Sunday, August 12, 2012

China's Government Has Everything Under Control. Right?

"Power comes out of the barrel of a gun."  Mao Zedong
"The only children of the first generation (those who fought with Mao against the Japanese) who aren't really rich are Mao's own children." Current Chinese saying
The word is that (like his predecessor, Jiang Zemin) Hu Jintao will probably retain control of the Army for two more years after he steps down as party leader.
Because of the preparations made by Deng Xiaoping, the changing of the guard in 2002 was the first peaceful, well orchestrated government transition in Chinese history.
A  lot is going on in China and this expected stage-managed transition is proving to be a lot more difficult to put together than many thought it would be.
You've heard a lot about Bo Xilai, the princeling who ran Chongqing. But you have to understand his serious trouble came after he went to visit his father's (Yi Bo's) old army group, which was not near Chongqing. This scared some members of the Politburo (the nine most powerful people in China) because everyone knows whoever controls the Army (PLA) controls China.
The new wrinkle is that thanks to Bo Xilai, and to other revelations, the Chinese people know just how rich the second-generation (the princelings) have become. The children of those who fought with Mao against the Japanese control many of the important sources of wealth in China.
(Many Chinese have told me the government has to be repressive or the Chinese people will go out of control. Very few of these people actually believe in communism. Joining the party is the way to get ahead.)
There have also been comments that the Army wants more influence inside the party. There is a tradition that a man is loyal to the leader who made him a general. In most cases they pay fealty to Hu Jintao.
What once was scheduled to be a show of solidarity has to stay cobbled together somehow. If you think China is a monolithic entity where everything always goes smoothly, you may want to keep your eyes on the news. There is a lot that needs to be buried before the turnover.

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