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China’s Leadership Change: The Ongoing Discussion


Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 8, 2012 Last Updated: November 26, 2012
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At the 18th Party Congress, the Chinese regime convenes for its first leadership change in 10 years, in the largest assembly of what is perhaps the largest secret society on the planet. Tune in here to read The Epoch Times’ live updates, delivering the real behind-the-scenes story via our expert analysts and well-placed sources.

(L-R) Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan greet the media at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15, 2012 in Beijing. It took the first Central Committee meeting of the 18th Party Congress 50 minutes to release the names of the next Politburo Standing Committee members. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

(L-R) Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan greet the media at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15, 2012 in Beijing. It took the first Central Committee meeting of the 18th Party Congress 50 minutes to release the names of the next Politburo Standing Committee members. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

A Look at the New Party Leaders:  Xi Jinping * Li Keqiang * Zhang Dejiang * Yu Zhengsheng * Liu Yunshan * Wang Qishan * Zhang Gaoli

Articles: First Steps of Chinese Leader Not Hopeful For Reform   *   Chinese Communist Party Congress Produces Futile Deal  *  Chinese Communist Congress Also Has Its Losers  *   New Chinese Party Leadership Makes Reform Hopes Bleak  *  Chinese Want Democratic Reform First, Official Poll Shows  *  Why the Chinese Communist Party Defies Democracy  New Leadership in Beijing Spells End of Reform  New Rulers of Chinese Communist Party Announced  *  Closing Ceremony of Chinese Communist Party Congress Closed  *  Mother Jailed to Ensure ‘Stable’ Transition in China  *  Petitioners Detained During Party Congress  *  Open Alliance of Power and Money Meets in Beijing  *  Hu Jintao’s Development Objectives Questioned  *  Gordon Chang Predicts Chinese Communist Party’s Collapse  Chinese Human Rights Defender Cao Shunli Arrested  *  Google Search Unblocked Again in China, Less Than 24 Hours Later  Google Search Blocked in China; Likely Over Party Congress  *  What Chinese Communist Democracy Really Looks Like  *  Chinese Netizens Mock Communist Party Report  *  Party Congress Opens in Beijing, Business Already Done  * Before Party Congress, Crackdown on Falun Gong in Full Force  *  ‘Profound Lesson’ Ahead of Chinese Leadership Change  *  Ahead of Party Congress, Five Self-Immolations in Tibet  *  Chinese Tear Mao’s Image to Support Arrested Youth  *  Willingly or Not, New York Times Used in Beijing  *

Please visit our Chinese Regime in Crisis special topic for more articles.

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Nov. 22 — First Steps of Chinese Leader Not Hopeful For Reform

The presumptive next head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, attends the opening session of the 18th Party Congress on Nov. 8, in Beijing, China. Xi's new role is expected to be made official on Nov. 15. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

The presumptive next head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, attends the opening session of the 18th Party Congress on Nov. 8, in Beijing, China. Xi's new role is expected to be made official on Nov. 15. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

In the weeks leading up to the 18th Party Congress, Xi Jinping, China’s new Communist Party leader, said that political reform should move forward at a faster pace. 

Now that Xi has secured the position as China’s new leader, some are of the opinion that he is not as forward thinking as expected. 

He Qinglian, a prominent Chinese author and economist, wrote on her blog about Xi’s silence on the issue of political reform as soon as he became the new leader.

“Based on various sources of public information, I believe the greatest difference between Xi Jinping and Hu Jintao lies in their style, and not their direction,” He Qinglian wrote.

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Nov. 22 — Chinese Communist Congress Also Has Its Losers

Behind every somber character that made it onto the Politburo Standing Committee in the Chinese Communist Party’s recent leadership shakeup, there lies a story of intrigue and horse-trading. The Party’s political warfare also creates its share of losers, of course, and each failure too has a telling story behind it. Political compromise between competing factions crushed, or in some cases merely crippled, the ambitions of a number of up-and-coming communist officials.

Casualties were recorded on all sides: The faction associated with former regime leader Jiang Zemin found one of its trusted foot soldiers miss out on a key promotion; the faction associated with the princelings, or sons of revolutionary leaders, failed to attain two powerful military posts; and two of the more reform-oriented officials, associated with the camp of Hu Jintao, the outgoing Party leader, were excluded from the Standing Committee in favor of Jiang’s men.

