The final transfer of power is taking place and the Xi administration will be in full power come the start of next week. This meeting of the NPC marks Xi’s take over of the government in China. This takeover gives him the title, that Chinese leaders favor when abroad, of President. Having taken power in the CCP last fall he gained party control but with taking power of the government he gains control over the policy making body of China. While the party tells the government what to do the government still makes the legislation a reality.
With this final passing of power came statements from the outgoing leaders that show a possible change in policy. The most notable statements coming from former premier Wen Jiabao. The article states, “Wen Jiabao signaled that leaders would no longer emphasize growth at all costs, and instead put priority on social programs alongside economic development.” While this a speech coming from the outgoing administration and Xi Jinping has the full capability to let Wen’s words float away in the wind, party continuity has always been a huge factor when it comes to policy China.
The world has seen modern China as a land where economic advancement and growth are paramount above all else and this has served them well. Tens of millions have been pulled out of poverty. China has more billionaires and millionaires than ever before. Their military’s budgets have never been larger and their increased capabilities and potency are to show for this modernization. However, now that all of this pulling and progression has been done it needs to be sustained and that, I think, is going to be a much harder task than modernization. China’s income inequality has never been bigger. The top ten party officials in the CCP have more wealth than the entirety of the US Congress combined. The mega cities of China are constantly flirting with the edge of sustainability. Environmental concerns are rampant both in the cities and the country side and above all corruption charges for party officials are at an all time high.
Domestic issues could sink the ship that the CCP has painfully built over the last 64 years. However, for this these issues to truly be addressed and solved the leaders of China will have to confront policies that have never been challenges and possibly some sacred tenets in its ideology. The ball is now completely in Xi’s court and over the next ten years we will see what kind of game he is willing to play.
I think that this incident speaks towards the point that He Di, from my previous post, was trying to make. The Chinese governmental structure has allowed for too much division between the various levels. This concept and presence of “jiefang” is a clear indicator of that. Here provincial level party leaders have special thugs to go about suppressing any possible grievances from reaching the central government. Through the use of “jiefang” these leaders are able to keep their records as squeaky clean as possible.
My only complaint with this is the belief that the higher up party leaders are unaware of the true nature of “jiefang”. If you know anything about Chinese politics, you are aware that climbing the political ladder is done through appointment and for this to be done one needs to have a clean record. Some of the leaders have come up from the provincial level undoubtedly aware of the “jiefang” either through contacts with other leaders or direct use to of them to push their political rise. I think 180 turn of this event was just a last act of saving face, even though the action itself says more to the true nature of CCP cover ups.
While this article was dated for the 18th National CPC Congress the point that is trying to be conveyed is still applicable. The man who is being interviewed, He Di, is trying to say that the Hu Jintao Administration has been a setback for China and reformist in China. This section in particular stood out to me, “Leaders are isolated from their mid-level officials, each bureaucracy is siloed from the next, and there is no framework to mediate their interests or debate the wider merits of any particular proposal, he says. And once they started back down the old road of central planning, high-ranking officials grew addicted to the power it brought them. “The current leaders have really disappointed because I don’t know what they believe,” says He. “They were educated by the party, the old doctrines of Marxism, yet they lack growth experiences at the grassroots. They are really engineers who still want to enjoy the dividends from the previous generation leadership.” The statement that He is making drives home a point that I can’t help but agree with. In a bureaucracy as large as China’s, the compartmentalization of the hierarchical structure of the CCP is bound to happen and He is making a statement that because of this division policy is less than consistent and effective. It seems that moves under the Hu administration have been band aids for bullet wounds. The fear of repercussion, either from within the party or the ever more connected citizens of China, kept Hu from making tough decisions. This has produced a vague and murky ruling elite that are tough to politically gauge.
However, since the National Congress is now over and the next generation of leaders haven been chosen, what will happen to China now? Will Xi’s administration remain as vague as the Hu’s? Is it possible for Xi to keep hard line policies on the back burner with so many critical issues facing the CCP and China today? I think not. I think the “dividends” the He said the Hu administration had been riding on have run out. I feel that regardless of whether Xi will fall with the New Left or New Right, he will have to make tough decisions that Hu never did and this will allow him to be an easily identifiable Party Secretariat. I think that the demons of accountability and transparency are knocking at the upper levels of the CCP’s door and sooner or later they will have to answer.
Social Network reacts to new politburo line up. Food for thought.
Finally the wait is over! The new standing committee of the politburo presented itself today for the first time to the press. The closing ceremonies of the 18th National Congress were last night but today the Politburo met for the first time. The only real change as far as the committee is considered was taking the number of members from 9 to 7. The picks for the politburo provided for no real surprise but have their work cut out for them. China has territorial disputes with most of the major East Asian nations, cracks are showing in its economy and the CCP has been rocked by scandal over the last year regarding corruption. This committee will have to come out of the gates running if it wants to make its first year a success. For now we will have to see how these new leaders handle the many problems facing China and the CCP to see what it will be like for the next decade.
