Monday, October 13, 2003

There was a discussion between myself and Bill Hurst, a graduate student at UC Berkeley about why we haven't heard anything about the Third Plenum in the official press. A leading scholar of Chinese politics, however, told us on Chinapol that this was perfectly normally. Oh well, we will find out soon enough:

Bill Hurst:
We'll see what comes out of the plenum in the end. What I do find
interesting, though, is that all the major newspapers as well as CCTV and
other outlets have remained almost completely silent on any details of the
meeting. I wonder if this means something big is in the works or if it is
just the media following Hu's instructions to pay less attention to top
leaders' every move?

That was exactly my thought. Why the hell haven't they publicized anything. It is true that plena are usually given less fanfare than the Party Congresses, but this still seems strange. Well, if we don't see anything tomorrow, i think something is up. Most likely, a debate on what to tell the public. Also, on the RMRB website, there were two articles on the plenum written a few days ago before the start of the plenum. In them, "experts" gave their opinion on what would be discussed at the plenum. The wording just seems strange.
This suggests some degree of uncertainty about the agenda of the plenum.

Timing the meeting with the space launch may also mean something. But the
only really big thing I can imagine coming out of this is that maybe Jiang is
out from the CMC, or maybe they have decided to actually float the RMB, or
maybe they are going to actually fund the "dibao" and formally bankrupt all
the SOEs that are bankrupt in all but name. All of these would be important,
but they just do not rise to the same level as the reforms int he wake of the
1978 3rd plenum. If there is something more significant than these changes, I
just cannot guess what it might be.

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