Posts tagged ‘Communists’

14/06/2014

‘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.

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13/05/2014

The Communist Party: The gatekeepers | The Economist

IN RECENT days government office-workers around China have been called into meetings to study an article written nearly a quarter of a century ago by an obscure local leader on how to be a good secretary. Its advice—act modestly and don’t abuse your position for profit—would be banal were it not for the job the author now holds. The article was written by the current president, Xi Jinping. Those attending know full well that the purpose of the meetings is not to share tips on how to keep bosses happy, but to focus minds on a bigger issue: that personal assistants to leaders are often hugely powerful and sometimes just as hugely corrupt. And Mr Xi wants to rein them in.

A string of detentions has shed new light on the power of mishu, as these assistants are known. Between June and February, news emerged of investigations into four former mishu of Zhou Yongkang, a retired member of the Communist Party’s supreme body, the Politburo standing committee. Although the party does not say so, it is an open secret that Mr Zhou is the main target of China’s biggest anti-corruption campaign in years. He is the first person of standing-committee rank to face a corruption inquiry since the party came to power in 1949. Mr Xi appears not to want state-controlled media to mention Mr Zhou or his sins until a case against him is fully prepared. But the mishu, along with several other associates of Mr Zhou who have been detained in recent months, have become fairer game.

The alleged offences of the “mishu gang”, as the four have been dubbed in the Chinese press, appear to relate at least partly to activities after they left Mr Zhou’s service. In China a personal assistant to a high-ranking leader is often chosen by the leader himself—sometimes plucked from obscurity—and retains high rank even after his boss has moved to a different job (if he is not taken along to the new post).

There is plenty of scope for corruption as a mishu, because of the control the job gives over access to the leader. There is also great opportunity for acquiring independent power. Mr Zhou’s four former secretaries went on to take up high-ranking positions in government and state-owned business. Knowing the dark secrets of their former bosses gives ex-mishu a useful bargaining chip in acquiring plum jobs. The former bosses can benefit from placing their one-time confidants in positions they wish to influence.

via The Communist Party: The gatekeepers | The Economist.

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08/05/2014

The Mystery Shrouding China’s Communist Party Suicides – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Being a government official in China is not for the faint of heart, the thin-skinned or the fragile of mind.

A recent state media report has reverberated online and in the Communist Party press by revealing that at least 54 Chinese officials died of “unnatural causes” in 2013, and that more than 40 percent of those deaths were suicides (in Chinese).

For some, those numbers raise questions about the burden placed on officials as a result of the Party’s anti-corruption crusade. But others see the recent rash of suicides as further evidence of the lack of political openness in China.

The latest victim was Xu Ye’an, the deputy chief of China’s national-level Bureau for Letter and Calls—the agency that handle petitions from disgruntled citizens. According to local media reports (in Chinese), Xu killed himself in his office, those the circumstances of his death remain unclear.

Then there was Zhou Yu, a senior police official in Chongqing and a major player in the anti-gang crackdown there a few years ago. He was found in a hotel room having apparently hanged himself (in Chinese).

There was also the deputy director of a neighborhood construction management office in a small city in Zhejiang province, who was responsible for overseeing building inspections at a time when an entire apartment building collapsed, was reported to have committed suicide in disgrace (in Chinese).

That Chinese officials have had to deal with pressure is nothing new.

A survey in 2009 found that more than 80% of Party officials reported psychological fatigue and mental imbalance (in Chinese). High-level officials even went so far then to tell the Party-run People’s Tribune about the “five ways to death” facing those who worked in the government: “without fortitude, you’ll scare easily; without a good physique, you’ll die from overwork; without capacity for liquor, you’ll die from drink; without a good disposition, you’ll be worried to death; without a good heart, you’ll die from being angry.”

