Friday, 30 August 2013

The Next Fall Guy

Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai wearing Chinese official casual uniforms
For the past week, all the talk has been about Bo Xilai's trial.

And while we are waiting for the verdict, one of his biggest supporters is being taken down by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Former security chief Zhou Yongkang, 70, is being investigated for corruption, making him the highest-ranking official to be targeted for graft.

Over a year ago there were rumours Zhou would fall, but with the transition of power and Xi needing time to amass his authority, it was only a matter of time before Zhou, one of the nine who used to be on the Standing Committee would be put in his place.

It was Zhou who ardently defended Bo when Gu Kailai was accused of murdering Briton Neil Heywood, and that Bo may have tried to protect her from investigation.

This raised eyebrows at the time, but being such a senior person, perhaps Zhou was not someone to be messed with.

After all it was he who was responsible for reforming the police force and then took over the party's political and legislative committees, responsible for China's courts, police, paramilitary, and domestic state security and spying agencies.

Is there anyone left to stand up and defend Zhou?
However, Zhou's insistence on saving Bo -- with the added rumour of wanting to use him in a political coup -- got Zhou into trouble and an investigation into his dealings, particularly in the oil industry already began over a year ago.

But it was only now after Xi apparently got the blessing of Zhou's mentor, former President Jiang Zemin, that this investigation is now out in the open.

The political manoeuvering to accomplish this is definitely an impressive feat and we'll have to see how Zhou intends to fight back.

This latest development is part of Xi's ongoing campaign against corruption. Many thought or hoped it would last a few months, but now that he has scooped up Zhou, he has really caught a "tiger", and not just the "flies".

Many China experts believe the anti-corruption drive is a vehicle for Xi to root out his adversaries and not really reform the system. Corruption is pervasive throughout the system, and either Xi has no ability or interest in fixing it, or he really is out to get his enemies.

And so it goes, Chinese history repeating itself and not really moving forward.

The government may be super rich with over four trillion in US Treasury Bills, but it is bankrupt when it comes to integrity.

No comments:

Post a Comment