,导致了双方关系的恶化。

  稽查开始

    2010年1月26日,一个周二,天津海关缉私局出动武装人员和便衣人员40多人,展开针对海油工程偷逃关税的“1·26专案”行动。据接近此事人士透露,当时海关查封了海油工程相关账号,抓了几位管理人员,抱走了他们的电脑。

    调查持续了大半年。与此同时,据接近中海油人士透露,中海油开始在中海油内部展开自查,并在自查中发现,当初将天津海润引入海油工程的中海油采办部工作人员陆麟曾收受天津海润60万元。其时,陆麟业已退休,身体状况不佳。因涉及贿案,此案迅速由相关纪律监察部门接手。

    中央纪委控制调查的,还有天津海润总经理胡晓波和与之关系密切的天津新港海关高级官员。

    此时,海油工程在天津的“逃税门”已经逐渐演化成中海油总部和海关总署的高层角力。据知情人士透露,海关总署此后向国务院递交报告,称中海油构成建国以来最大的偷逃关税事件。在此之后,海关部署缉私部门不断收紧相关调查,最后在10月中下旬将姜锡肇带走调查。其他近十位海油工程高管也陆续被要求协助调查。

    海油工程则与11月2日发布公告,称姜锡肇因工作变动关系辞去公司董事职务。直到11月26日《21世纪经济报道》发表“涉嫌偷逃关税海油工程前总裁被查”三天之后,海油工程才于11月29日晚间发布公告承认,天津海关正在对其外籍船舶进出境事宜进行调查。

    中海油总公司对内正式评价这件事,是在11月初。总经理傅成玉在一个内部勘探会议上通报了姜的情况。11月18日,傅又在内部电视电话会议上严令下属企业进行自查,要求下属企业在今后的经营中要严守法律法规,避免再次出现类似违规事件。

    与此同时,中海油也就关税争议问题向国资委做出汇报。据国资委内部人士介绍,国资委的确请了一些关税和能源专家进行研讨,并出具了一份报告,陈述历史渊源,并向财政部、发改委、商务部等相关部委征询意见。

    据接近内情人士透露,目前海关总署仍坚持中海油应补交关税,而中海油则举出历年政策证明,中海油相关海油开采业务是在中央支持下享受免税政策,无须为此补交税款。但在姜锡肇及多位新港海关官员被调查之后,事件已进一步发酵。在相当长一段时间里,中海油总公司直接分管海油工程的,是总公司副总周守为,他自2003年12月就兼任海油工程董事长和法定代表人——这是中海油的传统,总公司副总通常会兼任下属控股子公司的董事长。

    可能是意识到这一管理架构的问题,中海油作为海油工程的大股东,于11月下旬提出修改公司章程临时提案,提请将公司法定代表人由董事长转为总裁。这一提议很快在海油工程12月2日的董事会上通过。这也意味着海油工程的法人将不再是原海油工程董事长周守为。12月2日的董事选举,又进一步产生了新一届董事会成员,中海油总公司副总经理兼中海油服董事长刘健取代周守为,成为新一任海油工程董事长。

  后续

    对于“逃税门”的收场,市场分析人士多态度乐观。安信证券在一份分析报告中估计,“该等事项可以在公司、海关、政府的共同努力下得到解决,不会对公司的长期发展构成较大影响。”

    一位不便具名的石油专家指出,无论
“逃税门”事件如何收场,中国油气开采进口物资的关税优惠将逐渐收紧甚至取消,这个趋势不会变。截至2009年5月,中国石油石化设备上规模企业数量升至1367家,东营、盘锦和大庆都明确提出发展石油装备制造基地的思路。不仅陆上,海洋石油装备业的竞争也逐渐铺开——中石油2005年成立中石油集团海洋工程有限公司,2009年9月,中石油首个海洋装备制造基地辽河石油装备制造总公司海工基地进入规模化生产阶段。中海油也于2007年定下了投资150亿元建造深水钻井船等一系列深水大型装备的目标。开征上述进口装备的关税,有利于扶持国内油气开采设备制造商、增加国产化率。

    2008年12月9日,财政部、国家发展改革委、海关总署、国家税务总局四部门又联合发布2008年第39号公告,针对《国内投资项目不予免税的进口商品目录(2006年修订)》执行中存在的问题,对不予免税的目录进行调整,新增条目包括“船舶设备”和“石油天然气设备”。自2009年7月1日起,国内投资项目项下申报进口的设备一律按照调整后目录执行。

    但接受采访的各方人士均认为,这场纷争很可能分缉私和反腐两路查办。缉私调查告一段落,而反腐调查也许才刚刚开始。

    据天津海润业务部经理金鑫透露,此次风波对天津海润的冲击也很大,短短几月间,数个部门前来调查,公司的形象大受打击,“圈内说什么的都有”,业务量也急剧减少。

    天津一家报关公司的负责人在接受本刊记者采访时抱怨说,此次风波后,天津新港海关对物流报关行业加强了监管力度。“海关的操作难度将更大,过关时间将更长,客户负担也会增加。”

    截至目前,天津海关和中海油仍拒绝对上述消息作出正面回应——负责海洋石油《进出口货物征免税证明》审批的天津海关减免税管理科、负责新港海关减免税货物的后续稽查的天津新港海关直属稽核科、天津海关监察室及中海油总部均婉拒采访要求。

    本刊记者于宁、张宇哲、王和岩对此文亦有贡献

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Friday, December 10, 2010

How China Really Works...

True, I haven't posted for a long time, sorry loyal readers. Anyway, wikileak provided even some fodder for the discussion on elite politics in the form of a cable on how China really works. As seen below, top leaders are close to various business interests, and princelings are powerful. I would say the assessment below is more or less true. Moreover, at the local level, local leaders are close to various real estate companies and construction contractors, who help finance their promotions. Now, we can understand why imposing strict monetary policy that would cut off credit to SOEs and real estate developers may be difficult to do.

Telegraph

WikiLeaks: China's Politburo a cabal of business empires

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8184216/WikiLeaks-Chinas
-Politburo-a-cabal-of-business-empires.html

China's ruling Politburo is a cabal of business empires that puts vested
interests over the needs of the poor and curtails media freedoms to avoiding
having shady business deals exposed in the press, according to a leaked US
government diplomatic cable.


Peter Foster
By Peter Foster, Beijing 9:00PM GMT 06 Dec 2010

The damning description of China's secretive leadership machinations also
described how the descendants of China's Communist revolutionaries - known
as "princelings" - derided officials from less august revolutionary
backgrounds as mere "shopkeepers".

The assessment of what motivates China's opaque top-level decision-makers
was relayed to Washington in July 2009 in one of the 250,000 cables
published by the WikiLeaks website.

"China's top leadership had carved up China's economic 'pie,'" the US
embassy contact said, "creating an ossified system in which 'vested
interests' drove decision-making and impeded reform as leaders maneuvered to
ensure that those interests were not threatened." The US embassy contact
also asserted there were no "reformers" within the top Communist Party
leadership, only competing factions that sought to protect their business
empires from attack by in-coming leaderships.


The source said that it was "well known" that former Chinese premier Li Peng
and his family controlled China's "electric power interests" while the
country's security tsar Zhou Yongkang controlled the state monopoly of the
oil sector.

The wife of China's premier Wen Jiabao, a popular figure in China often
affectionately referred to as "grandpa Wen" for his feelings for the common
man, is said to control China's "precious gems" sector, while Jia Qinglin,
ranked fourth in the Politburo, has "major Beijing real estate
developments".

Further down the political food-chain, the desire of local officials to
protect current business interests also explained China's reluctance to rein
in rising inflation and take steps advocated by international economists to
re-orientate its economy more towards domestic consumption.

"They [local officials] always supported fast-growth policies and opposed
reform efforts that might harm their interests," the contact said, adding,
"As a result, the proponents of "growth first" would always be in a stronger
position than those who favored controlling inflation or taking care of the
poor." The assessment also said that economic self-preservation was one of
the key reasons why China's leaders were so resistant to increased media
freedoms.

"Vested interests were especially inclined to oppose media openness, he [the
contact] said, lest someone question the shady deals behind land
transactions." China's reluctance to engage in political reform is to be
highlighted this week when Liu Xiaobo, the dissident author of the Charter
08 petition for greater rights in China, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
"in absentia" after being jailed in China for 11 years for challenging state
power.

The perception inside China that the country is run in the interests of a
Party elite is also growing, with an online poll last February by the
state-run China Daily finding that more than 90 per cent of Chinese believed
that the new rich had achieved their wealth through political connections.

The web of commercial interests also forces China's modern rulers to act by
consensus, with the current President Hu Jintao likened to the "Chairman of
the Board or CEO of a big corporation", juggling factional interests, unlike
the autocratic figures of Mao Tse-tung or Deng Xiaoping who could rule by
fiat.

The man tipped as China's next leader, Xi Jinping, was selected, not for his
leadership qualities but, the contact said, because he "maintained a
non-threatening low profile and had never made enemies" and could be relied
upon not to wage political vendettas through anti-corruption investigations.

"The central feature of leadership politics was the need to protect oneself
and one's family from attack after leaving office. Thus, current leaders
carefully cultivated proteges who would defend their interests once they
stepped down," the contact said.

In the past in-coming Chinese leaders have consolidated their position by
instituting crackdowns, with Jiang Zemin, the former president, shutting
down a number of businesses owned by the associates of his predecessor, Deng
Xiaoping, when he came to power in the early 1990s.

A similar process was observed in 2003 after Hu Jintao took office, with
several high-level figures in Jiang Zemin's Shanghai power-base facing
investigations and purges that analysts said were aimed at curtailing the
power and influence of the Jiang faction.

The contact also outlined the scornful factionalism that divided the scions
of the old 'red' families - those with revolutionary lineage whose fathers
and grandfathers fought to bring the Communists to power in 1949 - and those
who had risen up the Party ranks, so-called "shopkeepers".

China's current leaders, President Hu Jintao and prime minister Wen Jiabao,
both fall into the latter category, while the putative next leader,
57-year-old Xi Jinping, is the son of a revolutionary hero Xi Zhongxun and
often referred to as a 'princeling'.


The US embassy contact said that China's princelings felt they had a "right"
to the fruits of the revolution, recalling one family deriding those without
revolutionary pedigrees by saying: "While my father was bleeding and dying
for China, your father was selling shoelaces".

Related Articles

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The People's Daily Cites Me

Dear Readers, my life has reached a great milestone-- the People's Daily website has cited my work through an NDRC official. As you can see though, the official number and my number have converged in recent weeks. The official number used to be 6 trillion. It is now 7.38 trillion, which actually is a CICC number....

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90778/90862/6989145.html

Local govt. debt crisis unlikely: official
13:24, May 18, 2010

A Chinese local governments' debt crisis is unlikely to break out in China, but it is worth close attention, Xu Lin, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a forum Sunday.

Bank regulators and economists say they are increasing concerned that borrowing by local governments is fueling asset bubbles and may lead to a surge in bad debts at the nation’s banks. Local-government entities may have had 11.4 trillion yuan (US$1.7 trillion) in outstanding debt by the end of last year, according to estimates from Northwestern University Professor Victor Shih.

However, according to data from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, China’s outstanding loans to local governments’ financing platforms stood at 7.38 trillion yuan by the end of 2009, rising 70.4 percent year on year.

The risks posed by local government financing vehicles should not be exaggerated, government adviser Ba Shusong also wrote in the Shanghai-based Wenhui Bao last week.

Commercial banks in China are “very cautious” about lending to the investment arms of county-level governments who account for more than 70 percent of all such local authority entities, said Ba, who is deputy director-general of the Financial Research Institute at the State Council Development Research Center.

Very few local governments rely on land transfer income for more than 50 percent of their funding and most have many sources of income, he said.

Source: Shenzhen Daily

Comments:
Congrats!
 
Victor,

My condolences. I'm of the opinion that is always better to be off their radar, rather than on. Unless one unabashedly and publicly agrees with them on issues of importance to them, something I think your independent mind will not permit.