What is different is that these strains on the rank-and-file appear to have gotten even more oppressive amidst Beijing’s demands that cadres labor harder, govern more effectively, and behave better. As one essay last week noted (in Chinese), the emphasis for officials these days is on “‘work, work, work,’ ‘assessment, evaluation, assessment,’ ‘management, management, management’.” Cadres, according to the author, now resemble “men used as beasts.”

via The Mystery Shrouding China’s Communist Party Suicides – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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07/03/2014

China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist

After a brutal attack in China, the Communist Party needs to change its policies towards minorities

A GROUP of knife-wielding assailants, apparently Muslims from western China, caused mayhem and murder on March 1st in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming, stabbing 29 people to death at the railway station and injuring 140 others. The attack has shocked China. The crime against innocents is monstrous and unjustifiable, and has been rightly condemned by the Chinese government and by America. But as well as rounding up the culprits, the Communist Party must face up to an uncomfortable truth. Its policy for integrating the country’s restless western regions—a policy that mixes repression, development and Han-Chinese migration—is failing to persuade non-Han groups of the merits of Chinese rule.

The party says the attackers were “Xinjiang extremists”, by implication ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic people with ties to Central Asia who once formed the majority in the region of Xinjiang. The killers may have been radicalised abroad with notions of global jihad. Whatever the truth, there is no doubt that Uighurs are committing ever more desperate acts. Scarcely a week passes in Xinjiang without anti-government violence.

The party claims that Xinjiang has been part of China for 2,000 years. Yet for most of that time, the region has been on the fringe of China’s empire, or outside it altogether. An attempt to incorporate these lands began only with the Qing dynasty’s conquests in the mid-18th century. (The name Xinjiang, “new frontier”, was bestowed only in the 1880s.) During the chaos of the 1940s, Uighurs declared a short-lived independent state of East Turkestan. But from 1949 the Communists began integrating Xinjiang into China by force. Demobbed Chinese soldiers were sent to colonise arid lands, the state repression of Uighurs drawing heavily on the Soviet tactics for handling “nationalities”. Uighur resentment of the Han runs deep. The feeling is mutual. Many Chinese are openly racist towards Uighurs, and the government thinks them ungrateful. In 2009 hundreds of people were killed during street fighting between Uighurs and Han, who now make up two-fifths of Xinjiang’s population and control a disproportionate share of its wealth.

Identity crisis

The Kunming killers’ motives may never be known. But fears of militant Islamism arriving at the heart of China must not obscure the broader problem of Chinese oppression in Xinjiang. Recent crackdowns hit at the heart of Uighur identity: students are banned from fasting during Ramadan, religious teaching for children is restricted, and Uighur-language education is limited. Many Uighurs, like their neighbours in Tibet, fear that their culture will be extinguished. Xinjiang and Tibet (and Inner Mongolia) are still China’s colonies, their pacification under the Communist Party a continued imperial project. Were it not for the Dalai Lama’s restraining influence, violence in Tibet might be as bad as it is in Xinjiang. As it is, over 100 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest at Chinese rule.

There is a large military presence in China’s west. The government seems to believe that unless Uighurs and Tibetans are held in check by force, the western regions could break away. That is always a danger. But suppression, which leads to explosions of anger, may increase the risk, not mitigate it.

The only way forward is to show Uighurs (and Tibetans) how they can live peacefully and prosperously together within China. The first step is for the party to lift the bans on religious and cultural practices, give Uighurs and Tibetans more space to be themselves, and strive against prejudice in Chinese society. Economic development needs to be aimed at Uighur and Tibetan communities. Otherwise, there will be more violence and instability.

via China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist.

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28/12/2013

Communist Party orders ‘core socialist values’ on the curriculum | South China Morning Post

Educational institutions – from primary schools to universities – will be a major target of a sweeping Marxist education campaign announced yesterday by the Communist Party.

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The unusually detailed action plan released by the ruling party\’s General Office was seen as an attempt by party boss and President Xi Jinping to fight against public scepticism and fill a perceived moral vacuum opened by decades of breakneck economic growth.

The document called on almost every sector of society – from schools to the media to social organisations to the business community – to promote the so-called socialist core values.

The 24 values, which include prosperity, democracy, social harmony, credibility and rule of law, were detailed by last year\’s national party congress. The values were divided into three groups, known as the \”three advocates\”.