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Nov. 21 — New Chinese Party Leadership Makes Reform Hopes Bleak

NEWS ANALYSIS

The swearing in of the Chinese Communist Party’s new leadership, including the appointment of five new personnel to the Politburo Standing Committee—several of whom are loyalists to a former hard-line Party leader—has shattered hope for reform in the country, according to many analysts of China’s political system.

Analysts note that a number of reform-minded Party cadres were shut out, while conservatives were ushered in, and they thus worry that new Party leader Xi Jinping and his Premier Li Keqiang won’t be able to call the shots as decisively as needed to push through reforms. These observers fear that any attempts at reform, should they exist, will likely be hampered by the need to defer to these other Politburo Standing Committee members and the vested interests they represent.

Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, was also made to show deference to Jiang Zemin, the former regime leader, and head of a powerful faction. Jiang was able to play a strong role in the personnel arrangements for the Standing Committee at the recently concluded congress.

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Nov. 21 — Through Retirement Hu Jintao Seeks Victory

With a daring move outgoing head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Hu Jintao has sought to succeed in what had eluded him for 10 years: freezing former Party head Jiang Zemin out of power. Analysts say Hu’s move won’t make reform more likely or save the Party from failing.

According to regime mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency, on Nov. 16 during an extended meeting of the Central Military Commission (CMC) Hu Jintao officially handed over to new Party head Xi Jinping the chairmanship of the CMC—the command of the People’s Republic of China’s armed forces.

If Hu Jintao had followed the precedent set by Jiang Zemin, Hu would have held onto the chairmanship for two more years, ensuring his personal power inside the Chinese regime.

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Nov. 20 — Chinese Want Democratic Reform First, Official Poll Shows
By Tang Ming/Epoch Times Staff

While the Chinese Communist Party focuses it future on economic reform, what the people really yearn for is political reform and greater freedoms, an online poll shows.

A poll on People's Daily Online recently, showing that support for a democratic political system comes first, followed by fighting against corruption, followed by improving livelihood, followed by economic development. Foreign relations comes in last place. (The Epoch Times)

A poll on People's Daily Online recently, showing that support for a democratic political system comes first, followed by fighting against corruption, followed by improving livelihood, followed by economic development. Foreign relations comes in last place. (The Epoch Times)

Just before the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress, a public opinion survey titled “Online Survey Focusing on 18th Congress,” conducted by state-run People’s Daily, questioned the priorities of its readers. The respondents’ top priority was a democratic political system (56,414 votes); eliminating corruption was second place (36,641 votes), improving livelihoods was third (32,410 votes), and economic development was fourth (12,470 votes).

Xi Jinping, the new General Secretary of the CCP, and other top leaders have said that they will concentrate on improving the nation’s economic condition. They mentioned little of substance about prospects for genuine democratic political reform.

Among the poll’s most frequent comments left by netizens were matters of livelihood: making a basic living and getting by. They were concerned about increasing their salaries and pensions, getting the household registration system canceled, and seeing greater government investment in primary education.

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Read original Chinese article.

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Nov. 19 — Chinese Communist Party Congress Produces Futile Deal

The factions that dominate the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continue to hold one another in a death grip, and a wary balance of power has taken shape behind the high red walls of the Party leadership compound, Zhongnanhai.

The former leadership of the Chinese Communist Party stands and claps during the closing ceremony of its 18th Congress in Beijing on Nov. 14. The following day a new group of leaders was unveiled. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The former leadership of the Chinese Communist Party stands and claps during the closing ceremony of its 18th Congress in Beijing on Nov. 14. The following day a new group of leaders was unveiled. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

On Nov. 15, the first plenum of the CCP’s 18th Party Congress released the names of the new Politburo Standing Committee. 

Xi Jinping, as expected, became the next Communist Party general secretary and, to the surprise of some, chairman of the Central Military Commission—the head of China’s armed forces, succeeding Hu Jintao in both posts. Li Keqiang became premier, succeeding Wen Jiabao.

The seven Standing Committee members are Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli. 

The new membership of the Standing Committee is far from the wishes of the public, but the wishes of the public were not a consideration. As the result of this high-stakes game, military power rests in the hands of close subordinates of Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, while the power of the Party and the government has taken on a distinct Jiang-faction coloration. The purported reformist forces have shrunk.

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16:20 p.m. EST Thursday — New Leadership in Beijing Spells End of Reform

The dreams of those who harbored some hope for the CCP are now completely dispelled.