Sincerely,

Rich Kuslan, Editor
AsiaBizBlog
www.AsiaBizBlog.com
 
http://finance.sina.com.cn/roll/20100603/00023342751.shtml

有消息称,地方债务在短短几个月内,已经从4万亿飙升到7万亿。据有关专家分析,高达7万亿甚至更多的地方债务,可能会拖垮中国经济刚刚复苏的脚步。

  目前,以各种变相形式和地方政府融资平台形式发行的地方债没有纳入到地方预算,举债资金使用的预算约束不到位,透明度和规范性都不足,都容易酿成风险。

  国务院5月26日召开会议,部署加强地方政府融资平台的管理和处理融资平台公司的债务问题。

  2010年,随着地方政府投融资平台的数量和融资规模的飞速发展,地方政府投融资平台的负债规模也在急剧膨胀。大规模的投融资也给地方政府带来了居高不下的举债。

  “地方债”再次被推到舆论的风口浪尖上。

  不断飙升的中国式地方债

  近日,有消息称,地方债务在短短几个月内,已经从4万亿飙升到7万亿。据有关专家分析,高达7万亿甚至更多的地方债务,可能会拖垮中国经济刚刚复苏的脚步。

  中国银监会主席刘明康,在银监会召开的2010年第二次经济金融形势分析通报会议上介绍说,至2009年末,地方政府融资平台贷款余额为7.38万亿元,同比增长70.4%。占一般贷款余额的20.4%,全年新增贷款3.05万亿元,占全部新增一般贷款的34.5%。这离世界公认的警戒线60%已经很接近了。可见在2009年,为应对金融危机冲击,地方政府圈钱之猛。

  “地方债务的规模究竟有多大,实际上是一个非常难以准确回答的问题。”当被问及地方债务究竟有多少时,中央财经大学财政学院财政系主任、教授曾康华如此表述。

  来自银监会的统计数据显示:到去年5月末,全国各省、区、直辖市合计设立8221家投融资平台公司,其中县级平台高达4907家。而从地方平台公司贷款债务与地方政府财力对比看,债务率为97.8%,部分城市平台公司贷款债务率超过200%。

  有专家分析,地方债之所以在短时间内大幅度上涨的原因是:1994年分税制度的改革,一方面,客观上加强了中央政府的财力,削弱了地方政府的财力,而转移、支付制度又不完善,这也直接影响了地方政府的财力;另一方面,地方政府又要承担大量的公共事务支出。

  在这种情况下,导致了地方政府负债机制转换和体制改革的相对滞后,再加上地方可用财力不足产生的压力,使预算法禁止地方财政负债的“明规则”,被事实上的普遍负债这一“潜规则”强制替代,也催生了许多地方领导干部扭曲的负债观,即借债不怕还钱、自己借别人还、不还钱还能借到钱的错误逻辑,进一步助长了地方政府的盲目举债,从而在地方上催生了“前人借钱、后人还债”的奇怪现象,对于地方政府官员而言,“谁借的越多,谁在任期内的政绩就越大”,这种机制也让地方政府官员存在强烈的借债动力。

  一触即发的地方债危机

  2009年,中国国债余额大约为6.2万亿元,外债余额为3868亿美元,合计相当于2009年GDP的26%,按照国际标准,尚在安全范围之内。但是,近一年来积聚膨胀的地方政府债务,也会成为中国宏观经济运行中最大的风险因素之一。

  张君出任华南地区某市财政局下属投资管理公司的负责人。财政局给他的主要任务是对全市各政府机关的资产进行整理盘活。由于难度较大,张君接到这个差事后经常愁眉苦脸。

  但进入2009年,张君突然频频接到当地各大商业银行对公业务负责人的饭局邀请。更让他纳闷的是觥筹交错之间,往日高高在上的银行负责人都纷纷有意无意地探问张君有没有贷款需求,并破天荒地拍胸脯表示如果有需要一定全力满足。

  于是,张君迅速联系各大商业银行贷款,没想到是一路“绿灯”。从3月至5月注册资本金仅5000万元的该投资管理公司,从各大商业银行共获取了40亿元的贷款,张君一扫往日愁容,每日红光满面。

  相信彼时与张君同样开心的还有全国各省、市、县数千家投资管理公司的负责人。

  央行调研结果显示,截至2009年5月末地方政府的3800多家投融资平台总资产近9万亿元,负债升至5.26万亿元,平均资产负债率约为60%。5.26万亿元的负债相当于去年全国GDP的15.7%,全国财政收入的76.8%,地方本级财政收入的161.35%。

  “目前,以各种变相形式和地方政府融资平台形式发行的地方债没有纳入到地方预算,举债资金使用的预算约束不到位,透明度和规范性都不足,都容易酿成风险。”财政部财政科学研究所综合政策研究室副主任刘军民说。

  另有,中金公司研究报告进一步显示,2009年净新增负债约3万亿元,预计2010年和2011年后续贷款约为2万至3万亿元,2011年底约达到10万亿元。也就是说,很多地方政府的负债额将远远超过本级财政收入,会面临巨大风险。

  体制改革是绕不开的话题

  当下,中央和地方财政分配关系既不合理,又不稳定,并非什么秘密,这也成为地方债台高筑的原因之一。

  1994年分税制改革后,国家税收收入的相当部分归入中央财政,尽管现行的《预算法》等有关法律,严格禁止地方财政出现赤字和地方政府举债,但事实上,各级地方政府大都在不同程度上扩大赤字,举债度日或负债运行,事实证明,这些债务也大多处于隐性状态。

  所以,地方政府搞发展是大计,欠债还钱也是大事。改变地方政府经济发展的体制性障碍才是治本之计。
 
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Premier Wen's Essay on Hu Yaobang

As many of you know, Premier Wen Jiabao recently penned a very emotional essay remembering former Party Secretary General Hu Yaobang. To be sure, it was published on the 21st anniversary of his death, but there are some very unusual elements of this essay. I attach the full text below for readers' own analysis. Needless to say, the China studies community has been in an uproar about this essay. Below, I present my own take of this essay; comments welcomed!

To be sure, Wen shows no hesitation to display affection publicly, but if his feelings were "sincere," why didn't he write such an article last year? Also, like many, I find the last paragraph especially strange. Isn't reminiscing Hu's greatness enough? Why also tell readers that he continues to visit Hu's widow every year? I read that as a credible signal to all Hu YB sympathizers which side Wen stands on.

Now, the question is why send such a signal. To be sure, Hu Yaobang has been making a come-back in the official press. the last time that Hu was praised by a Politburo Standing Committee member was Zeng Qinghong's speech in 2005. If you read the text of the Zeng Qinghong's 2005 speech on HYB (which I also append below), it reads like a detailed official biography of Hu with some usual pleasantry about "great Marxist"...etc at the end. The Wen piece clearly appears to be the most "heart-felt." Again, the issue is why the need to send such an emotional signal.

One possibility is that Hu Jintao is trying to send a strong signal of the CYL's power in the run-up to the 18th Party Congress. But if that were the case, why not just write such an article himself. I am sure Hu can conjure up many emotional anecdotes of his former mentor.

Finally, we come to the hypothesis that Wen Jiabao himself is in deep trouble and may be under threat of being removed. I find this possibility the most reasonable. In essence, Wen may feel that he is under direct threat of being removed or may implement a policy which puts him in danger of being removed. As either a last ditch effort or an insurance policy, he writes this article to rally HYB sympathizers on his side in case his enemies move to remove him from power. In particular, I was struck by the paragraph on Hu YB's insistence of working despite
being ill. We know of course that "illness" has historically been used to sideline or remove top officials in China (Chen Yun, Li Peng...etc.). It seems that Wen is saying through that passage that "as a loyal student of HYB, I would never let illness stop me, so you shouldn't believe people if they say I am stepping down due to illness." All this may be related to the possible implementation of the property tax, which may indeed place Wen under the threat of removal by powerful interests.

温家宝在人民日报发表文章纪念胡耀邦
http://www.sina.com.cn 2010年04月15日05:24 人民网-人民日报

  温家宝:再回兴义忆耀邦

  前些天,我到贵州黔西南察看旱情。走在这片土地上,望着这里的山山水水,我情不自禁地想起24年前随耀邦同志在这里考察调研的情形,尤其是他在兴义派我夜访农户的往事。每念及此,眼前便不断浮现出耀邦同志诚挚坦荡、平易近人的音容笑貌,胸中那积蓄多年的怀念之情如潮水般起伏涌动,久久难以平复。

  1986年年初,耀邦同志决定利用春节前后半个月时间,率领由中央机关27个部门的30名干部组成的考察访问组,前往贵州、云南、广西的一些贫困地区调研,看望慰问各族干部群众。耀邦同志想以此举做表率,推动中央机关干部深入基层,加强调查研究,密切联系群众。

  当时,我刚调任中央办公厅副主任不久,耀邦同志让我具体负责组织这次考察访问工作。2月4日上午,耀邦同志带领考察访问组全体成员从北京出发,前往贵州安顺。由于安顺大雾,飞机临时改降贵阳。当天下午,耀邦同志又换乘面包车奔波4个多小时赶到安顺。晚饭后,耀邦同志召开会议,把考察访问组人员分成三路,分头前往云南文山、广西河池和贵州毕节地区。

  第二天清晨,耀邦同志带着我和中央办公厅几位同事从安顺出发,乘坐面包车,沿着曲折的山路在黔、滇、桂交界处的崇山峻岭中穿行。耀邦同志尽管已年过七旬,但每天都争分夺秒地工作。他边走边调研,甚至把吃饭的时间都用上,每天很晚休息。离开安顺后的几天里,耀邦同志先后听取贵州镇宁、关岭、晴隆、普安、盘县和云南富源、师宗、罗平县的汇报,沿途不断与各族群众交流,了解他们的生产生活情况。他还在罗平县长底乡与苗族、布依族、彝族、汉族群众跳起《民族大团结》舞。2月7日傍晚,耀邦同志风尘仆仆赶到黔西南州首府兴义市,入住在州府低矮破旧的招待所。

  时已立春,兴义早晚的天气仍然阴冷潮湿。由于没有暖气,房间里冷冰冰的。我们临时找来3个小暖风机放在耀邦同志的房间,室温也只有摄氏12度左右。经过几天马不停蹄地奔波调研,耀邦同志显得有些疲惫。我劝他晚上好好休息一下,但他仍坚持当晚和黔西南州各族干部群众代表见面。

  晚饭前,耀邦同志把我叫去:“家宝,给你一个任务,等一会带上几个同志到城外的村子里走走,做些调查研究。记住,不要和地方打招呼。”

  到中央办公厅工作之前,我就听说耀邦同志下乡时,经常临时改变行程,与群众直接交流,了解基层真实情况。用他常说的话就是,“看看你们没有准备的地方”。所以,当耀邦同志给我布置这个任务时,我心里明白:他是想尽可能地多了解基层的真实情况。

  天黑后,我带着中央办公厅的几位同志悄悄离开招待所向郊外走去。那时,兴义城区只有一条叫盘江路的大路。路旁的房子比较低矮,路灯昏暗,街道冷清。我们沿着盘江路向东走了10多分钟就到了郊外。这里到处是农田,四周一片漆黑,分不清东南西北。看见不远处,影影绰绰有几处灯光,我们便深一脚浅一脚摸了过去。到近处一看,果然是个小村子。进村后,我们访问了几户农家。黑灯瞎火的夜晚,纯朴的村民们见到几个外地人感到有些意外,但当知道我们来意后,很热情地招呼我们。

  晚上十点多,我们赶回招待所。我走进耀邦同志的房间,只见他坐在一把竹椅上正在等我。我向他一五一十地汇报了走访农户时了解到的有关情况。耀邦同志认真地听着,还不时问上几句。他对我说,领导干部一定要亲自下基层调查研究,体察群众疾苦,倾听群众呼声,掌握第一手材料。对担负领导工作的人来说,最大的危险就是脱离实际。多年来,耀邦同志这几句语重心长的话经常在我耳旁回响。

  2月8日是农历大年三十。耀邦同志一大早来到黔西南民族师范专科学校,向各族教师拜年并和他们座谈。接着,他又兴致勃勃地赶到布依族山寨乌拉村看望农民,并到布依族农民黄维刚家做客。黄维刚按照布依族接待贵客的习俗,把一个炖熟的鸡头夹放在耀邦同志的碗里。就这样,耀邦同志和黄维刚全家有说有笑地吃了顿团圆年饭。

  随后,耀邦同志又乘汽车沿山路行驶一百多公里,赶到黔桂交界处的天生桥水电站工地,向春节期间坚持施工的建设者们致以节日的问候。当晚,耀邦同志在武警水电建设部队招待所一间简陋的平房中住下。不久,他开始发烧,体温升到38.7度。事实上,从午后开始,耀邦同志就感到身体不适。不过,他依旧情绪饱满地参加各项活动。

  除夕之夜,辞旧迎新的鞭炮在四周响个不停,但大家没有心思过年。我和耀邦同志身边的工作人员一直守候着他。2月9日,初一早晨,耀邦同志的体温达到39度。这里远离昆明、贵阳、南宁等大城市,附近又没有医院,大家都很着急。好在经过随行医生的治疗,耀邦同志到晚上开始退烧,大家的心才放了下来。

  2月10日上午,身体稍稍恢复的耀邦同志不顾大家的劝阻,坚持前往广西百色。经过320多公里的山路颠簸,耀邦同志于晚上6点多到了百色。在百色期间,耀邦同志带着我们参观了中国工农红军第七军旧址,并与百色地区8个县的县委书记座谈。2月11日晚,我们赶到南宁。随后两天,耀邦同志在南宁进行短暂的休整。我根据耀邦同志的要求,又带着几个同志到南宁市郊区就农业生产、水牛养殖、农产品市场等问题进行调研。每次回到住地,他总是等着听我的汇报。 14日和15日,耀邦同志经钦州前往北海市,先后考察了北海港和防城港的港口建设。2月16日,耀邦同志又折回南宁,与三路考察访问组人员会合。接着,他用两天半的时间听取了考察访问组和云南、广西、贵州的汇报。

