Three factions come out in limelight before reshuffle in China

Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao

In its report “Jiang ‘flexing muscles’ via media”, SCMP says, “Former president Jiang Zemin‘s recent unusual and frequent public appearances show he still wields considerable power over the transition to a new leadership later this year, analysts say.”

According to SCMP, Jiang has made three forays into the public eye in one week, all covered by the media: He telephoned the city party chief of his hometown of Yangzhou, in Jiangsu province, following a mild earthquake; sent flowers to the funeral of former propaganda chief Ding Guangen and had a history textbook with his preface published. Broadcaster CCTV carried a report on the book in its prime-time evening news.

In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, there is a section with the heading “China’s Faction Politics” in which, I say, “As mentioned in Chapter 7, a high-ranking official usually appoints and promotes quite a lot of his people to official posts when he is in power. Those people, together with the officials appointed and promoted by them, are bound together by comradeship, friendship and common interests and aspiration. They become a faction led by the high-ranking official.

When the high-ranking official has retired, he still has his faction under his control and thus becomes an elder with great influence. He will interfere for the interests of his faction whenever possible if necessary. When it comes to the decisions at a Party Congress on candidates for members of Central Committee, Politburo and its Standing Committee, Central Military Commissions and Party Secretariat and other senior posts, all the retired elders who have been dormant, will come out to take part in the bargaining behind the scenes. This is because it affects the balance of strength among various factions and concerns the interest of not only them but also the large number of their faction members.”

As for the coming 18th congress, as far back as on January 18, former premier Zhu Rongji broke his silence and gave a 9-minute impromptu speech to Shanghai’s bureau-level officials, in which he recalled his work in Shanghai under the leadership of former President Jiang Zemin and what he once said then: “We will have a satisfactory clean government in Shanghai, and Shanghai will be able to achieve successes however great if only we watch closely our 506 bureau-level officials and give play to their talents.”

Zhu hinted that the current leaders were less competent than leaders of the Shanghai faction with Jiang as their head in overcoming corruption and giving play to officials’ talents. (See my post “The Mystery of Former Premier Breaking Silence” dated January 29). Jiang’s Shanghai faction was the first to come out.

Later, Qiao Shi, 87, published on June 20 his 440,000-character book on democracy and rule of law. Official media gave front-page coverage on the publication, disclosing that editors in the official People’s Daily spent two years in preparing the book. A press conference was held at the Great Hall of the People to promote the book. (See my post “Rule of Law and Democracy Advocator Qiao Shi Returns” dated June 22.)

Since Qiao Shi’s NPC and Legal faction has come out in the limelight, Li Peng, the head of another influential faction, was certainly unwilling to remain out of limelight. On July 11, People’s Daily ran a full-page article about former premier Li Peng’s new books on macroeconomics. (See my post “SCMP: Li Peng’s thoughts get a big airing” on July 12).

Jiang Zemin, the head of the most powerful Shanghai faction, certainly has to give shows now, when internal bargaining for high posts is reaching a fever pitch now. It is not something unusual. Jiang made a similar gesture ahead of the last party congress in 2007.

It is good that factions have come out in the open. The Chinese Communist Party is now too huge, powerful and popular. It has over 80 million members and controls the troops and state-owned economic sector that dominate the Chinese economy. It has greatly raised people’s living standards, established a social security network for over 95% of Chinese people and plans to build 36 million subsidised housing units from 2011 to 2015 for poor urban and migrant workers.

Since it is impossible at present to substitute a multi-party system for the one-party system and since Jiang Zemin has turned the party into a party of the whole people, democracy and human rights fighters have to join the party and strive for intraparty democracy. When the various factions keep on coming out in the open, with intraparty democracy, their competition within the party will become a multi-faction competition similar to the multi-party competition in the West.

My book gives quite a detailed description about the preparations and process of the coup d’état by talented scholars with moral integrity to transform the CCP by substituting intellectuals’ dominance of the CCP for workers’ and peasant’s dominance. Democracy fighters should follow those scholars’ example, join the CCP and transform it for democracy and human rights. That will be a feasible way to achieve democracy in China.

So far there are five major factions in the CCP, Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction, Qiao Shi’s and Li Peng’s factions, Hu Jintao’s CYL (Communist Youth League) faction and Bo Xilai’s conservative factions that advocates Maoism.

In the CCP, democracy fighters can find allies in Qiao Shi’s and CYL factions and have to fight against Bo Xilai’s and Li Peng’s conservative faction. As for the Shanghai faction, I describe in my book a secret meeting of those who might later become its members that they advocated democracy but believed conditions for democracy should be created for democracy when they had seized power.

I believe that the most important conditions are the rule of law and human rights, especially freedom of expression and freedom of press. Therefore, democracy fighters have to fight for the rule of law and human rights that have been written into China’s constitution. They have to learn from Martin Luther King Jr’s example to conduct non-violent struggle for the rule of law and human rights. They have to join the CCP and strive for intraparty democracy which has also been written into the CCP’s constitution.



Categories: Politics & Law

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4 replies

  1. Your insight into the dynamics of the country’s ruling party changes mirrors our own political reformist paradigm (if you can even call it that) and entry into the “reactionary and bourgeois” arena. Rather than fighting and opposing everytime a lot of us are now entering government and slowly changing the government from the inside.

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