Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A reader asked a good question of "You didn't refer to the carrot Zeng is (purportedly) being offered: the position on the CMC he missed out on last September when Hu ousted Jiang. So, the question is, does Zeng sacrifice a rook (Chen Liangyu) for the bigger prize of a knight (vice chair position on the CMC to go with the vice presidency)?"

If he takes Hu's offer, Hu would most likely promise him that position until the 18th Party Congress in 2012. However, if he confronts Hu Jintao now, Hu might gain enough power by the 17th Party Congress to force Zeng Qinghong into retirement, using the “too close to 70” argument that Jiang had used against Qiao Shi. However, if Hu was cold-blooded (ie if he was like Zeng himself), he could promise Zeng CMC vice-chairmanship until 18th PC but renege on that promise at the 17th PC or soon afterward using the retire at 70 rule. In sum, I think Zeng's decision will be based on A) whether he thinks Hu will force him to retire at the 17th PC or soon afterward and B)his relationship with Liu Yandong. I think that Zeng wants to maintain a base in Shanghai, a rich metropolis in which he can carry out all kinds of nefarious dealings. If the family bond between Zeng and Liu is indeed deep, he might, as you say, take Hu's offer and sacrifice Chen.

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