  2月19日下午,耀邦同志根据自己13天沿途调查的思考并结合有关汇报,在干部大会上作了即席讲话。他特别强调,中央和省级领导干部要经常到群众中去,到基层去,进行调查研究,考察访问,密切上级与下级、领导机关同广大人民群众之间的联系。这样,不仅可以形成一种好的风气,产生巨大的精神力量,更重要的是有助于实现正确的领导,减少领导工作的失误,提高干部的素质,促进干部特别是年轻干部健康成长。

  1986年2月20日下午,耀邦同志率领考察访问组回到北京,结束了历时半个多月的西南贫困地区之行……

  时光飞逝。耀邦同志当年带领我们在西南考察时的情形历历在目,仿佛就在昨天。今年4月3日,当我再次来到兴义市时,简直不敢相信自己的眼睛:原先低矮落后的小城已发展成为一个高楼林立的现代化城市,兴义城区现在的面积比1986年拓展了4倍多,城区人口增长近3倍。

  睹物思人,触景生情。耀邦同志派我夜访的情景又在眼前,一股旧地重寻的念头十分强烈。当天晚饭后,我悄悄带了几个随行的同志离开驻地,想去寻找那个多年前夜访过的村庄。灯火辉煌的盘江路上,商铺林立,十分热闹。原先那个村庄早已不在,取而代之的是一幢幢拔地而起的高楼。我坚持要再夜访一个村庄,仍然只带随行的几个工作人员来到郊外。在远处几片灯光引领下,我们走进永兴村,敲开农户雷朝志的家门,和他及他的邻居们聊了起来……

  耀邦同志离开我们21年了。如今,可以告慰耀邦同志的是,他一直牵挂的我国西南贫困地区发生了翻天覆地的变化,他竭尽毕生精力为之奋斗的国家正沿着中国特色社会主义道路阔步前行。

  1985年10月,我调到中央办公厅工作后,曾在耀邦同志身边工作近两年。我亲身感受着耀邦同志密切联系群众、关心群众疾苦的优良作风和大公无私、光明磊落的高尚品德,亲眼目睹他为了党的事业和人民的利益,夜以继日地全身心投入工作中的忘我情景。当年他的谆谆教诲我铭记在心,他的言传身教使我不敢稍有懈怠。他的行事风格对我后来的工作、学习和生活都带来很大的影响。1987年1月,耀邦同志不再担任中央主要领导职务后,我经常到他家中去看望。 1989年4月8日上午,耀邦同志发病抢救时,我一直守护在他身边。4月15日,他猝然去世后,我第一时间赶到医院。1990年12月5日,我送他的骨灰盒到江西共青城安葬。耀邦同志去世后,我每年春节都到他家中看望,总是深情地望着他家客厅悬挂的耀邦同志画像。他远望的目光,坚毅的神情总是给我力量,给我激励,使我更加勤奋工作,为人民服务。

  再回兴义,抚今追昔,追忆耀邦。我写下这篇文章,以寄托我对他深深的怀念。



在纪念胡耀邦同志诞辰90周年座谈会上的讲话(2005年11月18日)
曾庆红 (2005.11.19)
  在纪念胡耀邦同志诞辰90周年座谈会上的讲话
  (2005年11月18日)同志们,朋友们:
今天,我们怀着崇敬的心情在这里举行座谈会,纪念胡耀邦同志诞辰90周年,缅怀他为民族独立、人民解放和国家富强、人民幸福建立的历史功勋,学习他伟大的革命精神和崇高的品德风范,更好地把中国特色社会主义事业推向前进。
胡耀邦同志是久经考验的忠诚的共产主义战士,伟大的无产阶级革命家、政治家,我军杰出的政治工作者,长期担任党的重要领导职务的卓越领导人。他在长达60年的革命生涯中,为中国人民的解放和幸福,为我国社会主义事业的发展和繁荣,为改革开放的实行和社会主义现代化建设的推进,呕心沥血、奋斗不息,贡献了毕生精力,建立了不朽功勋。他的历史功绩和优秀品德永远铭记在党和人民心中。
胡耀邦同志从青少年时期就投身新民主主义革命。1915年11月20日,胡耀邦同志出生在湖南省浏阳县一个贫苦的农民家庭。1929年冬,胡耀邦同志加入中国共产主义青年团,在党领导下开始从事青少年工作。1933年9月,他转为中国共产党党员。在革命斗争的实践中,他树立起坚定的共产主义信念,为革命根据地团的建设做了大量工作。1934年,胡耀邦同志随中央红军参加二万五千里长征,经受了各种艰难困苦的考验,磨炼了革命意志。到达陕北后,他先后任少共中央局秘书长、组织部长、宣传部长,为党的青年工作贡献了力量。1937年5月,胡耀邦同志到延安抗日军政大学学习,并先后任校政治部副主任、瓦窑堡一大队政委。1939年,他任中央军委总政治部组织部副部长、部长。在坚持抗战的过程中,他为加强人民军队的政治思想建设和组织建设作出了重要贡献。解放战争时期,胡耀邦同志先后任冀热辽军区代理政治部主任,晋察冀军区四纵队、三纵队政委,十八兵团政治部主任,转战华北和西北,参加领导了大同、张家口、石家庄、太原、宝鸡战役等,为中国人民抗日战争和解放战争的胜利发挥了重要作用。
新中国成立后,胡耀邦同志致力于推动社会主义革命和建设事业。1949年冬,他率部进军大西南,任中共川北区委书记、行署主任、军区政委,领导人民群众进行土地改革,开展剿匪反霸斗争,稳定社会秩序,迅速恢复和发展了工农业生产。1952年后,胡耀邦同志先后任团中央书记处书记、第一书记。在主持团中央工作期间,他创造性地执行党中央的指示,围绕党的中心工作组织富有青年特色的活动,注重在实践中用共产主义思想教育团员青年,在全团倡导“朝气蓬勃,实事求是”的作风,团结带领团员青年积极参加社会主义建设,使团的工作和青少年事业得到巨大的发展,充分发挥了共青团作为党的助手和后备军的重要作用。1956年,他在党的八大上当选为中央委员。1962年,胡耀邦同志兼任中共湖南省委书记处书记兼湘潭地委第一书记。1964年11月起,他兼任中共中央西北局第二书记和陕西省委第一书记。在地方工作中,他深入实际,调查研究,实事求是,反对浮夸,关心群众,扎实工作,推进了当地经济建设和各项事业的发展。
“文化大革命”期间,胡耀邦同志遭受严重迫害,但他不顾个人的荣辱安危,同林彪、江青反革命集团进行了坚决斗争。1975年,他在担任中国科学院党组织领导时,认真贯彻邓小平同志提出的全面整顿的方针,领导起草了《关于科技工作的几个问题》的汇报提纲,实事求是地反映科技战线的实际情况,努力消除“文化大革命”给科技工作造成的不良影响。
粉碎江青反革命集团后,胡耀邦同志于1977年3月任中共中央党校副校长,8月在党的十一大上当选为中央委员,12月任中共中央组织部部长。1978年12月,他在党的十一届三中全会上当选为中央政治局委员、中央纪律检查委员会第三书记,随后任中共中央秘书长兼中央宣传部部长。1980年2月,他在党的十一届五中全会上当选为中央政治局常委、中央委员会总书记。1981年6月,他在党的十一届六中全会上当选为中央委员会主席。1982年9月,他在党的十二届一中全会上当选为中央政治局委员、中央政治局常委、中央委员会总书记。1987年11月,他在党的十三届一中全会上当选为中央政治局委员。胡耀邦同志在担任党的主要领导职务期间,积极参与制定和贯彻以邓小平同志为核心的党的第二代中央领导集体的重大决策和战略部署,为坚持党的十一届三中全会以来的路线方针政策,为推动改革开放和社会主义现代化建设,为推进中国特色社会主义事业,作出了多方面的重大贡献。
他坚持党的解放思想、实事求是的思想路线,组织和推动了关于真理标准的讨论。在邓小平同志等老一辈无产阶级革命家领导和支持下开展的这场思想解放运动,冲破“两个凡是”的严重束缚,为党的十一届三中全会重新确立党的马克思主义思想路线作了重要的理论准备,成为拨乱反正和改革开放的思想先导,对党和国家的历史进程产生了深远的影响。
他坚持党的干部路线,坚持实事求是、有错必纠,组织和领导了平反冤假错案、落实干部政策的大量工作。他顺应人民群众的意愿和要求,以非凡的胆略和勇气,组织有关部门开展艰苦细致的工作,使一大批遭受冤屈和迫害的老一辈革命家、干部、知识分子和人民群众得以平反昭雪、恢复名誉,受到广大干部群众高度赞誉。
他坚决拥护党和国家工作重点的转移,大力推进改革开放和社会主义现代化建设。他在党的十二大上代表中央所作的题为《全面开创社会主义现代化建设的新局面》的报告,鲜明地提出了党在新时期的重大历史任务。他主持和参与主持制定了包括《中共中央关于经济体制改革的决定》在内的一系列关于农村改革、城市改革、对外开放的重要文件,努力探索党和国家领导体制的改革,为推进改革开放进程倾注了大量心血。他十分关心欠发达地区的建设事业,经常深入老少边穷地区,同当地干部群众共商脱贫致富大计,促进这些地区的开发开放。
他坚持党的尊重知识、尊重人才的方针,注意发挥知识分子在现代化建设中的重要作用。他先后主持制定了《中共中央关于教育体制改革的决定》和《中共中央关于社会主义精神文明建设指导方针的决议》,推动科技、教育、文艺、新闻工作出现了蓬勃发展的局面。他热情鼓励年轻知识分子到基层去,到群众中去,到现代化建设的实践中去,经受锻炼,健康成长。
他坚持贯彻党的统一战线工作的方针政策,着眼于调动各方面的积极因素,积极推进党的统一战线工作和民族工作、宗教工作。他为坚持和完善中国共产党领导的多党合作和政治协商制度,加强中国共产党同各民主党派和无党派人士的合作,建立肝胆相照、荣辱与共的关系,为推动民族地区经济社会发展,做了大量富有成效的工作。
他坚持推动新形势下党的建设,为加强和改善党的领导做了大量工作。他在纪念马克思逝世100周年大会上作的题为《马克思主义伟大真理的光芒照耀我们前进》的报告,充分表达了我们党在新的历史条件下坚持和发展马克思主义的坚定信念。他参与主持制定《关于党内政治生活的若干准则》,强调要发扬党的优良传统和作风,维护党的民主集中制,严明党的纪律,发展党内民主。他坚持党的干部队伍“四化”方针,大力推进各级领导班子建设和干部人事制度改革,满腔热情地关怀和培养优秀年轻干部。
他坚定不移地与不正之风和腐败现象作斗争,号召各级领导干部和中央机关在端正党风方面发挥表率作用。
他坚持党的外交方针政策,积极推动新时期我国对外交往工作开创新局面。他根据邓小平同志的思想,明确提出处理党际关系的四项原则,为恢复和发展我们党同外国一些政党的关系,为增进中国人民同世界各国人民的相互了解和友谊,为新时期我国对外政策的制定和实施,发挥了积极作用。
胡耀邦同志把自己的毕生精力献给了党和人民的事业。作为马克思主义者,他的一生是光辉的。我们纪念胡耀邦同志诞辰90周年,就是要学习他伟大的革命精神和高尚的思想品德,把中国特色社会主义事业继续推向前进。
我们要学习胡耀邦同志忠于党的事业、鞠躬尽瘁的献身精神。胡耀邦同志具有强烈的革命事业心和政治责任感,具有忘我工作的热情和勇往直前的干劲,始终不知疲倦地为党和人民贡献自己的智慧和力量,为我们树立了共产党人始终为中国特色社会主义事业和共产主义理想不懈奋斗的榜样。
我们要学习胡耀邦同志锐意改革、勇于创新的思想境界。胡耀邦同志长期孜孜不倦地学习和研究马克思主义、毛泽东思想、邓小平理论,坚持理论联系实际,勤于思考和研究各种现实课题,提出了许多重要主张和建议,同时博览群书,追求新知,不断丰富知识、增长才干,为我们树立了共产党人始终保持进取精神的榜样。
我们要学习胡耀邦同志密切联系群众、关心群众疾苦的优良作风。胡耀邦同志作风民主,平易近人,经常深入基层,广交朋友,加强同人民群众包括知识界和党外朋友的直接联系和坦诚交流,了解他们的愿望和要求,亲自阅处大量群众来信,千方百计为人民群众排忧解难,为我们树立了共产党人始终实践全心全意为人民服务宗旨的榜样。
我们要学习胡耀邦同志顾全大局、光明磊落的高尚品德。胡耀邦同志胸怀坦荡,按党的原则办事,敢于讲真话、讲实话,勇于开展批评和自我批评,以身作则,廉洁奉公,严于律己,宽以待人,坚决维护党和人民的利益,为我们树立了共产党人始终以党和人民的利益为重的榜样。
当前,我国正处在全面建设小康社会、加快推进社会主义现代化的关键时期。紧紧抓住和切实用好重要战略机遇期,不断开创中国特色社会主义事业新局面,是我们肩负的重大历史责任。我们要始终坚持以马克思列宁主义、毛泽东思想、邓小平理论和“三个代表”重要思想为指导,坚持党的基本路线、基本纲领、基本经验,坚持用科学发展观统领经济社会发展全局,切实抓好发展这个党执政兴国的第一要务,聚精会神搞建设,一心一意谋发展,积极推动社会主义经济建设、政治建设、文化建设、社会建设全面发展。我们要高举和平、发展、合作的旗帜,坚持独立自主的和平外交政策,坚持走和平发展道路,坚持对外开放的基本国策,努力促进同世界各国的友好交往和互利合作,共同推进人类和平与发展的崇高事业。我们要大力加强党的执政能力建设和先进性建设,深入开展党风廉政建设和反腐败斗争,不断提高党的创造力、凝聚力、战斗力,使党始终成为建设中国特色社会主义的坚强领导核心。
同志们,让我们更加紧密地团结在以胡锦涛同志为总书记的党中央周围,全面贯彻党的十六大和十六届三中、四中、五中全会精神,求真务实,锐意进取,扎实工作,为推动全面建设小康社会进程、实现中华民族的伟大复兴而努力奋斗!(新华社北京11月18日电)

Comments:
Prof. Shih, some observations from Chinese political tradition's perspective:

1. Wen is notorious for his emotional style of political performance, particularly public appearance and writing. So it's not unusual for him to go emotional in such article. It may be the case that he carries much emotion in the article of HYB, given their past connections, but such conclusion can not be drawn based on his rhetoric in this article.

