Posts tagged ‘politics’


How Modi Has Moved Into Kejriwal’s Space – India Real Time – WSJ

The capital of the world’s largest democracy, which has been under president’s rule for the best part of a year, is set for a fresh election.

There’s no firm date yet for the high-stakes Delhi polls, but for one man the stakes are higher than for most.

Arvind Kejriwal, former chief minister and anti-corruption activist, has what some analysts describe as one last chance to unite his fractious, young party and revive his own flagging political fortunes.

Mr. Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party, which stormed Delhi’s political scene last year with its anti-graft slogans and innovative grass-roots campaign, has struggled to remain relevant since national elections in May, in which it won just four out of 543 parliamentary seats.

In part, analysts suggest, this is because his common man calling card and campaign for a corruption-free India have been appropriated by the leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaving the AAP headman little space to distinguish himself.

Despite their wide economic and ideological differences, Mr. Modi does appear to have encroached on Mr. Kejriwal’s political ground in recent months.

Let’s look at the evidence.

First, the broom. Mr. Kejriwal’s party made the tool of India’s army of sweepers a weapon in his political arsenal.  As AAP’s symbol, the broom was a visual metaphor of the party’s aim to clean up politics in India.

Mr. Modi has taken the metaphor and made it literal. With a broom in hand last month, he promised to literally clean up India. Everyone from Bollywood stars to opposition politicians has taken up brooms to join him in the sanitation program.

via How Modi Has Moved Into Kejriwal’s Space – India Real Time – WSJ.


China Tries to Track the Corrupt Officials Fleeing Abroad – Businessweek

China’s government estimates that the number of corrupt officials who have moved abroad to sidestep the law and safeguard personal fortunes ranges from 4,000 to 18,000 people. The government charged with corruption nearly 7,000 officials whom it suspected were plotting to flee the country from 2008 to 2013,  according to Cao Jianming, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court.

Cao, the People's Republic of China's top prosecutor and investigator

Government data in an online report from the People’s Daily names the U.S. and Canada as the top destinations–dubbed “corrupt paradises”–for emigrating officials. Records from authorities in Toronto and Vancouver show that Canadian customs officials seized $13 million in undeclared cash from arriving Chinese emigrants and tourists from April 2011 to June 2012.

In July, meanwhile, China launched “Operation Fox Hunt” in an effort to locate and prosecute corrupt officials who have moved abroad. Beijing does not have an extradition treaty with Washington. “We face practical difficulties in getting fugitives who fled to the U.S. back to face trial, due to the lack of an extradition treaty and the complex and lengthy legal procedures,” Liao Jinrong, an official at China’s Ministry of Public Security, earlier told China Daily.

via China Tries to Track the Corrupt Officials Fleeing Abroad – Businessweek.


To No End: Why China’s Corruption Crackdown Won’t Be Stopping Soon – China Real Time Report – WSJ

One major question hovering over China’s anti-corruption campaign – already the longest the country has ever seen — is when it’s going to wind down.

According to anti-corruption czar Wang Qishan, who briefed fellow officials on the campaign last week (in Chinese), it won’t be any time soon.

And the major reason for that may well be that Beijing hasn’t yet figured out how to end it.

Wang laid out the anti-corruption strategy in unusual detail during these meetings, supplying a road map that outlined where the campaign had been and where it’s now headed (in Chinese).

Beijing’s anti-graft crusade isn’t just a one-off initiative, but an extended battle which began last year, taking down, as President Xi promised, both high-ranking “tigers” and lower-level “flies.”

And it’s accelerating.  According to an analysis that appeared on the website of the People’s Daily earlier this month, from January to May this year, Wang’s inspection teams disciplined 62,953 people, an increase of 34.7% over the same period the previous year (in Chinese).

In his briefing last week, Wang conceded that the campaign didn’t start all that well.  Indeed, in the early stages of the campaign, Wang said, the sense among his inspection teams was that corruption was buried so deep within China’s political marrow that it couldn’t be defeated, only deterred from growing.  Party officials were only too comfortable with political business as usual, where bribes and personal connections overrode considerations of actual talent when it came to selecting and promoting cadres.

“Some localities and departments, as well as some party organizations saw the pursuit of honest government as not their main responsibility,” Wang said, adding that the only option at that point was to “not allow corrupt elements to gain a foothold” in the few institutions where corruption was not already omnipresent.

