Sunday, July 20, 2003

A discussion on elite politics:

Interesting. I agree with the declining sympathy that the central
government now has toward the local government. It shows if you look at
the career trajectories of those in power today. Most of them have spent
the bulk of their careers in the center, with only a smattering of local
administrative experience. Jiang and Zhu only presided over Shanghai for
a few years each. Zhao Ziyang, on the other hand, worked in Guangdong for
decades before being promoted to the center. Wen and Hu both worked in teh
West, and I think that partly explains the at least outward emphasis on
Western development. But even they have spent much of the past decade in
the center. Wen has been in the center since the mid 80s, while Hu has
been in the center since the 14th Party Congress.

However, the 16th PC did see the promotion of many cadres with rich local
administrative experience to the PSC, Wu Guanzheng, Huang Ju, and Li
Changchun, and also Jia Qinglin. Although they are in different factions,
they could form a powerful bloc lobbying for more local autonomy and less
central restriction. My friend who works in the Central Committee tells
me that time is ripe for a round of "fang." If the political pressure on
decentralization increases, it will be interesting to see if the
institutionalization effort by the central bureaucracy in the past decade
will hold up (eg. taxation, banking, auditing centralization).

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