2. The reason Wen didn't write it last year was clear, a reminiscence of HYB in the 20th anniversary of Tian'anmen Square naturally leads to a reminiscence of all things happened following HYB's death that year. It'd be a political disaster and earthquake to publish that in 2009, unless Wen has a more aggressive agenda.

3. HYB's stature in CCP's history is unique. He has always been officially recognized as "Leader of the Party and Nation", and the official treatment he received posthumously is at a reasonable level. No political committee member in recent terms has publicly criticized HYB. In CCP's perspective, HYB is completely different with Zhao Ziyang, and there'll be no political asset for any leader to deny HYB. Hence, no one actually stands against HYB, So Wen's benefit from signaling his stance is actually limited, if any.

4. If we take a look at the Chinese political tradition in remembering leaders, Zeng Qinghong's appearance in 2005 is actually the most meaningful inroad. CCP tends to remeber high leader's birth at the beginning point of each decennium,i.e. 80,90,100 anniversary. And HYB didn't get such one in 1995, his 80 anniversary, which is understandable given the atmosphere then, the 2005 then become crucial in evaluating CCP's attitude toward HYB. ZQH's appearance, as the Standing member in charge of party affairs, carries great weight. In terms of his speech then, it's a standard-written one in typical CCP leader memorial style. ZQH's speech and WJB's article is two form of expression, with the former disallows personal emotion, and actually reflects the authority's appreciation of HYB, rather than ZQH's personal idea. WJB's essay is a personal article, not for official occasion, and given his lavish and emotional style, comes as no surprise.

5. It's possible that this article is intended to push CYL's power before 18th congress. But one notable fact in CCP politics tradition is that party boss rarely publish personal authored pieced on People's Daily. I find no record of HJT, even JZM publishing articles of this style on People's Daily ever. (except political documents, such as new year speech, party congress report). Interestingly in contrast, Wen has utilized People's Daily in remarkable frequency to publish personal-authored articles similar to this HYB one. That's also one thing worth examination, on different political communication strategies different leaders choose. So even HJT wish to write such articles, it's not consistent with his style. And I wonder whether WJB is closely-allies with HJT enough to make push for CYL. WJB is never considered as a part of CYL, and is not expected to be a staunch supporter of this bloc.

6. Removal of PM is of greatest significance in China, the only time when PM was unusually removed was in 1980, associated with major political reshuffle then. There's extremely slim possibility that Wen even foresees a potential forebode of risk of removal. With his term to expire within 3 years, it's so hard to imagine that Wen is at risk of removal, and if he's in that dangerous situation, I don't think he'll still be capable of getting this article published.
 
I always appreciate your analysis, Prof Shih, but I do wonder a bit about this kind of reading.

If you - a scholar who's dedicated himself to reading the runes - and all the other political analysts can't read clearly what the "signal" being sent here is, then why do we believe that party cadres (not always intellectual giants) are able to decode them? This idea of treating Party publications as code breaks down if no-one can actually understand the code.

I liked the essay a lot - I'm a bit of a Wen fan, despite the emetic Uncle Wen stuff. Until someone comes up with a better reason, I'm going to take his essay at face value.
 
No way I know way way less than central committee members
 
Another notice,

Wen omitted one notable fact that, when HYB and Wen paid visit to Xingyi, Guizhou Province in 1986, HJT happened to be the party boss there. Accordingly, HJT must be present during HYB and Wen's visit. Interesting to see this historical dynamic not cited in Wen's article.
 
I really don't think that the HYB piece was a move by Wen to bolster support for himself. Agree with earlier comments that there is almost no chance he leaves before the transition. In China the safest road is almost always to err towards the politically conservative left. If Wen sensed he was in a tepid political position why would he add additional risk by penning this essay? It doesn't make sense at all to me.

My theory is that Wen is trying to bolster support for planned policy changes. Hu Yaobang is well-known to be a proponent of reform and of the youth/student demographic. The Hu/Wen administration is currently considering some difficult economic reforms (I agree, property tax is one, but only one of these) and meanwhile the problems of the unemployed recent college demographic are not going anywhere quickly. So rekindling the memories of HYB's effective governance style (which is a major focus of the piece), and promising to emulate these lessons, seems to be a way to lay the groundwork for how the leadership is going to get through a tough couple of years before 2012.
 
I'll come back on your reply there.
First, modesty is always attractive; but modesty should not blind you to reality. You may not be as "in the loop" as the very highest in Beijing, but you know an awful lot about Party factionalism. More than most Party members.

Second, you seem to be confusing two groups of people here. If Wen had a message for the central committee members, he would talk to them. They're all right there in Beijing. He can get in a room and say what he wants to say.

The purpose of publishing an article would surely be one of two things: (a) a way of talking to the much broader Party membership (and they really aren't in the loop; there's no reason to assume they can "crack the code"); or (b) a public statement which serves some kind of purpose analogous to your "nauseating displays of loyalty". Obviously not the same, as Wen's at the top.

If it's (a), then the article needs to be decodeable by a large proportion of the Party. Your difficulty in reading suggests that it isn't.

If it's (b), then we need to ponder what the value of such a display would be, given that it can't be expression of loyalty to a faction. I haven't seen a good explanation of what it might be.

So I'm left with (c): it's just an article that Wen wanted to write, and enough people decided that with HYB dead 20 years, it wouldn't be too dangerous now.
 
I think this article by Wu Zhong at Asia Times is the best out there on the subject. Basically makes the argument that Wen wants to correct the historical record before he leaves office.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LD21Ad02.html
 
Whatever his motives, Premier Wen is apparently carrying on with his one-man campaign against the system. Any comment Professor Shih about his visit to Beijing University?
 
Any comment also on Yu Keping's article on Hu Yaobang in Study Times that appeared shortly after Wen's?
 
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Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Reply to my Critics on Local Debt

Victor Shih

Since the publication of my editorial in the Asian Wall Street Journal on local debt, there has been a wave of interest on this issue. Several investment banks have issued reports on local debt, and some of them have disputed my main finding that current local government investment vehicle debt stands at around 11.4 trillion RMB. The World Bank likewise addressed this issue and came up with a much lower estimate on local investment company (LIC) debt. In the discussion below, I outline some reasons why I still adhere to my estimate that existing local investment vehicle debt stands at around 11 trillion RMB. Furthermore, I once again reiterate that local debt is a serious problem which will require decisive actions from the Chinese government.

Some points people have raised about my estimate of local debt:
1. The Chinese government claims that there is only 6 trillion RMB in local investment vehicle debt.
My response: A. This widely cited figure was produced by a 6/2009 CBRC survey of the situation. The exact methodology is unclear, but informants state that the CBRC extrapolated this amount on the basis of a partial study of a few provinces.
B. Other government agencies have provided conflicting and higher amounts. For example, a MOF research team uncovered "well over 4 trillion" in late 2008 (excellent Credit Swiss research even states that the 4 trillion was a YE 2007 figure).
C. The CBRC finding concerns only bank loans, but total debt should also include bond issuance and accounts payable, which constitute triangular debt.
D. if we sum the gross debt of just the top 50 or so LICs, we quickly arrive at gross debt of over 2 trillion (try adding the gross debt of Guangdong Highway, Guangdong Transportation Group, Chongqing Highway, Beijing Basic Construction, Shanghai Urban Construction and Development Company, Shanghai Pudong Development Co., Tianjin Urban Basic Infrastructure, Binhai Development...etc.), so the remaining 8000 or so entities only owe 4 trillion (on average 500 mln RMB each)?

2. The 11.4 trillion is too high when compared with total bank loans in various categories.
My response: A. First of all, total loans outstanding at the end of 2009 was well over 40 trillion RMB, and I think it is completely reasonable to believe that nearly 1/4 of it was loans to LICs. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised that a higher share of bank loans ended up in LICs.
B. Some analysts have trouble believing that such a high share of medium and long-term loans ended up in LICs. When we consider how many LICs there are and the vital role they play in the local economic strategy, it is not surprising that likely as much as 3/4 of new medium and long term loans in 2009 ended up in LICs.
C. Beyond medium and long term loans, many LICs are holding companies with subsidiaries engaged in a wide range of businesses. For example, the LICs run thousands of hotels across China, and loans to these hotels would be classified as loans to the service industry. Thus, in addition to medium and long term loans and loans to infrastructure, it is perfectly reasonable for a sizable share of working capital loans, trust loans, and loans in the "other" category to end up in LICs. Again, gross debt of these entities would also include bond issuance and debt owed to each other.

3. LIC debt can be calculated by subtracting government spending on basic infrastructure from the total infrastructure spending figure. In that light, LIC debt only increased by 2.8 trillion RMB in 2009.
My response:
A. First, as pointed out, LIC are diversified holding companies which do not only engage in infrastructure construction. For example, thousands of subsidiaries of local investment companies engage in real estate development and absorb some share of the real estate loans. The figure generated using the method above, however, may be meaningful one-day when the government decides how much of the existing LIC debt it will seek to take over as part of a bail out.
B. The calculation above assumes that much of the extrabudgetary revenue from local governments derived from land sales went to infrastructure construction. According to excellent research done by Standard Chartered and UBS on land sales, much of the land sales revenue is spent on compensating original residents, leaving only a minority share for actual investment. Thus, a realistic application of this methodology would lead to something like 3.5 trillion RMB in new loans to LICs, not just 2.8 trillion.

4. My estimate of 12.7 trillion in future LIC debt is baseless and is way too high for YE 2011.
My response:
A. To be sure, I now think most of this debt will not realize by YE 2011 also. However, it would not be far-fetched to think that most of this debt will be realize by YE 2012. This estimate is not "baseless" as it comes from the hundreds of lines of credit that banks have granted to local governments. As long as banks more or less adhere to these lines of credit, they will lend this amount to local governments at some point in the future.
B. Although the State Council has called for more caution in lending to local investment vehicles, we still see local governments aggressively trying to raise money from the banks. Hubei, for example, has an investment plan worth 12 trillion RMB, and plans on investing 6 trillion RMB between now and 2012 (please see http://nf.nfdaily.cn/epaper/21cn/content/20100324/ArticelJ07002FM.htm). Of the 6 trillion, at least 3 trillion will come from bank loans and other forms of debt. If Hubei is able to realize its ambition, we are already 1/4 of the way toward my 12.7 trillion estimate. Thus, unless the central government harshly restricts overall credit, I think local governments at the provincial and municipal levels will have no trouble borrowing an additional 12.7 trillion by YE 2011 or 2012.

Beyond critizing my estimate, some investment bank reports also argue that whatever the debt amount, the Chinese government is fully capable of addressing this issue and in heading off a financial crisis. On this point, I mainly agree with my colleagues, but I still don't think the problem is trivial, especially in light that local governments seem determined to take on trillions in additional debt in the coming two years to finance ambitious investment plans. My main worry is that unless Beijing decisively restricts local investment projects, local investment companies will continue to borrow in large quantities in the coming two years.

Even relatively bullish investment bank report suggests that new non-performing loans in the banks can increase by 2-3 trillion RMB in the next couple of years. To be sure, this is well within the government's ability to handle and likely will not lead to any kind of financial crisis. However, this remains a daunting problem for the government and for current shareholders of China's banking stocks. This will require the China Investment Corporation to inject tens of billions of dollars into banks through Huijin. Additional asset management companies will have to be formed to take over the NPLs. This is a lengthy and difficult process involving numerous ministries and interests, which is expected to generate a great deal of uncertainty. If the expectation indeed is a couple of trillions in NPLs, it deserves careful watching rather than dismissal.

