Saturday, January 27, 2007

Some of you may be looking for some commentaries on last week's central finance work conference. Unfortunately, if I give you the full spiel, an organization who paid "okay" money (short of good....) for an in-depth analysis might be a bit miffed. But, I simply cannot refrain from pointing out that HUANG JU WAS NOT EVEN AT THE MEETING! Huang Ju, as you remember, headed the Leading Group on State Banking Reform, which basically put him in charge of the entire financial industry in China. However, he was not even there. The only PSC member in attendance was Wen Jiabao. State Councilor Hua Jianmin also put in an appearance. Rumors have it that Huang was "sick" again, but we have all seen Huang's amazing capacity to appear in public despite illness. Clearly, he has been sidelined as the financial czar of China due to the Shanghai scandals. However, Jiang continues to have some cloute in the matter since the person aiding Wen in the financial sector is none other than State Councilor Hua Jianmin, a close lieutenant of Jiang and Huang from their Shanghai days.

What else: eh, restructuring the Agricultural Bank while calling it to increase its effort to support the policy missions of "three agriculture" sounds a bit self-contradictory.....

Oh, and they (meaning the party) passed a verdict on former NBS chief Qiu Xiaohua. Thus far, kicked out of party and government, as well as the CPPCC--then jail terms likely.....poor Qiu.

中央电视台“新闻联播”今天(123日) 披露了对国家统计局原局长邱晓华的查处结果。最近,中央纪委监察部严肃查处了邱晓华严重违纪案件。经查,邱晓华在任国家统计局领导职务期间,收受不法企业 主所送现金;生活腐化堕落,涉嫌重婚犯罪。中央电视台称,邱晓华身为党的高级领导干部,丧失党性原则,收受现金,道德败坏,涉嫌重婚犯罪,其行为严重违反 了党纪政纪和法律,造成了恶劣的社会政治影响,必须依纪依法严肃处理。根据《中国共产党纪律处分条例》、《中华人民共和国公务员法》的有关规定,经中央纪 委审议并报中共中央批准,决定给予邱晓华开除党籍处分;经监察部报请国务院批准,决定给予邱晓华行政开除处分;建议依法撤销其全国政协委员资格。对其涉嫌 犯罪问题移送司法机关依法处理。

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Well, as I was hanging out in the wilderness of Hebei, a giant of the of the Communist Party passed away. Beyond a long-marcher, a famous military commander, and a long-time technocrat in the central economic bureaucracy, Bo was also the author of one of the most insightful books on CCP policy-making process. Ruogan zhongda juece yu shijian de huigu (Remembrance of certain important policies and events) is truly a must read for all serious students of Chinese politics.

The key question now is whether this will have any impact on the son's political career, especially on the eve of the 17th Party Congress. While I think it would have been better for the elder to hang on for a few months, Bo junior seems to be on-track for a promotion either to Vice Premier spot or State Councilor. Dad's passing away and Jiang's weakening position will cause a problem for junior on the party side. While I think Bo Xilai has enough political capital to get into the Politburo at the 17th, we might see the emergence of some kind of scandal involving him or his underling after the 17th which effectively will halt future advancements. I think it remains an open question whether he will make it to the PSC. On the other hand, if he is smart, he has already consolidated his ties with Zeng Qinghong, whose control of the security apparatus gives him enormous political leverage. With Zeng's backing, Bo may emerge as a leading contender for the top job at the 18th PC. Things would then get very interesting. At the 17th, you might see this outcome: if Hu asks for either Li Keqiang or Li Yuanchao to be "helicoptered" into the PSC, Zeng will bargain to have Bo Xilai or Xi Jinping (both princelings) "helicoptered" into the PSC. Okay, enough speculation for one day.

Obituaries: Bo Yibo, last of Chinese Communist Party's 'immortals'

By Joseph Kahn
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bo Yibo, the last of the "Eight Immortal" Communist Party leaders who steered China through a politically volatile shift from Maoism to the market-oriented economic boom of today, died Monday, the official Xinhua press agency announced Tuesday evening. He was 98.