\”Xi is trying to leave his own legacy by pressing the whole society to embrace the \’three advocates\’ with specific action plans for a variety of social institutions,\” said Zhang Ming, a political science professor at Renmin University. \”But the question remains whether the public will buy it. It is impossible to carve them into the brain.\”

In 2006, former party chief and president Hu Jintao similarly released a set of moral principles known as \”eight honours and eight shames\”, which urged cadres to be patriotic, serve the people and follow science.

This latest document called for the core values to be incorporated into the education system, stressing that ideological education from primary schools to universities must be strengthened.

The mass media should be further utilised, with major broadcasters designating specific programmes for spreading socialist ideologies, as well as encouraging more public service advertisements, it said.

Zhang Lifan , a Beijing-based commentator, said the stress on ideology was triggered by controversies that have shaken the party\’s authority, such as the debate over constitutionalism, or making the party subject to an overarching system of laws.

\”The party has lost faith among the public,\” Zhang said. \”And the ultimate fear is that it will lose its power.\”

via Communist Party orders ‘core socialist values’ on the curriculum | South China Morning Post.

24/12/2013

China rules private clubs off-limits for party officials | Reuters

China\’s ruling Communist Party has banned officials from belonging to or visiting private clubs, saying they are often used as venues for illicit deals or sexual liaisons, in the latest move to stamp out pervasive corruption.

President Xi Jinping has pursued an aggressive drive against corruption since coming to power, vowing to pursue high-flying \”tigers\” as well as lowly \”flies\”, warning that the problem is so serious it could threaten the party\’s power.

He has already ordered crackdowns on everything from banquets to funeral arrangements, and has now turned his attention to private clubs, which have proliferated in Chinese cities, ostensibly offering a quiet place for meetings or socializing.

via China rules private clubs off-limits for party officials | Reuters.

09/11/2013

Supporters of China’s disgraced Bo Xilai set up political party | Reuters

Did you know that there are “eight government-sanctioned non-Communist parties, whose role is technically to advise rather than serve as a functioning opposition.”

“Supporters of China\’s disgraced senior politician Bo Xilai, who has been jailed for corruption, have set up a political party, two separate sources said, in a direct challenge to the ruling Communist Party\’s de facto ban on new political groups.

Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai stands trial inside the court in Jinan, Shandong province, August 22, 2013, in this file photo released by Jinan Intermediate People's Court. REUTERS/Jinan Intermediate People's Court/Handout via Reuters/Files

The Zhi Xian Party, literally \”the constitution is the supreme authority\” party, was formed on November 6, three days before the opening of a key conclave of top Communist Party leaders to discuss much-needed economic reforms, the sources said.

It named Bo as \”chairman for life\”, Wang Zheng, one of the party\’s founders and an associate professor of international trade at the Beijing Institute of Economics and Management, told Reuters by telephone.

\”This is not illegal under Chinese law. It is legal and reasonable,\” Wang said.

A second source, who asked not to be identified but who has direct knowledge of the party\’s founding, confirmed the news.

Calls to the Communist Party\’s propaganda department seeking comment went unanswered.

The party announced its establishment by sending letters to the Communist Party, China\’s eight other political parties, parliament and the top advisory body to parliament, Wang said, adding that no ceremony was held.

It also sent a letter to Bo via the warden of his prison informing him that he would be their \”chairman for life\”, she said. It was not immediately clear if Bo would agree.

The party was set up because it \”fully agrees with Mr Bo Xilai\’s common prosperity\” policy, according to a party document seen by Reuters, a reference to Bo\’s leftist egalitarian policies that won him so many supporters.

Asked if party members included Communists, government officials or People\’s Liberation Army officers, Wang said she could not discuss the matter to protect them because it was politically \”sensitive\”.

China\’s constitution guarantees freedom of association, along with freedom of speech and assembly, but all are banned in practice. The constitution does not explicitly allow or ban the establishment of political parties.

Bo, once a rising star in China\’s leadership circles who had cultivated a following through his populist, quasi-Maoist policies, was jailed for life in September on charges of corruption and abuse of power after a dramatic fall from grace that shook the Communist Party.

History suggests the Communist Party will not look kindly on the establishment of this new party, even more so because its titular head is a former member of its own top ranks.

China\’s Communist rulers have held an iron grip on power since the 1949 revolution, though they allow the existence of eight government-sanctioned non-Communist parties, whose role is technically to advise rather than serve as a functioning opposition.