Finally, some investment bank reports suggest that the enormous sum of state assets must be considered along side of the debt. If debt ever becomes a problem, the Chinese government can always sell state assets to repay the debt. Here, I am in complete agreement with my colleagues. It will be a great day when the Chinese government decides to privatize trillions in state assets to raise money to repay local debt. The record of the Chinese government in privatization, however, is spotty at best. Even in the late 1990s, when the fiscal shape of the central government was at its weakest, only small SOEs were privatized, often through murky processes to insiders. Since then, both the central and local governments have done their utmost to maintain the dominance of large state-owned corporations through protectionism and subsidies from both the budget and the financial system. Instead of privatizing these firms and allowing them to compete on equal footings with private and foreign firms, they are given every advantage so that they can dominate the domestic and even the global markets. The financial system in particular channels the bulk of its resources to the state sector. Unfortunately, it does not seem privatization is anywhere near on the horizon. Instead, we can expect trillions more being poured into state entities, including local investment companies, in the foreseeable future.

Comments:
Man alive, China too? Is there a country out there that is NOT in debt? Awesome stats, I know whom I sit under if directed to take classes on Chinese politics!
 
小史,

Thank you for enumerating the responses to your critics. The sheer volume suggests your research has made quite an impact on popular thinking.

You seem to invoke investment banks and their research quite frequently. While it is gracious of you to give their views air time, I think you can afford to be less conciliatory. Some of us who have published "research" on China at an investment bank (at least since 改革开放 took hold) would not take those reports' conclusions as seriously as you seem to.

As in many other circumstances, the road between the data and their interpretation is filled with unscientific potholes. No employee can afford to be critical of Chinese policy without somehow softening their conclusion and/or using the findings in a normative prescription for how the central government should do the "right" thing. As a recent example, take Citi chief economist Willem Buiter, he of the former Maverecon blog, in his March 24 note "Is China Blowing Bubbles?":

"Even if a large fraction of the loans made during 2009 as part of the government-mandated bank lending boost were to go bad eventually, this does not mean that the policy itself was misconceived from a macroeconomic and social welfare perspective...If even part of the additional productive capacity created through the bank-financed investment stimulus has a positive social rate of return, the policy is superior to paying unemployed workers to dig holes and then to fill them again."

Left unsaid, of course, is the very risk you have highlighted, that this large block of LIC lending has not been directed toward "additional productive capacity". Investment bank research on China has many fine qualities but balance is surely not one of them.
 
Dear professor, are the excellent research reports by the investment banks you mentioned in this blog post available online? I am very interested in them, but do not know where to find them for research. Thanks very much.
 
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear All, this excellent piece by the Financial Times may well bar me from China! It's very good for Northwestern's reputation in Asia, however. Now everyone will want to come!

China: To the money born

By FT Reporters

Published: March 29 2010 22:37 | Last updated: March 29 2010

New Horizon Capital is one of the most influential and successful participants in China’s fledgling private equity industry. It has billions of dollars under management and a stable of investors that includes Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, UBS and Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. But you would not guess any of that from its central Beijing headquarters.

The company has no nameplate in the lobby of the Golden Treasure Tower, a nondescript building near the Forbidden City, the traditional seat of imperial power. Its simple 12th floor offices are identified only by a small sign inside the door that reads, in Chinese, “New Horizon Growth Investment Advisory Limited”.

The company does not need flashy suites as it has one of the most valuable assets in China. He is Winston Wen, an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg business school in the US who keeps a low profile and bears a striking resemblance to his father – Wen Jiabao, premier of the People’s Republic of China.

The younger Mr Wen and New Horizon are in the vanguard of a more aggressive generation of taizidang (“princelings”) – offspring of senior Communist party officials – who dominate the burgeoning home-grown private equity industry, where huge profits are to be made from restructuring state assets and financing private companies.

In 2009 private equity deals in China totalled $3.6bn, accounting for one-third of all such transactions in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Thomson Reuters. But industry participants say the potential market is far larger.

According to those working in the sector, the princelings’ ascendance is squeezing out less well connected operators, including foreign firms, which might have important consequences for two reasons. First, private equity could play an important role in modernising the economy, channelling funds to promising but capital-starved companies – but those benefits will be felt only if the industry is run in a professional and competitive manner.

Second, some in the political establishment fear that princeling dominance of private equity could exacerbate public perception of nepotism and misrule at the top of the Communist party. In an opaque authoritarian system lacking the popular legitimacy of a democracy, such fears are hard to dismiss. A recent online opinion poll by the People’s Daily, the party’s official mouthpiece, found that 91 per cent of respondents believe all rich families have political backgrounds.

In an interview with the same newspaper, the former auditor-general said the fast-growing wealth of officials’ children and relatives “is what the public is most dissatisfied about”. Li Jinhua, widely respected as the senior graft-busting official between 1998 and 2008, told the paper this month: “From the numerous cases currently coming to light, we can see that many corruption problems are transacted through sons and daughters.”

Many of the elite’s children are western educated and, over the past 15 years, dozens have been recruited by western companies and banks hoping to secure an entry into the Chinese market and win mandates to take state-owned companies public in New York or Hong Kong. As most foreign investors know, employing the relative of a senior party leader as an adviser or employee can help cut through bureaucratic obstruction and resistance from local interest groups.

But today those institutions and investors are scrambling to invest in the private equity funds of princelings who would once have been on their payroll. “In the past, the best option for these people with ‘background’ was to go to the high-paying western investment banks but now the economic strength has shifted,” says one person in the private equity industry, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the topic. “Now they’re saying to the foreigners, ‘Hey, I’m in the driving seat, I have all the deals – so you give me your money and I’ll invest it myself and take a big cut’.”

Prominent private equity princelings include George Li, a former banker at Merrill Lynch and UBS with an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose father, Li Ruihuan, was one of the country’s senior leaders from the late 1980s until 2003. Another son, Jeffrey Li, recently resigned as China head of Novartis, the pharmaceuticals group, to go into private equity, according to people familiar with the matter.

Wilson Feng, who bankers and private equity investors say is the son-in-law of Wu Bangguo – officially second in the party hierarchy – left Merrill Lynch two years ago to launch a fund with ties to the state-owned nuclear energy conglomerate, according to media reports and people familiar with the matter. Mr Feng was key to securing Merrill’s mandate to take Industrial and Commercial Bank of China public in Hong Kong in 2006 in the biggest initial public offering in history.

Other private equity princelings include Li Tong, daughter of Li Changchun, the member of the nine-strong ruling Politburo standing committee in charge of propaganda and the media. Ms Li now runs a private equity fund at Hong Kong-based Bank of China International focusing on the media sector, according to three people familiar with the matter. Stanford-educated Jeffrey Zeng, son of Zeng Peiyan, former vice-premier, has also set up a fund affiliated with state-owned financial institutions.

“This is turning into a crucial moment for the financial industry in China,” says the head of a foreign bank in Beijing.“But we are very worried that foreigners and other skilled Chinese are being shut out by a string of princelings and other very well-connected people trying to dominate [the private equity] market.”

The government has been encouraging the creation of a home-grown private equity industry in recent years but approvals to set up funds are tightly controlled and investments often require them from numerous state agencies. Having the relative of a top leader in its management team can help fledgling funds overcome these hurdles.

Princelings have long been suspected of leveraging parental political power for personal gain; the topic was a source of public anger during the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests that ended in a bloody military crackdown. But Beijing political insiders say two men led the way for the ambitious new generation, fostering the modern perception of close ties between money and political power.

Levin Zhu, son of former premier Zhu Rongji, and Jiang Mianheng, son of former president Jiang Zemin, are familiar to many foreign investors, having worked for or set up joint ventures with several large western companies. Their fathers helped push through some of the past two decades’ most important market-based reforms, including World Trade Organisation membership.

Mr Zhu has a PhD in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following a stint at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York, he returned to China in the late 1990s and orchestrated a virtual take­over of China International Capital Corp, a joint venture in which Morgan Stanley holds about 34 per cent.

Mr Jiang boasts a PhD in electrical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Returning to Shanghai in the early 1990s he was courted by foreign investors who saw him as the country’s most valuable joint venture partner. Today, he controls Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited, a government investment company operating much like a private equity firm.

With their parents both out of formal office since 2003, the influence of Mr Jiang and Mr Zhu has waned. But as children of the “third generation” of technocratic leaders, they are seen to have paved the way for the current wave of princelings. “Those two really helped create the image of Red families running this country for their own benefit,” according to one person who deals closely with many princeling families. “Their actions have given all the younger generation a green light to go out and aggressively build their own buckets of gold, no matter what the consequences for the image of the party or the leadership.”

By squeezing out foreigners and other competition, dominance of the private equity sector by princelings will bring few benefits in terms of management skills or financial discipline, some analysts and industry participants say.

“Private equity is a very good area for princelings because with these sorts of connections you can get into companies ahead of their IPOs and make a lot of money in a short space of time,” says Professor Victor Shih of Northwestern University. “It is an easy way to make money because everyone will be willing to back them because of their connections. Everyone will do it willingly in order to potentially get favours from senior leaders in return.”

People close to several private equity princelings say they often feel they are victims of reverse discrimination; that no matter how smart or hard-working they are, the public will assume their success relies purely on nepotism. However, some important operators in the Chinese sector, while benefiting from family links, are seen in the industry as well qualified in their own right. One such person is Liu Lefei, son of Liu Yunshan, head of the party’s central propaganda department. The younger Mr Liu previously managed Rmb1,000bn ($147bn; €109bn; £98bn) as chief investment officer for state-owned China Life Insurance and has taken over the reins of the state-controlled Citic private equity fund.

The Financial Times was unable to reach some of the individuals named in this article or their companies, and those who were contacted refused to comment.

Because it can prompt public dissatisfaction and accusations of nepotism, information about the private lives and business dealings of leaders and their offspring often falls within the scope of vague and wide-ranging state secrecy laws, regularly used to silence critics of the regime. Even the existence of leaders’ relatives is usually a well-guarded secret. Internet searches on princelings and their activities are usually blocked in China.

Most live in luxurious gated communities around Beijing and maintain holiday homes around the country and the world. Spouses are almost never seen in public. Younger, less discreet, princelings can be identified in Beijing by their luxury sports cars with military or paramilitary licence plates, which allow them to ignore traffic regulations and avoid being stopped by the police.

But the princelings themselves face a dilemma. If their business activities are too successful or high profile they may damage the political fortunes of their powerful parents, even without specific allegations of inappropriate dealings or special privileges.

Some analysts and industry insiders foresee a situation where the scions of powerful political families use the private equity industry to carve up parts of the economy at the expense not only of foreign investors but also of the older generations of princelings with direct bloodlines to China’s revolutionary Communist party founders.

But the constant jockeying for position within the party behind closed doors in Beijing is set to intensify as the next big leadership transition approaches in 2012. Some analysts say the private equity activities of the more aggressive younger princelings could be used by political enemies as a weapon against their parents.

In the case of Winston Wen, “You have to wonder if this will leave Wen [Jiabao] open to some sort of blackmail if his son has such a high-profile position in the financial sector, where all sorts of favours might be offered”, says Mr Shih. “What if someone gets some dirt on Winston Wen?”


PRIVATE EQUITY PRINCELINGS

‘Red-blooded ‘veterans versus ruthless arrivistes

The term “princeling” was coined to refer specifically to the children of senior leaders of China’s Communist revolution – the veterans who joined Mao Zedong on the fabled Long March of the mid-1930s or were members of the inner circle at the time of the 1949 Communist victory.

Today it is used more broadly to include the offspring of later generations of technocratic leaders – but a distinction remains between them and the truly “Red-blooded” revolutionary families.

Beijing political insiders say that distinction is made sharper today by the aggressive business dealings of the newer generation of princelings and their moves into the hot new field of private equity.

None of the most prominent players in the burgeoning domestic private equity sector is from the revolutionary dynasties that include the offspring of such Communist icons as Deng Xiaoping, the late paramount leader, and the children of the “eight immortal” party elders who supported his rule through the 1980s and 1990s.

“The old revolutionary royalty, like the family of Deng Xiaoping, are still untouchable and they regard this country as belonging to them in a very real sense,” says one such insider. “They see the newer generation of princelings as more ruthless, and some even go as far as saying that when the eunuchs become powerful it means the end of the dynasty is near.”

Some analysts see the private equity activities of princelings as a potential political problem as the government prepares for a leadership transition in 2012, especially since there is a recent precedent of senior leaders cracking down on the business activities of their predecessors’ children.

When he was consolidating his power in the early 1990s, Jiang Zemin, former president, shut down companies and arrested a number of business executives with close ties to Deng’s children.

After Hu Jintao, the current president, came to power in 2003 he launched a similar high-level crackdown that brought down the party secretary in Mr Jiang’s power base of Shanghai and netted prominent real estate developers and businessmen with close ties to his son.

In the jockeying for power and influence that is sure to dominate the Beijing political scene for the next two years and beyond, the new generation of princelings may become pawns in a high-stakes game, just as their predecessors did before them.


Comments:
Nice post. I am very skeptical that the original structure of the PRC can survive the influx of capital it has experienced. This article is troubling as it appears oligarchy is imminent.
 
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

New Mobilization Law a Political Maneuver?

Well, I have been really busy with the local debt stuff that I hardly paid any attention to the on-going NPC session. Fortunately, I saw a twit yesterday on something I think will be very important. Apparently, the NPC will try to pass a law which divides the power to mobilize the army between three actors. First, a full or even a partial mobilization must be approved by the NPC Standing Committee. Second, both the State Council and the Central Military Commission (CMC) will implement this order from the NPC. To be sure, people say that well, that is just procedural because the army always just obey the party through the CMC.

