Yawei Liu of The Jamestown Foundation examines the “innovations” of Chongqing’s Bo Xilai and the public brinksmanship between himself and Guangdong’s Yang Wang as both maneuver for a seat on the CCP Politburo’s Standing Committee in 2012:
Bo Xilai’s unprecedented politicking and Wang Yang’s open counteroffensive have established new political dynamic in China, and revealed fractures beneath the surface. It is unclear and may be too early to say if Bo Xilai and Wang Yang represent two interest groups or political forces in China, but it would appear that Chinese scholars and social commentators are lining up behind one or the other (Li Cheng, “China’s Team of Rivals,” Foreign Policy, March 1, 2009). People with more liberal ideas are supporting Wang Yang and those who identify with the “New Left” and Maoists are vociferous in their support of Bo. The public emergence of such factions representing different interests of the society—rather than different ideological leanings—may prove a good development for the future of China’s politics.
For China watchers, it is exhilarating to see what usually happens behind the high walls of Zhongnanhai come out in the open. Every developing and developed nation has to balance development with social justice, and China is no exception. To have vigorous debate among decision makers on this issue is necessary and to take it to the people in the style of a political campaign is a must in any open society. Bo Xilai and Wang Yang deserve credit for taking their policy differences seriously and appealing to the people for support.
See also Cake Theory: Ideological Divisions and the Future of the CCP, as well as previous CDT coverage of Bo Xilai, Wang Yang and closed-door deliberations on succession at a recent meeting of the CCP’s Central Committee.