The new lineup of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee signals an end to the hope of saving the Party through reform. It also puts outgoing Party leader Hu Jintao and outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao in the crosshairs for a possibly resurgent Jiang Zemin faction seeking scapegoats for the accumulating problems facing the Party.

Hu Jintao’s influence will be weaker than that of Jiang Zemin, who retired 10 years ago.

The dreams of those who harbored some hope for the CCP are now completely dispelled.

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17:14 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Liu Yunshan

New propaganda czar Liu Yunshan, now a member of the Standing Committee, greets the press on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Liu Yunshan was born in Xinzhou City, Shanxi Province in 1947. His parents were Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres in Inner Mongolia. His father was a subordinate of Bo Yibo, the father to disgraced official Bo Xilai. After graduating from Jining Normal School in the province, he worked as a teacher, a clerk at the propaganda department, and a reporter for the Inner Mongolia Bureau of the state mouthpiece Xinhua. Between July 1982 and February 1984, Liu Yunshan served the deputy secretary of Communist Youth League in Inner Mongolia, while Hu Jintao was the secretary of the Secretariat of the Communist Youth League Central Committee. Therefore, Liu has been classified as Hu’s Youth League Faction.

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16:00 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Zhang Gaoli

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Gaoli, executive vice-premier newly minted member of the Standing Committee, was born in 1946 to an impoverished family living in Jinjiang County, Fujian Province. His father passed away while Zhang was younger than 10 years old and his widowed mother struggled to bring up five children. Zhang Gaoli attended Qiaosheng Middle School in Jingjiang City. In 1965, he was admitted to the Department of Economics at Xiamen University, where he majored in planning statistics. His schooling was suspended during the Cultural Revolution, though he later completed his degree. 

In 1970, Zhang Gaoli was assigned to Guangdong Maoming Petroleum Company as a worker. Two important men took a liking to him: Zeng Qinghong, then Deputy Director of Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Petroleum, and Zhou Yongkang, Manager General of China Petroleum & Natural Gas Co., Ltd. Both are known stalwarts of Jiang Zemin.

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15:29 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Wang Qishan

Wang Qishan attends a joint press conference after the 5th China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue Dec. 5, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Guang Niu/Getty Images)

Wang Qishan attends a joint press conference after the 5th China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue Dec. 5, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Guang Niu/Getty Images)

Wang Qishan was born in July 1948 in Tianzhen County, Shanxi Province. His father was a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Graduated from Beijing 35 High School in 1969, he was an “educated youth” sent to the countryside in Yanan City, Shaanxi Province. During this period he met the daughter of the top Party leader Yao Yilin, named Yao Mingshan, whom he later married. In 1973, Wang, as a so-called worker-farmer-soldier student during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), entered Northwest University to study history. After graduating in 1976, he worked at the Shaanxi Museum for three years, then changed his major from history of the Republic of China to modern macroeconomics.

In 1982, Yao Yilin entered the Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee as an alternate member for the Political Bureau, and Wang Qishan was then placed in the Rural Policy Research Office of the CCP Central Committee Secretariat. This was the transition point that turned Wang Qishan to politics. 

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13:02 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Zhang Dejiang

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Dejiang was born in Tai’an County, Liaoning Province, in 1946. He is a princeling because his father Zhang Zhiyi was a former artillery major general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Zhang was a red guard in the Cultural Revolution, and then went to the countryside in Jilin to work with peasants as an “educated youth.” Zhang entered Yanbian University and studied in the Korean Language Department until he graduated 1972. In 1978, he began studying economics at Kim-Il-Sung University in North Korea, and served as the vice president of the Yanban University Party Committee after returning home.

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12:06 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Yu Zhengsheng

Yu Zhengsheng, Party Secretary of Shanghai and Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s Standing Committee, shown at the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2012 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Yu Zhengsheng, Party Secretary of Shanghai and Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s Standing Committee, shown at the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2012 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Yu Zhengsheng, born in April 1945 in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, was able to join the 18th Party Congress Politburo Standing Committee at the near retirement age of 68. He has a prominent communist family background and extensive political connections. Yu is expected to be the Party Secretary and Chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a Party-led advisory body.

Yu Zhengsheng’s father, Yu Qiwei (also known as Huang Jing), first introduced Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, whose original name was Li Yunhe, to the Party. Yu Qiwei and Jiang Qing had previously lived together.