This has been the case up to this point indeed. But imagine if Li Yuanchao was the head of the NPC and Li Keqiang was the premier, they now have strong legal grounds to veto a mobilization order by Xi Jinping, who at some point may become chairman of the CMC. May this be an intentional move by Hu Jintao to dilute the power of the CMC? I think so, and we can find numerous examples of this kind of power dilution through institutional changes. I think it is a brilliant move on the part of Hu. One implication, however, is that the principle of "party controlling the military" is weakened by this law because now the NPC has the constitutional authority to approve mobilization. This may have enormous long-term implications.

The key provision is "国务院、中央军事委员会领导全国的国防动员工作,制定国防动员工作的方针、政策和法规,向全国人民代表大会常务委员会提出实施国防动员的建议,根据全国人民代表大会常务委员会的决定和国家主席发布的动员令,组织国防动员的实施。"

But then there is also an escape clause which allows the CMC to act unilaterally in an extreme emergency...


Here is the draft law:

国防动员法(草案)全文及说明
中国人大网 www.npc.gov.cn日期: 2009-04-24浏览字号:大 中 小打印本页 关闭窗口

十一届全国人大常委会第八次会议初次审议了《中华人民共和国国防动员法(草案)》。现将《中华人民共和国国防动员法(草案)》及草案说明在中国人大网公布,向社会公开征集意见。社会各界群众可以直接登录中国人大网(www.npc.gov.cn)提出意见,也可以将意见寄送全国人大常委会法制工作委员会(北京市西城区西交民巷23号,邮编:100805,信封上请注明国防动员法草案征集意见)。意见征集截止日期:2009年5月31日。



中华人民共和国国防动员法(草案)

  

第一章 总  则

  第一条 为了加强国防建设,完善国防动员制度,保障国防动员工作的顺利进行,维护国家的主权、统一、领土完整和安全,制定本法。

  第二条 国防动员的准备、实施以及相关活动,适用本法。

  第三条 国家的主权、统一、领土完整和安全遭受威胁时,全国人民代表大会常务委员会依照宪法和有关法律的规定,决定全国总动员或者局部动员。国家主席根据全国人民代表大会常务委员会的决定,发布动员令。

  第四条 国防动员坚持平战结合、军民结合、寓军于民的方针,遵循统一领导、全民参与、长期准备、重点建设、统筹兼顾、有序高效的原则。

  第五条 公民和组织在和平时期应当依法完成国防动员准备工作;国家决定实施国防动员后,公民和组织应当完成规定的国防动员任务。

  第六条 国家保障国防动员所需经费。国防动员经费按照事权划分的原则,分别列入中央和地方财政预算。

  第七条 国家对在国防动员工作中做出突出贡献的公民和组织,给予表彰和奖励。

第二章 组织领导机构及其职权

  第八条 国务院、中央军事委员会领导全国的国防动员工作,制定国防动员工作的方针、政策和法规,向全国人民代表大会常务委员会提出实施国防动员的建议,根据全国人民代表大会常务委员会的决定和国家主席发布的动员令,组织国防动员的实施。

  国家的主权、统一、领土完整和安全遭受直接威胁必须立即采取应对措施时,国务院、中央军事委员会可以在全国人民代表大会常务委员会做出全国总动员或者局部动员决定之前,根据应急处置的需要,采取本法规定的国防动员措施,同时向全国人民代表大会常务委员会报告。

  第九条 县级以上地方人民政府应当贯彻和执行国防动员工作的方针、政策和法律、法规,并依照法律规定的权限管理本行政区域的国防动员工作;国家决定实施国防动员后,应当根据上级下达的国防动员任务,组织本行政区域国防动员的实施。

  第十条 国家国防动员委员会在国务院、中央军事委员会的领导下负责组织、指导、协调全国的国防动员工作;军区和县级以上地方人民政府国防动员委员会负责组织、指导、协调本区域的国防动员工作。

  国防动员委员会的办事机构承担本级国防动员委员会的日常工作,依法履行有关的国防动员职责。

  国家决定实施国防动员后,由国务院、中央军事委员会授权的机构负责组织指挥国防动员的实施。

  第十一条 县级以上人民政府有关部门和军队有关部门在各自的职责范围内,负责有关的国防动员工作。

  第十二条 国家的主权、统一、领土完整和安全遭受的威胁消除后,应当按照决定实施国防动员的权限和程序解除国防动员。

第三章 国防动员计划、预案与潜力统计调查

  第十三条 国家实行国防动员计划、国防动员实施预案和国防动员潜力统计调查制度。

  第十四条 国防动员计划和国防动员实施预案,根据国防动员的方针和原则、国防动员潜力状况和军事需求编制。军事需求由军队有关部门按照规定的权限和程序提出。

  第十五条 各级国防动员计划和国防动员实施预案的编制和审批,按照国家有关规定执行。

  第十六条 县级以上人民政府应当将国防动员的相关内容纳入国民经济和社会发展计划。军队有关部门应当将国防动员实施预案纳入战备计划。

  县级以上人民政府及其有关部门和军队有关部门应当按照职责落实国防动员计划,并按照国防动员实施预案组织演练。

  第十七条 县级以上人民政府统计机构和有关部门应当根据国防动员的需要,准确及时地向本级国防动员委员会的办事机构提供有关统计资料。提供的统计资料不能满足需要时,国防动员委员会办事机构可以依据《中华人民共和国统计法》和国家有关规定组织开展国防动员潜力专项统计调查。

第四章 与国防密切相关的建设

项目和重要产品的国防要求

  第十八条 根据国防动员的需要,与国防密切相关的建设项目和重要产品应当贯彻国防要求,具备国防功能。

  第十九条 与国防密切相关的建设项目和重要产品目录,由国务院发展改革部门会同国务院其他有关部门以及军队有关部门拟定,报国务院、中央军事委员会批准。

  列入目录的建设项目和重要产品,其军事需求由军队有关部门提出;建设项目审批、核准和重要产品设计定型时,县级以上人民政府有关主管部门应当征求军队有关部门的意见。

  第二十条 列入目录的建设项目和重要产品,应当依照有关法律、行政法规和贯彻国防要求的技术标准进行设计、施工、监理和验收,保证建设项目和重要产品的质量。

  第二十一条 企业事业单位投资或者参与投资列入目录的建设项目建设和重要产品制造的,依照有关法律、行政法规和国家有关规定,享受补贴或者其他政策优惠。

  第二十二条 县级以上人民政府应当对列入目录的建设项目和重要产品贯彻国防要求工作给予指导和政策扶持,县级以上人民政府有关部门应当按照职责做好有关的管理工作。

第五章 预备役人员的储备与征召

  第二十三条 国家根据国防动员的需要,储备所需的预备役人员。

  国务院、中央军事委员会根据国防动员的需要,决定预备役人员储备的规模、种类和方式。

  第二十四条 预备役人员按照专业对口、便于动员的原则,采取预编到现役部队、编入预备役部队、编入民兵组织或者其他形式进行储备。

  第二十五条 国家根据国防动员需要,建立预备役专业技术兵员储备区。

  第二十六条 县级以上地方人民政府兵役机关负责组织实施本行政区域预备役人员的储备工作。县级以上地方人民政府有关部门、预备役人员所在乡(镇)人民政府、街道办事处或者企业事业单位,应当协助兵役机关做好预备役人员储备的有关工作。

  第二十七条 预编到现役部队和编入预备役部队的预备役人员、预定征召的其他预备役人员,离开常住户口所在地1个月以上的,应当向其预备役登记的兵役机关报告去向、联系方式;联系方式发生变化的,应当及时报告变更情况。

  第二十八条 国家决定实施国防动员后,县级人民政府兵役机关应当根据上级的命令,迅速向被征召的预备役人员下达征召通知。

  接到征召通知的预备役人员应当按照通知要求的时间,到指定地点报到。

  第二十九条 被征召的预备役人员所在单位应当协助兵役机关做好预备役人员的征召工作。

  从事交通运输的单位和个人,应当优先运送被征召的预备役人员。

  第三十条 国家决定实施国防动员后,预定征召的预备役人员,未经其常住户口所在地的县级人民政府兵役机关批准,不得离开常住户口所在地;已经离开常住户口所在地的,接到兵役机关要求其返回的通知,应当立即返回。

第六章 战略物资储备与调用

  第三十一条 国家实行适应国防动员需要的战略物资储备和调用制度。

  战略物资储备由国务院有关主管部门组织实施。

  第三十二条 承担战略物资储备任务的单位,应当按照国家有关规定和标准对储备物资进行保管和维护,定期调整更换,保证储备物资的使用效能和安全。

  国家按照有关规定对承担战略物资储备任务的单位给予补贴。

  第三十三条 战略物资按照国家有关规定调用。国家决定实施国防动员后,战略物资的调用由国务院和中央军事委员会批准。

第三十四条 国防动员所需的其他物资的储备和调用,依照有关法律、行政法规的规定执行。

第七章 军品科研、生产和维修保障

  第三十五条 国家建立军品科研、生产和维修保障动员体系,根据战时军队订货和装备保障的需要,储备军品科研、生产和维修保障能力。

  本法所称军品,是指用于军事目的的装备、物资以及专用生产设备、器材等。

  第三十六条 军品科研、生产和维修保障能力储备的种类、布局和规模,由国务院有关主管部门会同军队有关部门提出方案,报国务院、中央军事委员会批准后组织实施。

  第三十七条 承担军品转产、扩大生产任务的单位,应当根据所担负的国防动员任务,储备军品转产、扩大生产所需的设备、材料、技术,建立军品转产、扩大生产所需的专业技术队伍,制定和完善军品的转产、扩大生产预案和措施。

  第三十八条 各级人民政府应当支持和帮助承担军品转产、扩大生产任务的单位开发和应用先进的军民两用技术,推广军民通用的技术标准,提高军品转产、扩大生产的综合保障能力。

  第三十九条 国家决定实施国防动员后,承担军品转产、扩大生产任务的单位,应当按照国家军事订货合同和转产、扩大生产的要求,组织军品科研、生产,保证军品质量,按时交付订货,协助军队完成维修保障任务。为军品转产、扩大生产提供能源、材料、设备和配套产品的单位,应当优先满足军品转产、扩大生产的需要。

  国家对因承担军品转产、扩大生产任务造成直接经济损失的单位给予补偿。

第八章 战争灾害的预防与救助

  第四十条 国家实行战争灾害的预防与救助制度,保护人民生命和财产安全,保障国防动员潜力和持续动员能力。

  第四十一条 国家建立军事、经济目标和首脑机关分级防护制度。分级防护标准由国务院、中央军事委员会规定。

  军事、经济目标和首脑机关的防护工作,由县级以上人民政府会同有关军事机关共同组织实施。

  第四十二条 承担军事、经济目标和首脑机关防护任务的单位,应当制定防护计划和抢险抢修预案,组织防护演练,落实防护措施,提高综合防护效能。

  第四十三条 国家决定实施国防动员后,人员、物资的疏散和隐蔽,在本行政区域进行的,由本级人民政府决定并组织实施;跨行政区域进行的,由相关行政区域共同的上一级人民政府决定并组织实施。

  承担人员、物资疏散和隐蔽任务的单位,应当按照有关人民政府的决定,在规定时间内完成疏散和隐蔽任务。

  第四十四条 战争灾害发生时,当地人民政府应当迅速启动应急救助机制,组织力量抢救伤员、保护财产,尽快消除战争灾害后果,恢复正常生产生活秩序。

  遭受战争灾害的人员和组织应当及时采取自救、互救措施,减少战争灾害造成的损失。

第九章 国防勤务

  第四十五条 国家决定实施国防动员后,县级以上人民政府根据国防动员实施的需要,可以动员符合本法规定条件的公民和组织担负国防勤务。

  本法所称国防勤务,是指支援保障军队作战、承担预防与救助战争灾害以及协助维护社会秩序的任务。

  第四十六条 18周岁至60周岁的男性公民和18周岁至55周岁的女性公民,应当担负国防勤务;但有下列情形之一的,免于担负国防勤务:

  (一)从事托儿所、幼儿园和孤儿院、养老院、残疾人康复机构、救助站等社会福利机构管理和服务工作的公民;

  (二)从事义务教育阶段学校教学、管理和服务工作的公民;

  (三)怀孕和在哺乳期内的女性公民;

  (四)患病无法担负国防勤务的公民;

  (五)丧失劳动能力的公民;

  (六)在联合国等政府间国际组织任职的公民;

  (七)其他经县级以上人民政府决定免予担负国防勤务的公民。

  第四十七条 被确定担负国防勤务的人员,应当服从指挥,遵守纪律,保守秘密。担负国防勤务的人员所在单位应当给予支持和协助。

  第四十八条 交通运输、邮政、电信、医药卫生、食品和粮食供应、工程建筑、能源化工、大型水利设施、民用核设施、新闻媒体、国防科研生产和市政设施保障单位,应当依法担负国防勤务。

