Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Closer Look at Internal Politics of China

On my last posting, I shared information on the increased military spending by China. What I forgot to reflect on was that this announcement was made on the eve of one of the largest National People's Congress meeting in China's parliament. The clever decision to make the announcement right before 3000 delegates from all over China meet at the Great Hall of The People is the surprise. Who is China's top decision maker trying to impress by this announcement???

When I look at Hu Jintao's power base, it still seems shaky as right now there are still a large number of Jiang Zamin's men still in powerful positions. One news source The Hindu's Pallavi Aiyar stated that "this NPC session will be the last before the 17th Communist Party Congress this autumn, when a leadership reshuffle is expected to be announced leading to a further cementing of President Hu Jintao's power base."

What will this leadership reshuffle mean for China's future? or a better questions is will there be a leadership reshuffle? Can Hu Jintao weed out Jiang Zamin's men from power and install his men in those positions??? We will have to wait and see about this as more action plays out in China at this present NPC meeting and this coming autumn.

One important note I want to end on is how will this effect Tibet. The current dialogue between China and the Tibetan envoys resulted in nothing substantial, so can we expect a change in China's stand on Tibet if the internal politics of China plays out in favor of Hu Jintao.

1 comment:

Rich Felker said...

I think you're right that China's in for some shake-ups, but I just don't understand the internal politics enough to know what to think. On the outside, Hu seems to be very much an enemy of Tibet. After all he's the one who declared martial law in Lhasa and who was ultimately (at least from a moral standpoint, in my opinion) responsible for the deaths and imprisonment and torture of people involved in the protests then.

On the other hand, with the way the corruption and loyalty game power structures work in China, it's really difficult to tell what's actually in the hearts of the people in power. It's very possible that all they really care about is how to do what makes them look best to the next person up the chain of power, so as to amass more favor and ultimately power. In this view, it's very sad and insulting that the lives of Tibetans are worth so little that ambitious Chinese are willing to kill and commit atrocities not for any ideological reason but just for the sake of their own selfish hunger for power. But it's also in a way hopeful, in that if the prevailing attitudes and international pressure shift, these same people who've done horrible things might change what they're doing if they see it as politically beneficial - if they feel like they might be in political danger versus their opponents within the internal Chinese politics.

Vibhu posted on ChinaSpy links to a review of this new book, China Lies and Fantasy, which seems like it has a lot to do with the issues we're discussing. Perhaps we should find and read it and follow up with a review or assessment of the book or a reexamination of the questions we're looking at now in light of what James Mann has to say.