“intra-party democracy” is what this policy change is being referred to among the party. While democracy in western terms is not necessarily present for the people, the CCP does seem to be creating avenues for its citizens to air their grievances. Now that delegates can propose changes and are required to vote, not only is a more aware and responsible delegate needed but this creates actually politics in the Chinese political sphere. Now when policy changes are needed to be made votes are required for a final ruling by the standing committee. While the final say is done by the standing committee, at least there is voting taking place. However, I see this causing much more division between the new left and new right within the CCP. Not only will this create “intra-party democracy” but intra-party politics. These divisions mean there is an actual choice to be made for future delegates and the policies they will propose. As much as western media would have you believe that the one party system in China provides for little political depth, moves like these that trickle down some of the power are creating actual diversity Chinese politics. For now it looks like the cracks of much needed political division seems to be getting a little wider in the CCP.
Looks like the Tibetan Autonomous Region delegation is not afraid to bring up the controversial topic of self immolation that has been taking place frequently in the last year. Like the article states, most of these acts of self immolation have taken place outside of Tibet but they have been in communities that are known for their sympathies towards Tibet. The rhetoric of this delegation is extremely hard line but then again that is to be expected at this congressional meeting with the world watching. China has always referred to the Dalai Lama as an international criminal and now is being used as the scapegoat for this recent rise in self immolation. Both sides have their claims of atrocities committed by the other. The Dalai Lama and his followers claim a systematic destruction is being carried out on Tibetan culture to encourage assimilation into Han China. While the Tibetan delegation and the CCP in general believe the Dalai Lama “clique” is instigating separatist/terrorist acts. The delegation even tried to use the Buddhist believe in the value for life and non violence but failed to acknowledge the history of self immolation and how it has been used by Buddhists across the world to protest oppression. For now, the Tibetan delegation and the CCP will try and put the blood of these deaths on the hands of the Dalai Lama but this will not stop these acts. I believe they will continue regardless of what the CCP says until actions are actually taken towards loosening the grip on the Tibetan region. However, the 18th National Congress is nowhere to take soft line stance on any issue regarding sovereignty in one of China’s many autonomous regions.
Finally the day we have all been waiting for! The opening of the 18th National Congress of the CPC took place today. For the next week, we will see what the standing committee or politburo will look like and what the agenda for the next decade will look like both for the CCP and China. Soon to be former General Secretariat of the CCP, Hu Jintao, gave the opening speech. This page includes the highlights of his rather long speech. Nothing really stands out to me expect for the portion on “Party Building”. Everything else being said was not much of a surprise to anyone who has been following China for a while but Hu really used an almost fearful rhetoric when talking about corruption. He even went as far to say, “If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the Party, and even cause the collapse of the Party and the fall of the state.” I think this shows the level of problems that the party has to deal with since the public image of the CCP has taken a beating with the Bo Xilai scandal and the New York Times article highlighting the incomes of top CCP members. I feel that his tone was completely necessary to at very least make it seem like measures will be taken other than just sacking members that got caught. You can be assured of continued coverage of the Congressional meeting throughout the week.
A good starter article but I would have liked for it to go more in depth. I know very little about women in Chinese politics for the vary reason that the article is presenting, women are simply not present. However, a point that the article left out is that the majority of Chinese college graduates are now women. This leads me to believe that in the coming years, with the majority of China’s college educated people being women, the Chinese political sphere could begin to be filled more and more with women. With more women completing their college education I would think that their goals and ambitions will differ from the generation of women before them and this will most likely include political ambitions. I feel that just by numbers Chinese women will begin to penetrate the Chinese political sphere and eventually the upper echelons. However, who knows what the transitional phase will look like in the coming years. It could be one of the bigger hurdles that the CCP will have to jump but once it does the CCP will be better for it. Who knows, maybe Liu Yandong will pave the way for Chinese women in politics.
Also, if being able to throw back a few drinks with the guys after work is the main thing keeping women out politics in China then the boys better prepare themselves for some thirsty women.
关系！ If you have taken a class or read about Chinese politics, you have most likely run across the term guanxi or in English relationship/connection. Seems like the cat is out of the bag on the true nature of guanxi in the upper echelons of the CCP. As the article states the combined wealth of the top 70 members of the National People’s Congress is $89.8bn. This number is extremely startling to me. I was aware that, like in most countries, the top leaders were wealthy but I was not aware it was this level of wealth. As stated in a previous post, Wen Jiabao pocesses 2.7bn of that total sum. For a top official and overall government that claims to cutting back on corruption, it seems that there is a lot of work to be done. It will be interesting to see what the release of these numbers means for the new generation of leaders that will take power next Thursday, Nov. 8. Will the financial books for China’s leaders finally be transparent or will the leaders now just have to be more creative in hiding their wealth?