The tide turned, he said, when cadres were finally given political cover by Beijing to report on their comrades engaging in corruption, especially those selling access to government officials and offering bribes for promotion.  That routine had become worrisome to Beijing because unqualified and immoral officials were becoming policy-makers.

Moreover, Wang argued, by focusing on specific areas known to be rife with graft—such as land development and real estate projects, mining rights, and public welfare funds—inspectors showed skeptics and potential targets that this campaign was a serious effort to rollback misconduct.

So what’s next?

That’s the tricky part.  Punishing corruption is one thing; preventing its reemergence could be a far-greater problem.  As one Chinese analyst admitted despondently in the pages of the People’s Daily (in Chinese), unless the system is thoroughly reformed, there’s a good chance that “the rot will come back.”

Continuing to press hard against corruption seems to make sense if Beijing’s expanding fight against graft is finally starting to show success and developing the party’s legitimacy as a problem-solver on issues that matter to the masses. But there’s also concern about just how much longer the campaign can be maintained when, as the analysis above notes, there is “a danger of overdoing something, leaving some people in a constant state of anxiety.”

Fear is evidently freezing some officials from becoming more actively engaged in supporting Xi’s call for changes in how the government operates—a passivity that has led to complaints in the Party media (in Chinese).

And there’s a greater danger:  That this effort to tear down corruption is simply dealing with the existing problems and not doing anything about building a new way of decision-making.

As a leading Chinese commentator on the current leadership’s policies put it in the same People’s Daily essay, the real need is “to create a good political environment, allowing officials to devote oneself, heart and soul, to do things, and not focus on the small circle of relationships one has with one’s superiors, doing always what one is told to do.”

That’s an attractive vision, but one that would require a major restructuring of politics in China.

via To No End: Why China’s Corruption Crackdown Won’t Be Stopping Soon – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


‘Fake’ government toppled by Chinese police – Telegraph

It will go down as one of the most audacious attempts at Chinese fakery yet: a bid to forge an entire government.

Police in central China say they have brought down a 'counterfeit government'

That is what police claim happened in Dengzhou, a city 480 miles northwest of Shanghai, in Henan province, with more than 1.5 million inhabitants.

Three of the city’s farmers were this week facing charges of forging official documents after allegedly trying to build a parallel and entirely fictitious government for reasons that remain obscure, the local Dahe News Online website reported.

The “counterfeit government” began operating last September when Zhang Haixin, Ma Xianglan and Wang Liangshuang, three villagers, proclaimed themselves the leaders of the self-styled Dengzhou People’s Government.

The trio reportedly accused the incumbent Communist Party administration of “dereliction of duty” and opened their own headquarters just around the corner from those of the city’s real governors.

via ‘Fake’ government toppled by Chinese police – Telegraph.


China’s plans to control South China Sea; Philippines and Vietnam are just the beginning

Originally posted on China Daily Mail:

Reclamation going on at Johnson South Reef Reclamation going on at Johnson South Reef

The following is a translation from Chinese media:

China believes that it’s reclamation of land on Johnson South Reef can monitor and control three countries – Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. China also believes that the construction of an artificial island will give it control of the sea lanes in the South China Sea.

Chigua Reef, also known as Johnson South Reef, is located roughly in the middle of the area within the nine-dash line claimed by China. Almost all the islands and reefs controlled by China, and some of the islands and reefs occupied by other countries, are at a distance less than 150km from it. This facilitates surveillance of them by future troops stationed there.

According to experts, China monitors the area now via satellites and drones to safeguard China’s sovereignty there. However, the best way of surveillance is…

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The Reluctant Prince of India’s Political Dynasty and His Anticampaign – Businessweek

Whither the House of Gandhi?

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at the district collector's office on April 12 in Amethi, India

The Nehru-Gandhi family has dominated Indian politics since the nation’s independence in 1947, but it now faces a walloping at the polls, possibly its worst ever. While voting in national elections won’t be finished until next month, every indication is the Congress Party—for which a Gandhi presides as president and vice president—will lose the prime minister’s seat and watch its share of parliament thin considerably.