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A combo of file pictures shows China's new Politburo Standing Committee members (from L to R) Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. China unveiled its new leaders on Nov. 15, 2012. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

A combo of file pictures shows China's new Politburo Standing Committee members (from L to R) Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. China unveiled its new leaders on Nov. 15, 2012. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

11:45 p.m. EST Wednesday — Chinese Regime Unveils New Leadership, With Few Surprises

A day after the Chinese Communist Party concluded its 18th Party Congress, the 376 members of the Central Committee that were nominally “elected” during that event entered once more the Great Hall of the People and “elected” the new Politburo.

The outcome of these events had been planned and decided upon inside the Party in advance, of course. The voting was just for show. But ritual plays a crucial role for China’s communist regime, and right after the “vote” the new committee members were trotted out to meet and greet waiting foreign and state media. The guests were kept waiting nearly an hour, a record delay in the tightly scripted world of Chinese communist political ritual.

All eyes were on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, a group of of seven men (down from nine) that is the nerve center of the Party. The composition of the Standing Committee had been a matter of speculation and conjecture for months.

Two positions in that body had already been decided: Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the CCP, and Li Keqiang, the next premier.

The five new members of the elite group, announced for the first time on Nov. 15 in Beijing, were: Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli.

Read our article Here

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9:00 p.m. EST Wednesday — Three Things to Watch for In Announcement of New Leadership

There are three keys things to watch as the new supreme leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and its military is unveiled, beginning in an about an hour (11 a.m. Beijing time, if all goes to plan). All hinge broadly on the political struggle between Hu Jintao and former regime leader Jiang Zemin, and the outcomes of the three possibilities will be telling as to who gained the upper hand in the backroom dealing.

The first is whether Hu Jintao will step down as Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). This idea has been bandied about extensively recently. If Hu does take that plunge, it will be seen as a strong blow to Jiang Zemin and the tradition of Party elders inserting themselves into the operations of the incumbent leadership.

If even Hu removes himself from the picture this time, Jiang will be certifiably unable to exert much overt influence, and Hu will have effectively repudiated what has been a prerogative of every Party leader, ever. The second is whether Li Keqiang will be made a vice-chairman of the CMC. This would augment his powers as premier and economic chief, and would indicate that Hu scored a point against Jiang by putting his main man in a crucial post.

A final point is whether Li Yuanchao and Wang Yang will end up on the Politburo Standing Committee. Again, both are broadly aligned with Hu Jintao, and their placement on the most powerful political organ in China will indicate how much Hu will retain at least proxy influence over the next decade or so.

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7:15 p.m. EST Wednesday — How to Rig Press Conferences at the Congress

Did you read the ABC PM radio interview

China uses mysterious Australian to rig Congress coverage?

PM radio’s Mark Colvin said,

“More than 2,200 delegates took part in a series of rubber-stamp votes that were always guaranteed to pass. In fact, there’s been much about this Congress that could fairly be described as really just a piece of theatre, including the role of a mysterious ‘journalist’ from Australia who’s been thrust into the limelight.”

Stephen McDonnell interviewed the “journalist” Andrea Yu,

STEPHEN MCDONNELL: Because they know they’re going to get an easy question from you, though, don’t they?

ANDREA YU: I think that’s part of it, yes.

STEPHEN MCDONNELL: So in the long run, do you think that this will be more the way things will happen, that the Chinese government will be having sort of set up companies like yours all over the world to present itself in the way it wants to?

ANDREA YU: It’s a very hard question and I don’t know how long I’ll be doing this for because of that. Yes, that it is a very challenging question. I think certainly spreading Chinese government soft power around the world via avenues like this is very important to the government and …

Read more

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3:00 p.m. EST Wednesday — Hu Jintao to Totally Step Down

For some time now it has been a matter of debate and speculation as to whether Hu Jintao would retain his seat on the Central Military Commission after handing over the reigns of power in the Party to Xi Jinping. Now the answer is out, according to reports: Hu is “all out” as part of a political bargain to also disentangle Jiang Zemin from the operations of the Party.

The Hong Kong-based Ming Pao reported on Nov. 14 that Zhang Qinsheng, a deputy Chief of Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, confirmed that Hu would not be hanging around on the CMC. (Zhang may have been getting back at Hu because the former was not allowed to enter the CMC, but the same news has come from other sources.)

The Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun has reported a similar conclusion, according to a Nov. 14 article. “According to a number of Chinese Communist Party personnel, at an internal high-level Party meeting on Nov. 11, it was decided that Hu Jintao would ‘completely quit.’”

