Hu in new bid to tighten screws on rival faction, by Chua Chin Hon of the Straits Times:
One has died from an undisclosed illness while another is already behind bars on corruption charges. But there appears to be no let-up in Chinese President Hu Jintao’s attempts to put the squeeze on members of the rival Shanghai faction, a group of senior leaders and officials allied with his predecessor Jiang Zemin.
News emerged in recent days that Mr Wang Weigong, the former political secretary of deceased vice-premier Huang Ju – a top protege of Mr Jiang – had been arrested in mid-July for his involvement in a massive pension fund scandal in Shanghai.
The scandal, which involved the illegal use of billions of yuan in pension funds to bankroll infrastructure projects, has already brought down Chen Liangyu, the former top official in Shanghai. Chen, who is also closely allied to Mr Jiang, is now in jail awaiting trial. In Chinese politics, the downfall of a major political figure is often foreshadowed by the detention of his secretary.
China’s economic revival is minted in counterfeit, by Howard French of the International Herald Tribune:
As vital as it has been to national revival, Deng’s dictum is also a key to understanding the widespread culture of industrial counterfeiting and fraud in China. The dirty little secret here is that these practices have thrived in significant part because city, county and provincial level governments have found it convenient to have things work this way.
When the least protest arises on the streets of Shanghai, the police turn out in force to clear the streets and arrest the demonstrators. How else to explain that the main streets of the central city here teem with people flogging counterfeit goods of every description, rarely provoking even a raised eyebrow from the authorities?
When growth is elevated to godliness, it is the froth in the economy and the jobs that it creates that count most, not niceties like intellectual property or fussy product safety details.
Corruption: China’s mushrooming problem, by Peter Walker of the Guardian:
If official dishonesty is rife in cities, it is practically unchecked in the countryside, where local party bosses – many miles away from any oversight – have always wielded great power.
Anger over corruption, especially the seizure of land without compensation for sale to developers, has sparked a number of violent confrontations between rural people and officials in recent years. In December 2005, an unknown number of villagers in the southern province of Guangdong were shot dead by police.
Corruption is felt especially keenly among country dwellers, who already feel they have missed out on China’s economic boom – average incomes for the 700 million or so people living in rural areas remain around one third of those in the cities.
The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, who presents himself as an ascetic, disciplined figure with little interest in the trappings of power, has put himself at the forefront of anti-corruption measures.
Image of previous Shanghai chief Chen Liangyu from Håvard does Shanghai: Chen is currently in jail pending trial and may be sentenced to death for corruption. Interestingly, a search for his images on Baidu returned no results.