The Communist Party views the founding of opposition parties as subversion.”

via Supporters of China’s disgraced Bo Xilai set up political party | Reuters.

30/09/2013

Xi Jinping hopes traditional faiths can fill moral void in China | South China Morning Post

President Xi Jinping believes China is losing its moral compass and he wants the ruling Communist Party to be more tolerant of traditional faiths in the hope these will help fill a vacuum created by the country’s breakneck growth and rush to get rich, sources said.

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Xi, who grew up in Mao’s puritan China, is troubled by what he sees as the country’s moral decline and obsession with money, said three independent sources with ties to the leadership.

He hopes China’s “traditional cultures” or faiths – Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism – will help fill a void that has allowed corruption to flourish, the sources said.

Sceptics see it as a cynical move to try to curb rising social unrest and perpetuate one-party rule.

A monk in a temple in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. President Xi Jinping wants the ruling Communist Party to be more tolerant of traditional faiths. Photo: Reuters

During the early years under Communism, China’s crime rate was low and corruption rare. By contrast, between 2008 and last year about 143,000 government officials – or an average of 78 a day – were convicted of graft or dereliction of duty, according to a Supreme Court report to parliament in March.

Xi intensified an anti-corruption campaign when he became party and military chief in November, but experts say only deep and difficult political reforms will make a difference.

Meanwhile, barely a day goes by without soul-searching on the internet over what some see as a moral numbness in China – whether it’s over graft, the rampant sale of adulterated food or incidents such as when a woman gouged out the eyes of her six-year-old nephew this month for unknown reasons.

“Xi understands that the anti-corruption (drive) can only cure symptoms and that reform of the political system and faiths are needed to cure the disease of corruption,” one of the sources told Reuters, requesting anonymity to avoid repercussions for discussing elite politics.

via Xi Jinping hopes traditional faiths can fill moral void in China | South China Morning Post.

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24/09/2013

China to audit military officials in move to fight graft

SCMP: “Chinese military officials will have to undergo an audit before they can retire or be promoted, state media reported on Tuesday, in the latest measure in the leadership’s campaign against corruption.

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The audit will encompass officials’ “real estate property, their use of power, official cars and service personnel”, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing a guideline issued by the Central Military Commission.

The guideline aims to improve the “work style” of military officials and fight against graft, the report said.

President Xi Jinping has called corruption a threat to the Communist Party’s very survival, and vowed to go after powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies”.

Xi is also chairman of the Central Military Commission and the country’s top military official.

Military officers who stand to be promoted to regimental commander-level posts and above, as well as those who plan to take up civilian posts or retire, will have to submit to an audit, the report said.

The military began replacing licence plates on its cars and trucks in April in a move to crack down on fleets of luxury vehicles that routinely run red lights, drive aggressively and fill up on free fuel.

Military plates enable drivers to avoid road tolls and parking fees and are often handed out to associates as perks or favours.

via China to audit military officials in move to fight graft | South China Morning Post.

12/03/2013

* China’s Xi flexes muscle, chooses reformist VP

Reuters: “A reformist member of China’s decision-making Politburo, Li Yuanchao, is set to become the country’s vice president this week instead of a more senior and conservative official best known for keeping the media in check, sources said.

Xi Jinping (front), general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and Li Keqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier, arrive at the third plenary meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 10, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

Li’s appointment would be a sign that new Communist Party leader and incoming president Xi Jinping‘s clout is growing, a source with ties to the leadership said. Xi fended off a bid by influential former president Jiang Zemin to install propaganda tsar Liu Yunshan in the job, the source said.

Jiang was a major power behind the scenes in the administration of outgoing President Hu Jintao.

The post of vice president is largely symbolic. However the job would raise Li’s profile, give him a role in foreign affairs and further bolster Xi, who took the top jobs in the party and military at the Communist Party congress in November.

The promotion of Li may also signal a willingness on the part of Xi to pursue limited reforms that Li is known to have advocated in his previous posts, such as making the selection of Communist officials more inclusive.”

via China’s Xi flexes muscle, chooses reformist VP: sources | Reuters.

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