The face of that probable political calamity is Rahul Gandhi, a 43-year-old, good-looking Cambridge man who speaks of the need for a more inclusive political process. And as I’ve heard more than one liberal, middle-class Indian acknowledge with regret in their voices, he’s not much of a public politician.

via The Reluctant Prince of India’s Political Dynasty and His Anticampaign – Businessweek.

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This is why Germany doesn’t want China anywhere near Berlin’s holocaust memorial

Originally posted on China Daily Mail:

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to students during the welcoming ceremony by German President Joachim Gauck at Bellevue palace in Berlin Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to students during the welcoming ceremony by German President Joachim Gauck at Bellevue palace in Berlin

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Germany for the next two days, meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German officials. It’s the third leg of Xi’s European Union trip, and an important one – as Deutsche Welle notes, Germany is China’s most important trade partner in Europe.

There is, however, once place that Xi isn’t wanted during his time in Germany: Berlin‘s famous Holocaust memorial. Der Spiegel reported this month that German authorities had refused a request from Xi’s entourage for an official visit to the site. While the Chinese president may visit the site on his own, it will not be a part of the official itinerary and Merkel will not accompany him.

Visits to the Holocaust memorial, officially known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews…

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A Chinese blogger’s view: China is too sensitive about other countries’ actions

Originally posted on China Daily Mail:

Chinese passengers vent anger over delayed international flight Chinese passengers vent anger over delayed international flight

For many years, the Chinese government has been unstable about its diplomatic direction. A slight change from another country will make a huge difference about the attitude of the Chinese government toward that country.

The same  slight action will also cause huge movement amongst the Chinese people and politicians. Thus, though many years have passed, China has no allies, not even Pakistan and North Korea.

Apart from that, the Chinese have no clear about who are our enemies or who are our friends. Seeing the tiny action of another country, we think that country is our friend.

However, just as quickly, it becomes our enemy. Generally speaking, other countries’ actions have led China into confusion and even a mess of diplomatic ideas.

It is the sensitiveness of the Chinese government that causes us to be trapped, but our government is ill-informed…

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China’s bloody train station attack shows how terrorism is spreading out of Xinjiang

keeper @ chindia-alert:

The map does seem to show that terrorism is moving well outside of Xinjiang into major urban areas.

Originally posted on Quartz:

A group of black-clad men and women armed with long knives killed dozens and injured more than 130 in a train station in Kunming over the weekend, in the latest in a series of violent attacks in China in recent years.

Officials blamed Western China’s Xinjiang Muslim separatists for the attacks, and displayed a banner found at the scene that included the Islamic declaration of faith. But in a stark departure from earlier incidents attributed to the group, it took place far from the Xinjiang, a sign that insurgents are branching out throughout the country in search of soft targets.

Kunming, more than 2,500 miles (4,000 km) from Xinjiang, is the capital of the mountainous, ethnically diverse Yunnan province, without a significant Uighur population of its own. “It shows that Uighurs are, like Chechens in Russia, expressing their discontent throughout the country, not just where they are based,” Dru Gladney…

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The party and the media: Learning to spin | The Economist

T WAS not a typical government press conference. A journalist had asked a mayor some pointed questions about the safety of a paraxylene chemical factory planned for her city—the same type of plant that has prompted environmental protests around China. The mayor dodged the question in standard government-speak when the reporter, a portly man in a checked shirt and blue jeans, rudely interrupted her: “Please answer my question directly.” The room erupted with laughter.

This was, it turns out, a class at the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP) in Shanghai—one of five national schools for training Communist Party members. The “mayor” and the “journalist” were both low-level officials from Zhengzhou, an inland city, simulating a real-life situation in a class teaching functionaries how to cope with today’s media.

The party still exerts firm control when it comes to anything sensitive. But outside politics the media landscape has changed completely. Consumer programmes, investigative reporters and a noisy mix of microbloggers and middle-class NIMBYs are holding the party more to account. The classes at CELAP demonstrate that the leadership has understood what is at stake, even if it is still learning how to deal with it. Some of the party’s biggest recent problems have come from mishandling the newly probing media.

The message of the classes is clear: officials must be more responsive to the press and the public even as they toe the party line. Environmental protests, angry villagers talking to global media and spokesmen stumbling in news conferences have become teaching opportunities.

via The party and the media: Learning to spin | The Economist.

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