At the same meeting, it was also decided that Jiang Zemin would have his office removed from Zhongnanhai, the Party’s leadership compound. The idea behind Hu’s move, according to Asahi Shimbun, was that by withdrawing entirely from Chinese politics, he would also be forcing Jiang to do the same.

But two former officials had tried that: Qiao Shi and Li Ruihuan. Jiang, as we all know, kept at it, even after that withdrew in an attempt to have Jiang do the same. Zhang Tianliang, a Washington-DC based political commentator, said in an interview: “If Hu Jintao really does entirely quit, in an effort to prevent Jiang from meddling, then he’ll be like Qiao Shi and Li Ruihuan back then: falling into Jiang’s trap.”

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2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday — Assorted Remarks

Dissident Hu Jia isn’t pleased with the 18th Party Congress, to the extent that he hopes the regime won’t be around for a 19th. 

In a recent open letter, he writes: “The Chinese Communist Party is not a ruling Party. … It is hardly a political party in the modern sense, but a huge group of vested interests overseeing a powerful nationwide mafia class. It plunders and possesses the wealth created by the people. It is greedy, and it is violent.”

He goes on, that: “The core Chinese domestic and international issues are all because the Communist Party rejects universal values ​​and violates civil rights, for the interests of itself. I hope that the 18th Party Congress is the last session of the Congress, and there’ll be no 19th Party Congress.”

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11:45 p.m. EST Tuesday — Mother Jailed to Ensure ‘Stable’ Transition in China

Military delegates arrive at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 14, 2012. The next generation of the Party's leaders will be officially nominated today. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Military delegates arrive at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 14, 2012. The next generation of the Party's leaders will be officially nominated today. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Cui Aimin had just dropped her daughter off at school when Chinese security forces arrested her, ransacked her home, confiscated the family computer, and threw her into a detention center in her hometown of Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province.

The upheaval was carried out in the name of “maintaining stability” in China before the 18th Party Congress, an event that has taken place this week as a new generation of Communist Party rulers is unveiled.

Read our article Here

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10:30 p.m. EST Tuesday — Beijing Petitioner Calls the CCP ‘A rogue government’

Beijing petitioner Wu Tianli called the CCP “a rogue government.” 

“There are more than 20 people and at least two cars in front of my house,” Wu said. “I cannot go out, even to see a doctor. We are facing an unprecedented rogue government that brutally represses the people in the name of the 18th Party Congress.” 

During the 18th Party Congress, the State Bureau for Letters and Calls, where petitioners have the legal right to appeal state wrongdoing, has been heavily guarded. Police cars from various provinces and cities as well as plainclothes officers are everywhere monitoring the surroundings and bus stops. Each province has its officers stationed in Beijing to watch and take into custody petitioners who may happen along. The State Bureau for Letters and Calls is currently characterized by zero petitioners, a rare scene.

Read our article Here

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9:40 p.m. EST Tuesday — Wednesday in Beijing

The official news center for the 18th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress announced that over 300 CCP Central Committee members and alternate members will be selected on Nov. 14. These new CCP Central Committee members and alternate members will then elect the new Political Bureau Standing Committee, which would be announced around 11:00 a.m. on Thursday Nov. 15.

Now it is Wednesday Nov. 14 10:40 a.m. Beijing time.

The presumptive next head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, attends the opening session of the 18th Party Congress on Nov. 8, in Beijing, China. Xi's new role is expected to be made official on Nov. 15. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

The presumptive next head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, attends the opening session of the 18th Party Congress on Nov. 8, in Beijing, China. Xi's new role is expected to be made official on Nov. 15. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

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9:00 p.m. EST Tuesday — Party Congress Like the Captain of the ‘Titanic’

The outlook was bad from the first day. The elders walked into the congress with their heads held high, showing that they have won this contest. The political report showed the direction that the new leader set: Can’t walk the old leftest way of Mao Zedong, but also can’t walk the “evil” way of democracy. Must make small adjustments while safe-guarding the one party rule system. In another words, the “Titanic” must continue on the disastrous and hopeless course crashing into the iceberg.

—Wei Jingsheng, a Chinese human rights activist known for his involvement in the Chinese democracy movement.

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8:30 p.m. EST Tuesday — Marketization of Power

He Qinglian writes

“Through messages circulating on Weibo, China’s twitter-like platform, the Chinese people came to realize a cruel reality about the elections in the two countries: the United States is more like the socialism that China claims to be, while China features crony capitalism.

