Saturday, July 15, 2006

Here is Sichuan, the weather is almost unbearable. However, that is what academia demands.....Let's see what my days of wining and dining with officials have yielded lately. One interesting thing is that in response to calls of "new socialist countryside," various local governments are responding with different "policy innovation." One thing that I heard about in a major city in Sichuan is the "amalgamation of city and countryside," which attempts to forcibly speed up the pace of urbanization. There are two tactics. First, you forcibly relocate some farmers into cities, forcing many of them to commute back to the villages to farm. Second, you forcibly combine villages into townships and townships into cities to create more cities. This generate a lot of administrative difficulties. Well, this is what Chinese officials have to do to get ahead.

Beyond that, I heard that Liu Zhihua's (Beijing vice-mayor, see previous post) accuser was in fact not a foreign investor, as originally thought, but rather a princeling who registered a company abroad. Contrary to my expectation, I further heard that Liu's arrest actually caused Mayor Wang Qishan a lot of embarassment. Although Wang is not close to Liu, he originally appointed Liu to the post, not knowing the full extent of his wrong-doing. Clearly, something very complicated is going on, and perhaps some readers can shed some light on this. We will see how much further this investigation goes, and whether it will spread to Shanghai, as some people speculate.

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