Image credit: James Griffiths
Writing in the Asia Times, Francesco Sisci examines the growing rift between leftist supporters of disgraced ex-politburo grandee Bo Xilai, and those around not-as-squeaky-clean-as-he’d-like-to-pretend soon to be ex-Premier Wen Jiabao.
It may have been just a coincidence, but the publication of allegations about the Wen family’s business interests through an American newspaper is bound to weaken the premier as the CCP prepares for the trial of Bo, against whom Wen did battle. Or the announcement of Bo’s expulsion could have been a ploy by the Chinese government to reduce the impact of the expected attack against Wen.
Bo also wanted to bring China back to the principles of Mao, cutting opportunities for private companies and concentrating power and money in the state. This strategy could have lead to a systemic greater corruption within the Chinese state, given the inefficiency of state-owned enterprises.
In a country whose political culture is shrouded in layers of suspicion and conspiracy theory, people are looking at who could have helped the two news organization in their work. It is more difficult in China than in Western countries to navigate the jungle of papers and financial statements as well public records without a guide or a hint as to where to look. Therefore, some people in Beijing believe it is likely that both the New York Times and Bloomberg were coached or helped in their research by men with an ax to grind against Xi and Wen. It could be an indication that people close to Bo are not yet ready to give up their fight.
As the offensive against allegedly corrupt leaders moves on to the next illustrious target, it could affect even President Hu Jintao.
Alexis Lai, at CNN, examines the various factions that make up the modern Chinese Communist Party (CPC):
The Chinese Communist Party is broadly divided between informal “elitist” and “populist” coalitions, according to China expert and Brookings Institution analyst Cheng Li. Other analysts conceive of the split in different terms, such as between liberal-minded reformist and conservative hard-liner camps.
Some politicians have sought to round out their resumes with credentials across geographic and socioeconomic lines. Bo famously adopted a populist approach invoking Mao nostalgia during his tenure as party secretary of Chongqing, while Xi Jinping — widely expected to become China’s next president — left a prestigious post in Beijing to work in rural Hebei for three years.
Li says the populists are currently led by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, who have accordingly promoted policies such as eliminating agricultural taxes, developing inland cities and promoting affordable housing.
Hu’s heir apparent, Xi, is a princeling, whereas Wen’s likely successor, Li Keqiang, represents the tuanpai.
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