In the United States, rich peoples’ wealth is mainly attributed to personal capabilities. Bill Gates is a successful player in the computer industry. Internationally renowned investor George Soros is a Hungarian immigrant. Michael Bloomberg, the New York City mayor who accepts a symbolic salary of one dollar per year, had already built a media empire before he assumed the office of mayor. Their stories demonstrate the advantages of the U.S. social system.

In China, however, wealth is closely tied to power behind the scenes, and political power has been a magic wand that creates wealthy tycoons.”

Read our article Here

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8:00 p.m. EST Tuesday — Reluctant Leader About to Take China’s Stage

Liang Wengeng holding Chinese Yuan under his arms with Sany Group company as background. It is a mocking photo made up by Chinese netizen. (Weibo.com)

Liang Wengeng holding Chinese Yuan under his arms with Sany Group company as background. It is a mocking photo made up by Chinese netizen. (Weibo.com)

Xi was a compromise candidate agreeable to both the faction of former Party head Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, the current head of the Party. The two sides have been locked in a power struggle throughout Hu’s 10-year tenure, with the struggle escalating greatly since former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun attempted to defect at a U.S. Consulate in February.

Wang revealed a plot by his boss, Bo Xilai, who was the standard bearer for Jiang’s faction, and others to oust Xi Jinping from power after the Party Congress. The Party has since been dominated by attempts by Jiang’s faction to disrupt the transfer of power to Xi, by Hu Jintao to weaken Jiang’s faction, and by the question of Bo Xilai’s fate.

In September, Xi disappeared for nearly two weeks. This, according to a well-placed source, was due to a deep reluctance to take the reins. His withdrawal caused consternation among Party leaders, as there was no one else acceptable to both sides.

A deal was made: Xi would continue as regime leader; the Nov. 8 date was set for convening the Party conference; Bo Xilai’s political career was agreed to be over; and the Party would begin to “systematically eliminate the residual influences of the Great Cultural Revolution and gradually discard Mao Zedong Thought, Marxism-Leninism, and so on,” according to the source.

Read our article Here

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5:00 a.m. EST Tuesday — China’s Second-Richest Man Rants at 18th Party Congress

Li Keqiang attends the opening of the Chinese Communist Party's 18th National Congress on Nov. 8. Li is expected to be announced as premier of China by the end of the week. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Li Keqiang attends the opening of the Chinese Communist Party's 18th National Congress on Nov. 8. Li is expected to be announced as premier of China by the end of the week. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Liang Wengen, president of Sany Group and member of the Communist Party inner circle, declared his devotion to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in odd comments during the 18th National Party Congress in Beijing. 

Netizens mocked the billionaire. His company announced it would sue U.S. President Barack Obama after he blocked Sany from owning a wind farm near a Navy base in Oregon. It was the first executive order of its kind in 22 years, Forbes reported.

On the holiday of Bachelor’s Day celebrated on Nov. 11, Liang said Party membership attracts the ladies: “In China, if a young man is a Communist Party member, it’s easier for him to find a girlfriend. Most wives of Party members are more beautiful than the ones of non-Party members. Chinese girls love Party members a lot too,” reported Caixin, a financial magazine. 

“At this very moment, you may understand why Obama limited Sany’s investment in the USA, ” a Chinese netizen wrote. 

Liang rather feverishly said, “If I was going to be born 1000 times, it would be in China. If I was going to die 1000 times, it would be in China,” according to Sina. 

He said that all his life and wealth belongs to the Party, according to China Daily.  

Jing Manlou, a Chinese writer, interpreted that as a kind of admission of guilt:
“If someone ‘loves China’ and is devoted to the Party with all he has, he must have done something disgraceful underground.”

Jing wrote that he regards the offer of dying for the party or giving it all his possessions as pure theatrics, still indicating a guilty secret. 

“When Liang said he would like to devote everything to the Party and die 1000 times for the Party, he verified what I am saying [about his guilt]. He is neither stupid nor insane,” Jing wrote. “Actually he is very clear that the Party is not going to take his money or his life since what he has is simply nothing compared to what the Party has.” 

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5:00 a.m. EST Tuesday — A Look at China’s Likely New Premier

The CCTV reporter in Dubai holding Dubai's local newspaper with the article "China warned about internal corruption." (Weibo.com)

The CCTV reporter in Dubai holding Dubai's local newspaper with the article "China warned about internal corruption." (Weibo.com)

Hu Jintao is said to have favored Li Keqiang to succeed him as paramount leader, but accepted Xi Jinping as a compromise with the faction headed by former Party head Jiang Zemin, who objected to Li.