  前款规定的单位平时应当按照专业对口、人员精干、应急有效的原则组建专业保障队伍,组织训练、演练,提高完成国防勤务的保障能力。

  第四十九条 公民和组织担负国防勤务,由县级以上人民政府负责组织。担负预防与救助战争灾害、协助维护社会秩序勤务的公民和专业保障队伍,由当地人民政府指挥,并提供勤务和生活保障;跨行政区域执行勤务的,由相关行政区域的县级以上地方人民政府组织落实相关保障;担负军队作战支援保障勤务的公民和专业保障队伍,由所在部队指挥,并提供勤务和生活保障。

  第五十条 担负国防勤务的人员在执行勤务期间,继续享有原工作单位的工资、津贴和其他福利待遇;没有工作单位的,由当地县级人民政府参照民兵执行战备勤务的补贴标准给予补贴;因执行国防勤务伤亡的,由当地县级人民政府依照《军人抚恤优待条例》的有关规定给予抚恤优待。

第十章 民用资源征用与补偿

  第五十一条 国家决定实施国防动员后,储备物资无法及时满足动员需要的,县级以上人民政府可以依法对民用资源进行征用。

  本法所称民用资源,是指公民和组织所有或者使用的用于社会生产、服务和生活的设施、设备、场所和其他物资。

  第五十二条 任何公民和组织都有接受依法征用民用资源的义务。

  需要使用民用资源的中国人民解放军现役部队和预备役部队、中国人民武装警察部队、民兵组织,应当提出征用需求,由县级以上地方人民政府统一组织征用。县级以上地方人民政府应当对被征用的民用资源予以登记,向被征用人出具收据。

  第五十三条 下列民用资源免予征用:

  (一)个人和家庭生活必需的物品和居住场所;

  (二)托儿所、幼儿园和孤儿院、养老院、残疾人康复机构、救助站等社会福利机构保障儿童、老人、残疾人和救助对象生活必需的物品和居住场所;

  (三)法律、行政法规规定免予征用的其他民用资源。

  第五十四条被征用的民用资源根据军事要求需要进行改造的,由县级以上地方人民政府会同有关军事机关组织实施。

  承担改造任务的单位应当按照使用单位提出的军事要求和改造方案进行改造,并保证按期交付使用。改造所需经费由国家负担。

  第五十五条 被征用的民用资源使用完毕,县级以上地方人民政府应当及时组织返还;经过改造的,应当恢复原使用功能后返还;不能修复或者灭失的,以及因征用给公民或者组织造成直接经济损失的,按照国家有关规定给予补偿。

  第五十六条 中国人民解放军现役部队和预备役部队、中国人民武装警察部队、民兵组织进行军事演习、训练,需要征用民用资源或者采取临时性管制措施的,按照国务院、中央军事委员会的有关规定执行。

第十一章 宣传教育

  第五十七条 各级人民政府应当组织开展国防动员的宣传教育,增强公民的国防观念和依法履行国防义务的意识。有关军事机关应当协助做好国防动员的宣传教育工作。

  第五十八条 国家机关、社会团体、企业事业单位和基层群众性自治组织,应当组织所属人员学习和掌握必要的国防知识与技能。

  第五十九条 各级人民政府应当运用各类宣传媒体和宣传手段,对公民进行爱国主义、革命英雄主义宣传教育,激发公民的爱国热情,鼓励公民踊跃参战支前,采取多种形式开展拥军优属和慰问活动,按照国家有关规定做好抚恤优待工作。

  新闻出版、广播影视和网络传媒等单位,应当按照国防动员的要求做好宣传教育工作。

第十二章 特别措施

  第六十条 国家决定实施国防动员后,根据需要,可以依法在实施国防动员的区域采取下列特别措施:

  (一)对金融、交通运输、邮政、电信、新闻媒体、广播影视、能源水源供应、医药卫生、食品和粮食供应、商业贸易等行业实行监管;

  (二)对人员活动的区域、时间、方式以及物资、运载工具进出的区域进行必要的限制;

  (三)在国家机关、社会团体和企业事业单位实行特殊工作制度;

  (四)为武装力量优先提供各种交通保障;

  (五)需要采取的其他特别措施。

  第六十一条 在全国或者部分省、自治区、直辖市实行特别措施,由国务院、中央军事委员会决定并组织实施;在省、自治区、直辖市范围内的部分地区实行特别措施,由国务院、中央军事委员会决定,由特别措施实施区域所在省、自治区、直辖市人民政府和同级军事机关组织实施。

  第六十二条 组织实施特别措施的机关应当在规定的权限、区域和时限内实施特别措施。特别措施实施区域内的公民和组织,应当服从组织实施特别措施的机关的管理。

  第六十三条 采取特别措施不再必要时,应当及时终止。

第十三章 法律责任

  第六十四条 公民有下列行为之一的,由县级人民政府有关主管部门责令改正;拒不改正的,处2000元以上2万元以下罚款:

  (一)预编到现役部队和编入预备役部队的预备役人员、预定征召的其他预备役人员离开常住户口所在地1个月以上未向兵役机关报告的;

  (二)国家决定实施国防动员后,预定征召的预备役人员未经兵役机关批准离开常住户口所在地,或者未按照兵役机关要求及时返回的;

  (三)拒绝、逃避征召、担负国防勤务的;

  (四)拒绝、拖延民用资源征用或者阻碍对被征用的民用资源进行改造的;

  (五)干扰、破坏国防动员工作秩序,或者阻碍从事国防动员工作的人员依法履行职责的。

  公民有前款第(三)、(四)项行为的,县级人民政府有关主管部门可以强制其履行;战时有前款第(三)、(四)、(五)项行为,构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任。

  第六十五条 企业事业单位有下列行为之一的,由有关人民政府主管部门责令改正;拒不改正的,处5万元以上20万元以下罚款:

  (一)在承建的贯彻国防要求的建设项目中未按照国防要求和规定标准进行设计或者施工、生产的;

  (二)因管理不善导致战略储备物资丢失损坏的,或者不服从战略储备物资调用的;

  (三)未按照转产、扩大生产任务的要求进行军品科研、生产和维修保障能力储备的,或者未按照规定组建专业技术队伍的;

  (四)拒绝、拖延执行专业保障任务的;

  (五)拒绝或者故意延误军事订货的;

  (六)拒绝、拖延民用资源征用或者阻碍对被征用的民用资源进行改造的;

  (七)阻挠公民履行征召、担负国防勤务义务的。

  企业事业单位有前款第(二)、(三)、(四)、(五)、(六)、(七)项行为的,有关人民政府主管部门可以强制其履行;战时有前款第(五)、(六)项行为,构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任。

  第六十六条 有下列行为之一的,对直接负责的主管人员和其他直接责任人员,依法给予处分;构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任:

  (一)拒不执行上级下达的国防动员命令的;

  (二)滥用职权或者玩忽职守,给国防动员工作造成严重损失的;

  (三)对征用的民用资源管理、使用不善,造成严重损坏,或者不按照规定予以返还或者补偿的;

  (四)泄露国防动员秘密的;

  (五)贪污、挪用国防动员经费、物资的;

  (六)滥用职权,侵犯和损害公民和组织合法权益的。

第十四章 附则

  第六十七条 本法自 年 月 日起施行。



关于《中华人民共和国国防动员法

(草案)》的说明

   

一、制定国防动员法的必要性

  国防动员是《中华人民共和国国防法》确立的一项国防基本制度,是维护国家安全与发展的战略措施。制定一部具有中国特色的国防动员法,依法加强国防动员建设,增强国防潜力,对于提升综合国力,维护国家安全和发展,具有十分重要的意义。

  (一)制定国防动员法是填补国防动员立法的空白,完善中国特色社会主义法律体系的需要。

  随着我国立法工作的加速发展,以宪法为核心的中国特色社会主义法律体系基本形成。党的十七大明确提出,要加快建设社会主义法治国家,完善中国特色社会主义法律体系。制定国防动员法,尽快建立起我国国防动员的基本制度,是实现国防动员工作有法可依的重要举措,是完善中国特色社会主义法律体系的实际步骤。加强国防动员法律制度建设,也是世界主要国家的普遍做法。中国作为一个大国,也应当有一部具有中国特色的国防动员法。

  (二)制定国防动员法是提高国家平战转换能力,维护国家安全的需要。

  当今世界,和平与发展仍然是时代的主题。但世界并不安宁,霸权主义与强权政治依然存在,局部冲突和热点问题此起彼伏,传统安全威胁与非传统安全威胁相互交织,国家安全面临诸多挑战,为此,必须增强忧患意识和国防观念。制定国防动员法,对国防动员做出明确规范,为平时动员准备和战时动员实施提供法律依据,切实提高国家平战转换的能力,确保国家主权、统一、领土完整和安全遭受威胁时,能够迅速依法动员,将国防潜力转化为军事实力。

  (三)制定国防动员法是适应经济社会发展变化,保证国防动员工作健康发展的需要。

  随着我国社会主义市场经济和社会事业的加快发展,国防动员工作所处的社会环境发生了深刻变化,过去主要依靠行政手段开展国防动员的做法已难以适应新的形势和要求,迫切需要通过制定国防动员法,建立起适应国家经济社会发展变化的国防动员工作体制机制,科学规范政府、公民和组织在国防动员活动中的责任、权利和义务。

  二、草案起草的简要经过

  1998年12月,国防动员法列入了《九届全国人大常委会立法规划》;2000年9月,国防动员法起草工作全面展开。八年来,国防动员法起草领导小组及办公室,认真学习党和国家领导人有关国防动员的重要论述以及国家有关国防动员的政策规定,搜集各地开展国防动员的经验以及国外有关国防动员的立法情况,先后到17个省、自治区、直辖市和40多个地市以及7个军区进行实地调研,召开数十次不同类型座谈会,组织有关机构和专家学者就国防动员立法中政策性、理论性、专业性较强的问题,进行研究论证,并与国家和军队有关部门反复沟通协商。在此基础上,起草了草案征求意见稿。之后,将征求意见稿先后3次印发国家和军队有关部门以及各省、自治区、直辖市国防动员委员会征求意见,并认真做了修改;草案经国家国防动员委员会审议通过,呈报国务院、中央军委后,国务院和中央军委法制工作机构进一步征求了国家和军队有关部门以及各省、自治区、直辖市人民政府的意见,根据各方面的意见对草案又做了反复研究修改。

  三、对草案中几个主要问题的说明

  (一)关于国防动员的组织领导体制。

  建立科学合理、权威高效的国防动员组织领导体制,是提高国家动员能力的组织保证。根据宪法和国防法对国家机构国防职权的规定,草案对国防动员的组织领导机构及其职权划分做了规定。一是规定了全国人民代表大会常务委员会依照宪法和有关法律的规定,决定全国总动员或者局部动员。国家主席根据全国人民代表大会常务委员会的决定,发布动员令。(第三条)国务院、中央军事委员会领导全国的国防动员工作,根据全国人民代表大会常务委员会的决定和国家主席发布的动员令,组织国防动员的实施。(第八条第一款)二是为了能够有效应对国家主权、统一、领土完整和安全遭受直接威胁的紧急情况,草案规定:国务院、中央军事委员会可以在全国人民代表大会常务委员会做出动员决定之前,根据应急处置的需要,采取本法规定的国防动员措施,同时向全国人民代表大会常务委员会报告。(第八条第二款)三是规定了国家国防动员委员会在国务院、中央军事委员会的领导下负责组织、指导、协调全国的国防动员工作,国防动员委员会的办事机构承担本级国防动员委员会的日常工作,依法履行有关的国防动员职责;国家决定实施国防动员后,由国务院、中央军事委员会授权的机构负责组织指挥国防动员的实施。(第十条)这些规定有利于加强国防动员工作的集中统一领导,为有关各方履职尽责、协调一致地抓好国防动员工作提供了法律依据。

  (二)关于经济建设的国防要求。

  在经济建设中贯彻国防要求,是我国抓国防动员建设的一条成功经验,也是贯彻国防建设与经济建设协调发展方针,实现平战结合、军民结合、寓军于民的重要举措。为了使经济建设贯彻国防要求、保证战时国民经济的快速转换,草案一是规定县级以上人民政府应当将国防动员的相关内容纳入国民经济和社会发展计划。(第十六条第一款)二是规定与国防密切相关的建设项目和重要产品实行目录管理;列入目录的建设项目和重要产品,其军事需求由军队有关部门提出;建设项目审批、核准和重要产品设计定型时,县级以上人民政府有关主管部门应当征求军队有关部门的意见。(第十九条)三是规定列入目录的建设项目和重要产品,应当依照有关法律、行政法规和贯彻国防要求的技术标准进行设计、施工、监理和验收。(第二十条)四是规定县级以上人民政府应当对列入目录的建设项目和重要产品贯彻国防要求工作给予指导和政策扶持,县级以上人民政府有关部门应当按照职责做好有关的管理工作。(第二十二条)这些规定为各地各部门在经济建设和社会发展中贯彻国防要求提供了基本的法律依据。

