Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Rewarding Thuggish Behaviour

Shandong Party Secretary Jiang Yikang going through the motions
In the countdown to the once-in-a-decade leadership change, there's lots of speculation about who will be taking up some of the seats in the Politburo Standing Committee, a small clique that rules China.

Word is out that the top Communist Party chief in Shandong is set to replace Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang in Chongqing who took over after Bo Xilai's spectacular ouster in mid-March.

Jiang Yikang has apparently been named by Vice President Xi Jinping himself to succeed Zhang, but no timetable has been set yet on when the transition will take place.

Fifty-nine-year-old Jiang is said to be a protege of former vice president Zeng Qinghong, head of the so-called princeling faction, of which Xi and Bo are members.

If Jiang does become party secretary of Chongqing, then he will most likely secure a seat in the party's Politburo.

While all this horse jockeying takes place, it seems blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng's requests of an investigation have gone unheeded.

In his videotaped message, he specifically asked Premier Wen Jiabao to investigate into the thugs who had built walls surrounding his house and harassed people trying to visit him.

And nothing, at least not reported in the media, has happened.

That means the central government condones what Shandong authorities are doing to Chen and in fact get rewarded -- with a promotion.

Surely Chen should realize by now the central government never means what it says in order to preserve its own skin.

Meanwhile there's an interesting development where veteran party members are calling for the sacking of Zhou Yongkang who heads security, police and spy network, and was Bo's patron. Zhou has also managed to receive a domestic security budget that surpasses the military one.

In an open letter to President Hu Jintao, they claim Zhou is part of the movement to revive the era of Mao Zedong.

However there are other reports that because Zhou is retiring, they letting him save face by not publicly firing him, as he holds many secrets of other top leaders due to his intelligence portfolio.

It's all very murky, but one thing is clear -- Beijing was very aware of what Shandong was doing to Chen and reward handsomely for obedience instead of rule of law.

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