Can Hu Jintao Go Beyond The Politics Of ‘Winners Are Kings, Losers Are Bandits’? – Liang Jing
Last week, the Communist Party announced the expulsion of Chen Liangyu from Party and public posts, and handed him over to the processes of law. This development is understood by all, both domestically and abroad, in terms of ¬†the needs of the power struggle over the 17th National Party Conference.¬† However, in a recent interview with reporters, Xia Zanzhong, deputy secretary of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission, went so far as to say that “Chen Liangyu’s serious breach of discipline was quite covert, deceptive and harmful,” implying that Chen had now become his prisoner of war, not because he was Hu Jintao’s political opponent, but because he was so clever and subtle.
It was out of the question that Xia Zanzhong himself believed what he said. It has long been public knowledge that, protected ¬†by Jiang Zemin, the Shanghai Gang, including Huang Ju, Chen Liangyu, and Jiang’s princeling son Jiang Mianheng, did bad things for many years in Shanghai, and were even so bold as to openly confront the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Group. Why then did Xia Zanzhong give such a performance of “no 300 taels of silver here”? It only shows that Hu Jintao and his supp¬≠orters in the party are aware that attacking their political opponents in the name of pun¬≠ishing corruption is drawing censure.
Why did Hu and his supporters take this step, if they felt it was bound to be criticized? Hu’s sympathizers may say that Chen Liangyu, a lackey fed by Jiang, was an un¬≠reasoning thug who had repeatedly challenged Hu’s authority under Jiang’s protection, so this heavy-handed move of Hu’s was a last resort. Moreover, Chen Liangyu was actually guilty of many crimes. Hu’s detractors may quite legitimately claim that, if investigated with the same methods and punished according to the same yardstick, not only would a large number of CPC officials have to step down, but Jiang himself would be purged. Hu Jintao’s political trick of, on the one hand, lauding Jiang Zemin to the skies, while on the other taking Chen Liangyu down, is less than con¬≠vin¬≠cing.
Hu Jintao may in fact have had no choice but¬† to take neutral stand and praise Jiang Zemin on the one hand while eliminating Chen Liangyu on the other. After all, the rules of the political game are often not chosen by a single party. Jiang Zemin is someone without a moral baseline, is it not asking Hu Jintao to commit political suicide to demand, while his own political strength is wanting, that he act as a “great,” not a “mean” man?
So what is Hu’s political philosophy in his heart of hearts? When his position is sufficiently consolidated will it be possible for him to transcend the traditional political culture of “winners are kings, losers are bandits” and introduce modern political civilization into China’s power game? Unfortunately, Hu’s record over the past five years, especially toward civil dissidents and human rights defenders, gives us no cause for optimism.The regime has recently launched a new round of suppression of non-governmental organizations. Founding editor of the China Development Brief, Nick Young, who has always dealt with the Chinese government in good faith and advocated cooperation with it, became a target of this suppression.
Although China Development Brief was banned on the charges of “violating China’s law on statistics and carrying out illegal investigations,” it is clear to all that this was a tech¬≠nical excuse. The case that best displays the gangster political ideas pf the regime is the ¬†”illegal publishing crimes” of Guo Feixiong. China’s security departments, which have adopted all manner of illegal means to persecute rights-protection crusader Guo, arrested him 10 months ago on “illegal publication” charges, and tortured him; according to his revela¬≠tions, 90% of the questions and matters said to be related had nothing to do with him, but were connected with his involvement in the “Taishi Village” rights-protection case. Despite 10 months of detention and use of heinous, despicable interrogation methods, when the case came on earlier this month it could not continue for need of “supplementary evidence.”
Such cases of “ruling the land through the law” have not diminished but gained in intensity over Hu’s five years in power. What reason have people to believe that after purging his political opponents he will bring in civilized politics? Moreover, how can he not be making more enemies for himself with his stale political code?