  (三)关于预备役人员的储备与征召。

  预备役人员的储备与征召是人民武装力量动员的基础,草案针对市场经济条件下人员流动频繁的特点和信息化条件下局部战争快速动员的要求,对预备役人员的储备与征召做出了相应规定。一是规定国家根据国防动员的需要储备所需的预备役人员;储备应当按照专业对口、便于动员的原则进行。(第二十三条、第二十四条)二是规定了国家决定实施国防动员后,县级以上人民政府的兵役机关、被征召的预备役人员所在单位以及被征召的预备役人员的责任和义务。(第二十六条至第三十条)草案还规定:预编到现役部队和编入预备役部队的预备役人员、预定征召的其他预备役人员,离开常住户口所在地1个月以上的,应当向其预备役登记的兵役机关报告去向、联系方式;联系方式发生变化的,应当及时报告变更情况。(第二十七条)这些规定为加强后备兵员管理,解决好战时首批动员和持续动员问题提供了法律保障。

  (四)关于物资动员。

  物资动员是国防动员的重要方面,对于保障战时的物资需要具有重要作用。草案从战略物资储备与调用,军品科研、生产和维修保障,民用资源征用与补偿三个方面,确立了物资动员的基本制度。一是规定国家实行适应国防动员需要的战略物资储备和调用制度。战略物资储备由国务院有关主管部门组织实施;国家决定实施国防动员后,战略物资的调用由国务院和中央军事委员会批准。(第三十一条、第三十三条)二是规定了国家建立军品科研、生产和维修保障动员体系,根据战时军队订货和装备保障的需要,储备军品科研、生产和维修保障能力。(第七章)三是规定了国家决定实施国防动员后,在储备物资无法及时满足动员需要的情况下,县级以上人民政府可以依法对民用资源进行征用。(第五十一条第一款)这些规定,充分体现了寓动员潜力于经济实力之中的要求,有利于从根本上提高国家的动员能力。

  (五)关于公民和组织的国防义务与权利。

  按照权利与义务相一致的原则,草案对有关公民和组织的国防动员义务和权利做了规定。一是规定公民和组织在和平时期应当依法完成国防动员准备工作;国家决定实施国防动员后,应当完成规定的国防动员任务。(第五条)二是对承担贯彻国防要求建设项目的企业事业单位,承担战略物资储备任务的单位,承担军品转产、扩大生产任务的单位的国防动员义务以及所享有的补贴、补偿和政策优惠做了规定。(第二十一条、第三十二条、第三十九条)三是规定国家决定实施国防动员后,县级以上人民政府根据国防动员实施的需要,可以动员符合本法规定条件的公民和组织担负支援保障军队作战、承担预防与救助战争灾害等国防勤务。(第四十五条)对担负国防勤务的人员,在执行勤务期间的工资、补贴和伤亡抚恤等待遇做了规定。(第五十条)四是规定了任何公民和组织都有接受依法征用民用资源的义务,并对征用的程序和补偿的原则以及免予征用的资源做了规定。(第十章)这些规定,把保证公民和组织依法履行国防动员义务与保障公民和组织因履行国防动员义务而享有的合法权益有机地统一起来,有利于将对公民和组织的国防动员落到实处。

  (六)关于特别措施。

  为了保证战时动员的顺利实施,需要对关系国计民生的重要行业和社会实行管制、限制等特别措施。这是世界主要国家国防动员的通行做法。草案规定的特别措施主要是国家决定实施国防动员后,根据需要,可以对关系国计民生的重要行业实行监管;对人员活动的区域、时间、方式以及物资、运载工具进出的区域进行必要的限制;在国家机关、社会团体和企业事业单位实行特殊工作制度等特别措施。(第六十条)草案同时规定了实行特别措施的决定机关、组织实施机关和实施的要求。(第六十一条至第六十三条)这些规定,完善了国防动员的措施和手段,对保障战时动员任务的完成具有重要意义。

  草案还规定了违反本法的法律责任,保证法律的执行,维护法律的严肃性。

Comments:
great stuff victor. do you have an estimate of china's total short term external debt (including local) compared to reserves, or any pointers on how one would begin to gather data to construct such a rato? will read through your posts and see what i can find also. thanks for any help.
 
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Expose on Princelings

Really not much to add to this wonderful expose on princeling politics and business by Sydney Morning Herald reporter John Garnaut. I wholeheartedly agree that Bo junior is indeed trying to demonstrate something to somebody by going after Peng Zhen's children and the Deng clan. I think Bo's actions will make the coming two years very interesting...


http://www.smh.com.au/world/children-of-the-revolution-20100212-nxjh.html

Children of the revolution

JOHN GARNAUT
February 13, 2010

A sensational court case has exposed the power and connections of China's princelings, writes John Garnaut.

The arrest and kangaroo-court conviction of another successful lawyer might hardly be worth mentioning in a place where imprisoning, deregistering, or beating lawyers for doing their jobs is becoming commonplace. But the case of Li Zhuang has generated a heated 10-week media and internet debate in China, and not just because of the way it was carried out.

It is the first time a lawyer has been convicted of coaching his client to lie on the basis of testimony from mobster, Gong Gangmo, according to another respected lawyer (who has himself been beaten and deregistered for representing the wrong kind of clients). The 4000-word character assassination planted in the China Youth Daily straight after Li's arrest was also unusual.

But it is the background to this case that makes it so riveting for onlookers and disruptive for China's political status quo.

The man who must have authorised Li's arrest is Bo Xilai, the only Politburo member who can comfortably wear epithets such as colourful, mercurial or maverick. The Communist Party boss of the central-west city of Chongqing has captivated the nation with a brave but risky war against the city's organised crime.

Bo got to where he is partly because he is the son of Bo Yibo, one of China's "eight immortals" - the tag for an exalted club of revolutionaries who lived long enough to stamp their marks on China's reform era history.

The China Youth Daily hinted at the equally impressive power behind the lawyer that Bo arrested: "As Li Zhuang arrived at Chongqing, he began to play the peacock, saying many times 'do you know my background? Do you know who my boss is?"

What the censors won't let local media spell out is that Li's law firm is headed by Fu Yang, who is the son of Peng Zhen, also one of the eight immortals and more powerful than Bo Yibo. Li's lawyer from the same Kangda law firm, Gao Zicheng, said he could not talk about the background politics: "I can't go there …''

But the fathers Bo Yibo and Peng Zhen were once factional allies. Their families lived close together and were closely entwined, often entertaining guests at a Shanxi restaurant they both helped to open, says a Beijing political aficionado.

"Both Peng Zhen and Bo Yibo were loyalists of [Mao's one time chosen successor] Liu Shaoqi," says Huang Jing, a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore. "This hate-love relationship is certainly inherited by their children."

So it turns out that Bo Xilai has just spectacularly arrested, convicted and rejected the appeal of a lawyer who works for Bo's equally powerful childhood playmate, Fu Yang.

The Communist Party has enjoyed enormous success in turning China into a powerful nation and lifting its citizens out of poverty. But the party is also a club that allocates political, financial and social privilege to its members. It has its own internal system of hierarchy and quasi-royalty, where revolutionary leaders bequeath their status to their children and children's children. Those descendants are called "princelings" in China.

Mostly, China's princelings get on with expanding the national cake and carving it up. It was Bo Xilai's own father, Bo Yibo, who is said to have helped institutionalise the princeling nexus of power and wealth in the 1990s by supporting a proposal that each powerful family can have only one princeling in politics, leaving other siblings to cash their political inheritances for financial ones.

But the case of lawyer Li Zhuang suggests the country may not be big enough for all of them.

Political analysts say Bo is pursuing an audacious but calculated political strategy. Most say he is appealing directly to the people by implicitly attacking his peers, in the hope of forcing his own promotion into the nine-member Politburo standing committee at the next leadership reshuffle in 2012.

"Bo Xilai is indeed challenging the privilege of some princelings to boost his own popularity," says Bo Zhiyue, an expert on China's princelings at the National University of Singapore.

It's not impossible for an outsider to secure the right patrons and make it to the top, like President Hu Jintao (who was anointed by former party secretaries Hu Yaobang and Deng Xiaoping).

Generally, however, modern China belongs to the children of the revolution. All three officers appointed last year to the rank of full general in the People's Liberation Army were children of senior party leaders. Xi Jinping, who many expect to be the next president, is the son of a revolutionary hero. Eight or nine of the 25-member Politburo are princelings (defined as having a parent or parent in-law who held the rank of vice-minister or above), according to Cheng Li, an expert on Chinese elite politics at the Brookings Institutution. In the previous Politburo there were only three.

The strategic heights of China's economy are also in princeling hands.

The family of former president Jiang Zemin - whose adopted father was a revolutionary martyr - pulls strings in the telecommunications, railways and postal systems. The family of former premier Li Peng - who was adopted by former premier Zhou Enlai - has outsized influence over electricity production, transmission and hydro-electric dam building. His daughter Li Xiaolin, who became famous in Australia this week for her disagreement with Clive Palmer over a $60 billion deal, is at the helm of a major power generating company. Her brother headed another large electricity company before being transferred to help run the coal-powered province of Shanxi. Family friend Liu Zhenya controls the electricity grid.

Distinctions between state and personal enterprise are not always clear in China. Some of the most eminent princeling families discreetly control large companies that are listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, sometimes in concert with Hong Kong's mega-billionaire families, and often through loyal personal secretaries or close relatives who have changed their names.

Further in the background, Chinese political analysts say the descendants of Marshall Ye Jianying, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, Wang Zhen, Peng Zhen and Bo Yibo are China's real political and financial king makers.

Which brings us back to Bo Yibo and Peng Zhen's children, Bo Xilai and Fu Yang.

Overwhelmingly, China's intellectuals and the legal professionals castigated Bo Xilai (although not by name) for his crackdown in Chongqing and for cloaking himself as a modern day Maoist and making a mockery of the rule of law.

The intellectual tide seemed to turn last week when the accused lawyer, Li Zhuang, shocked his own legal advisers with this open court confession: "I fabricated evidence to deceive the police, the procuratorate, and the court to exculpate Gong."

While that confession was itself clouded in controversy, liberal opinion leaders began to reframe the debate. Li and his law firm, Kangda, are respected for being very good at what they do. But they are also welded into the elite of a Communist Party judicial system that runs on kickbacks and connections.

It is no stretch to say the fathers of Kang Da's three founding principals ran China's entire political-security and judicial systems in the 1980s.

The law firm was itself spun out of the legal department of an immensely profitable and unaccountable corporate-charity empire called Kanghua, which was run by Deng Pufang, son of Deng Xiaoping. Controversy about this type of cronyism was one ingredient in the build up of public unease leading up to the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989.

All that concealed backdrop helps explain why Li was once again the leading chat topic on leading blogging portals this week, after a Chongqing court rejected his appeal but reduced his jail sentence.

"Bo is the great saviour of Chinese ordinary people," said one reader's comment on the People's Daily website. "Strike hard against gangsters and black lawyers. Drag all their [mafia] uncles out!"

And Bo hasn't just locked up one well-connected lawyer who may or may not have been doing his job. In China it is impossible for the mafia to thrive without it being joined at the hip to the Communist Party, as the open trials of some of Bo's nearly 800 gangland prosecutions have shown.

Wen Qiang, Chongqing's former deputy police chief and then justice bureau chief, was in court trying to explain more than 16 million yuan ($2.6 million) of suspected kickbacks and sheltering mobsters such as his sister-in-law, "the godmother of Chongqing".

But it emerged in court for the first time this week that the bulk of Wen's wealth was acquired from payments received in return for handing out promotions.

"The trial of the underworld has become a trial of corrupt officials,'' wrote Liang Jing, the pseudonym of a political columnist on overseas Chinese language websites.

Yang Hengjun, one of China's most influential political commentators, had previously criticised Bo for his Maoist rhetoric and politicisation of the legal process. Last week he took a different course, skating close to the limits of permissible speech, after his email inbox had filled to overflowing with unhappy readers.

Yang wrote that the whole debate about defending "rule of law" in Chongqing was premised on the assumption that there was actually something already resembling "rule of law" anywhere in China, which there patently is not.

"If you are serious about spreading the 'rule of law' in China I have a suggestion," he wrote.

"All legal elites and opinion leaders can join hundreds of thousands of netizens in demanding that Chongqing's fight against gangsters be introduced across the whole nation so that it can terminate unlawful 'rule of law' by corrupt officials."

In the end, writes Yang, debates about rule of law will remain academic in China for as long as it is run by a one-party state: ''Only a greater political system or democracy can provide an answer.''

Privately, close political observers in China say that whatever you think of Bo Xilai or his personal motivations, he has thrown a bomb inside Party Central. His public dissection of Chongqing's power and protection rackets invites Chinese people to worry and talk more openly about whether their country is evolving towards some kind of mafia state.

Some liberal thinkers hope Bo is a catalyst for those in the system who are not beholden to "princelings" - perhaps the Vice-Premier, Li Keqiang - to rise and challenge the party's privileges. But the party's princeling bonds will be hard to break. To the extent that they stick together they will loosen their grip on power only when necessary to preserve it.

"Reporters have every reason to explore the infighting among the princelings,'' writes Cheng Li, at the Brookings Institution.

''But I believe the princelings' incentive for co-operation and the need to share wealth and power are far more important than their internal tensions and conflicts.''

John Garnaut is the Herald's correspondent in Beijing.


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