As one of the elderly but immensely influential party veterans who hovered above the country's appointed leadership in the 1980s and 1990s, Bo helped the paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, overcome elite opposition to capitalist- style economic reforms.

Also like Deng, who died in 1997, Bo had little tolerance for political liberalization. He played an important role in purging Hu Yaobang, a popular party boss who favored faster political change, in 1987. He also defended the army crackdown on opposition protesters in Beijing in 1989, which left hundreds of people dead.

Bo was a member of an informal group of eight senior Communist Party leaders who were purged during Mao's Cultural Revolution but experienced a second political life after Deng's return to power in 1978.

All had participated in the Long March, the grueling 8,000-kilometer, or 5,000-mile, flight from Nationalist forces that saved the party from annihilation in China's civil war, and all supported, though to varying degrees, the policy of "reform and opening" that laid the foundation for China's newfound prosperity.

Bo protected the Communist Party's monopoly on power even as he embraced ideologically variable ideas for enlivening the economy, a mix of rigidity and flexibility that has helped the party stay in control despite its internal upheavals and the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

His death is not likely to mark an end to the tradition of retired party leaders' intervening in the affairs of the younger officials. But he was among the last of the Long March veterans whose unassailable revolutionary credentials meant that they could anoint a young official for higher office or help topple a seemingly entrenched party boss who offended his elders.

The subject of political gossip for many years, Bo lived long enough to see the party evolve into a more institutionalized and bureaucratic entity that does not hang to the same degree on the whispered whims of its elders. Today young people rarely discuss high-level politics, and the few remaining Long March survivors who served in high office are generally ignored.

But his influence has been passed on to a new generation. He is the father of Bo Xilai, the commerce minister, and is thought to have cut political deals to help his son rise up the hierarchy.

A native of Shanxi province in the northwest, Bo joined the Communist Party in 1925, when he was 17. After run- ins with Nationalist police during party organizing activities in the eastern part of the country, he helped the retreating Communists establish a stronghold in Shanxi.

During World War II, Bo set up the Shanxi Suicide Squad, a guerrilla group that fought Japanese troops then occupying China. He also lured a powerful Shanxi-based warlord, Yan Xishan, into the Communist Red Army, boosting its military strength by 200,000 troops.

When the Communists took power in 1949, Bo served as the first finance minister. He held numerous similar posts, including deputy prime minister under Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, until early 1965, when he was condemned as a "rightist" for supporting open trade with Western countries.

During the ensuring Cultural Revolution, he and his family were sent to prison and lived in miserable conditions for nearly 15 years. His wife was beaten to death in custody.

Deng returned him to his old post of deputy prime minister in 1979. Bo helped implement policies that permitted broader trade and investment flows and allowed some entrepreneurial economic activity. He also became one of Deng's top political lieutenants. He was also a lead author of a definitive early party history published in 1993.

Bo supported crackdowns on intellectuals and dissidents in the 1980s and he backed Deng's decision to remove Hu Yaobang from his position as party general secretary in 1987. Bo wrote a lengthy report, called Document No. 3, that accused Hu of favoring "bourgeois liberalization," a code word for Western-style political change.

After Deng ordered troops to open fire on unarmed protesters in and around Tiananmen Square in June, 1989, Bo threw his weight behind the crackdown. He also backed Deng when die-hard Marxists tried to reassert control over economic planning in the aftermath of the shootings. Some party officials says his support for continued market-oriented reforms may have proved essential at a time when Deng's health and prestige were fading.

Bo was thought to have supported President Jiang Zemin in the 1990s. But his focus may have shifted to leveraging his remaining influence to help his son.

, Bo Xilai, rise up the ranks of provincial leaders $B!=(B he served as mayor of Dalian and governor of Liaoning Province before being promoted to Commerce Minister in 2004.

The younger Bo is viewed as a possible candidate for deputy prime minister and perhaps a seat on the Politburo Standing Committee after the 17th Party Congress to be held later this year. But as the "princeling" son of an influential elder he had to overcome opposition within a party that formally frowns on nepotism.

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