From AsiaNews’ report we discovered that all the fun stuff happens in Shanghai while we are on vacation:
Shanghai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Shanghai residents have seized the opportunity to take to the streets to protest against corruption after the sacking of some of the city’s top Communist Party bosses. Chen Liangyu, Shanghai’s party secretary, and other officials have lost their job on charges of corruption and this has inspired city residents to air unresolved grievances
Hundreds of residents from the south-west Minhang district blocked a section of a major road last Friday and Saturday. Police ended it detaining four organisers of the protests, which residents had originally planned to hold for several days. Why take to the streets? Residents claim local officials underestimated compensation money paid out to locals forced to relocate to make way for the expansion of the domestic Hongqiao airport.
Separately, about 30 haemophiliacs and their families protested on September 28 outside the main Shanghai government building in the heart of the city. They claim they were infected with HIV from a tainted blood product sold by a Shanghai research institute in the 1990s. Although the city has agreed to set up a fund for local residents infected by the tainted blood product, it excluded non-residents.
Similarly, a long-running protest by pensioners over what they say are inadequate social security benefits has led to a protest march on September 27.
And remember, the corruption scandal isn’t over yet: here in Hong Kong, the media is slightly shifting its attention towards Liu Hongwei (刘红薇), who was once the assistant party secretary in Shanghai, but is no longer. She, like Chen Liangyu, has fallen from grace and is probably up in Beijing “assisting the investigation” into Chen’s alleged crimes. She’s a key figure in determining what happens to Chen because she controlled the money, which means that she must have known or been involved in the illegal use of money from the pension fund that got all the Shanghai officials in hot water.
Details of their love affair are not many, but it has been mentioned often that she and Chen are often dance partners and we all know it takes two to
siphon off public money for private purposes tango.
Now that dredging up the dirt on Chen is the popular game in town, both TV and print media are talking about his affair with the 179cm-tall Ma Yanli, considered China’s first famous model. In fact, the report suggests that having another woman is almost something expected of officials once they become powerful enough. Is it like a status thing? Leonard Di Caprio dates models, and look, so can I? The report stated that the former richest man in Shanghai, Zhou Zhengyi (who just got out of jail at the beginning of the year), once gave a luxury home to Ma (or one of Chen’s other women) for just 1 RMB per square meter. Now that’s high-class brown-nosing.The above report also mentions that the pension fund scandal is rumored to involve at least 100 officials, which means that it’s pretty darn serious, much more than the Chen Xitong case in Beijing. A lot of heads are going to roll.
And what about the question of who replaces Chen Liangyu? Right now speculation is centered around the head of the Organization Department (中共中央组织部) — He Guoqiang (贺国强). What this means is that Han Zheng is only going to be a temporary replacement for Chen Liangyu and, furthermore, freeing up his spot in the Organization Department will mean that Hu Jintao will be able to place another one of his allies in the vacated position. Shanghaiist personally doesn’t know how plausible this analysis is, we just read and translated what was written here (which might not be accessible from within China).
Photo of Liu Hongwei from people.com.cn and photo of Ma Yanli from fuzhuang.com.cn