Li is described by Taiwanese and Hong Kong’s media as a very low-key person, modest, and reserved.

Li was famous for doing his homework before going out on location inspections, according to the article, and he often asked local officials to show him the real data when they bragged about their performances.

A diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks in 2011 said that when Li was the head of Liaoning Province in 2007, in a private talk with U.S. Ambassador Clark T. Randt, he described China’s GDP as “man-made,” “unreliable,” and “for reference only.”

Read our article Here

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1:00 a.m. EST Tuesday — Dubai’s Public Opinion Aired on CCTV

Ju Xiaolin crying when reading his poem for the party and the congress; "It has been found, it has been found, the new expectations of my heart ... , " he said. (Weibo.com)

Ju Xiaolin crying when reading his poem for the party and the congress; "It has been found, it has been found, the new expectations of my heart … , " he said. (Weibo.com)

CCTV’s live program connected with its Middle Eastern reporter, Feng, asking her to comment on the local public opinion in Dubai regarding the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing.

Feng held up Dubai’s newspaper The National, showing the “most commented on” front page article with the headline “China warned about internal corruption,” on screen to the CCTV audience.

This program was soon cut off for technical reasons according to a Nov. 11 report in the Apple Daily last Sunday.

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11:15 p.m. EST Monday — Did you cry today?

Chinese security patrol a park beside the Great Hall of the People, which is the site of the Communist Party Congress, in Beijing on Nov. 12. People seem not to be welcome in this park. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese security patrol a park beside the Great Hall of the People, which is the site of the Communist Party Congress, in Beijing on Nov. 12. People seem not to be welcome in this park. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

On Nov. 10, Ju Xiaoli, a migrant worker representative, participated in the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing. After hearing the report by Hu Jintao, he was so deeply moved that he wrote a poem “New Found Hope” and emotionally read it during small group discussions. After reading only two sentences, he couldn’t control his tears according to a Caijing Online report.

A Beijing netizen wrote, “Does everyone still remember the North Korean female TV host who cried on camera after the death of Kim Jong-il? We are now one step closer to the North Korean people.”

Chinese netizens now have a new popular phrase for mocking: “Did you cry today?”

 

 

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Tourists are frisked at a security checkpoint at the entrance to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Nov. 9. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Tourists are frisked at a security checkpoint at the entrance to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Nov. 9. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

7:00 p.m. EST Monday — A park beside the Great Hall of the People

An article in The Financial Times talks about China’s ever greater expectations:

“The paranoia of the Communist party extends to ping-pong balls, balloons, carrier pigeons, fruit knives and computer batteries, all of which are banned as potential tools of sedition during the party’s week-long 18th national congress …”

Read more

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11:30 a.m. EST Monday — Security Goes Overboard in Beijing

According to an Radio France International (RFI) dispatch, security in Beijing has continued to be overbearing. “Every bus that travels past Tiananmen Square has at least one police officer in it, and an assistant. There are also security personnel at the front and back of each bus.” That’s up to four cops per vehicle. “All the windows are closed,” the note says. Welcome to Beijing. 

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A delegate from China's Tibet Autonomous Region looks on during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

A delegate from China's Tibet Autonomous Region looks on during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

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5:30 a.m. EST Monday — Chinese Human Rights Defender Cao Shunli Arrested

Beijing activist Cao Shunli was seized by police at the State Council Information Office on the second day of the 18th National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China for requesting public disclosure of China’s “National Human Rights Action Plan.”

Read our article Here

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8:30 p.m. EST Sunday  — There have been questions about the Tibetan delegation at the 18th National Party Congress.

Xu Jingbo, the president of Japan-based Asia News Agency, said the 25-year-old woman “feeds police dogs” at police station in a Tibetan area and suggested that the police force she works for is involved in the repression of Tibetans. The fact that she feeds police dogs implies that she might not really be a true representative of the Tibetan people in China.

Chinese former premier Li Peng attends the opening session of the18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 8, 2012 in Beijing. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Chinese former premier Li Peng attends the opening session of the18th Communist Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 8, 2012 in Beijing. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

A Tibetan, who was not named due to security concerns, in China told The Epoch Times that they knew nothing of the delegate, before their connection was abruptly cut off during an interview.

Kelsang, a representative for several Tibetans who were exiled and did not give his full name, questioned the legitimacy of the representatives at the Party Congress.

“How did these representatives come to be? How were they selected? Such actions have to be unrelated to the Tibetan people. The Chinese Communist Party selected these representatives in line with their own desires and with no consideration for the Tibetan people’s wishes,” said Kelsang.

In recent months, the number of Tibetan self-immolations has dramatically increased. Over the weekend, another Tibetan set themselves on fire, bringing the number to 70, reported Radio Free Asia.

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8:00 p.m. EST Sunday — Ex-Premier Li Peng’s Family Caught Moving Assets Overseas

Apparently fearing that the political winds were shifting with the 18th Party Congress, members of former premier Li Peng’s family tried to shift money abroad recently, according to Pan Chinese online, a dissident website outside China.

The children of Li Peng, dubbed the “Butcher of Beijing” for his involvement in the massacre of students in 1989, were trying to escape China to another country, the report said.

They first wanted to move their money out, to Singapore and Australia, the report said. But they were found out by authorities.

A security volunteer (R) keeps watch near the Great Hall of the People, which is the site of the Party Congress in Beijing, on Nov. 10. The Chinese Communist Party's paranoia is on full display for its congress in Beijing in a security squeeze extending from police swarming Tiananmen Square to elderly sentinels watching street corners. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

A security volunteer (R) keeps watch near the Great Hall of the People, which is the site of the Party Congress in Beijing, on Nov. 10. The Chinese Communist Party's paranoia is on full display for its congress in Beijing in a security squeeze extending from police swarming Tiananmen Square to elderly sentinels watching street corners. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

The insider told the website that they are seeking to leave China because The New York Times reported on Premier Wen Jiabao’s family’s alleged amassed wealth, making them feel worried for their own safety. They felt further unease over the current political situation in the 18th National Party Congress that will usher in a leadership change in the top echelons of the Communist Party.

Li Peng’s two sons, Li Xiaopeng and Li Xiaoyong, and daughter Li Xiallin, were trying to move their wealth, the report said.

They were discovered by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC), an Australian government agency that monitors money laundering and other financial misdeeds, the article said. AUSTRAC then told Chinese authorities.

The agency has a policy of not commenting on individual cases, or confirming or denying whether an individual is under investigation.

In recent years, the Chinese regime has made it paramount to crack down on so-called “naked officials,” who have assets in other countries, and family members living and working overseas.

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4:30 p.m. EST Sunday — Details Emerge About Jiang at Opening Ceremony

A source told New Epoch Weekly, a sister publication of The Epoch Times with deep contacts in China, that Jiang Zemin is suffering Alzheimer’s disease, and regularly needs medical attention. 

Thus, according to New Epoch Weekly’s source, the reason Hu Jintao only spoke for over an hour (rather than, for example, the two and a half he spoke at the 17th Congress), at the open ceremony of the Congress on Nov. 8, delivering an excerpt of his political report, is because Jiang needed rest and medical care.

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6:00 a.m. EST Sunday — Maintaining Stability in Beijing

Journalists rest during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2012. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

Journalists rest during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2012. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

Did you see this article in the Financial Review `Volunteers’ roped into Beijing crackdown?

The Chinese Communist Party’s paranoia is on full display for its congress in Beijing in a security squeeze extending from police swarming Tiananmen Square to elderly sentinels watching street corners.

The capital has 1.4 million “public order volunteers” -- retirees, street cleaners, firemen and low-paid private security guards -- on the lookout for anything that could upset the sensitive gathering, even in the quietest residential neighbourhoods.

But despite their patriotic armbands, many grumble about being roped in as foot soldiers for China’s massive police state.

“Volunteer? They made me volunteer,” said Zhang Weilin, 25, a security guard at a central Beijing shopping mall who wore a camouflage jacket bearing a “US Army Airborne” patch and that was a size or two too large.

Read more

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5:30 a.m. EST Sunday — Before Party Congress, Crackdown on Falun Gong in Full Force

Tian Xiaoping, a 51-year-old Falun Gong practitioner, was sent to prison for 14 years this May. Police caught her in November last year after she and a number of others visited the family home of another practitioner who had been killed. Her sentence is one of the harshest in the 13-year-long campaign against the practice, and was part of a ratcheting up of the campaign against Falun Gong this year as the Communist Party planned for its 18th Congress.

Jiang Tianyong, a Chinese human rights lawyer, thought the case remarkable. “Lately the persecution of Falun Gong has been getting more severe,” he wrote on Twitter in August.

“After the Beidaihe meeting,” he said, referring to a secret Communist Party gathering at the seaside that takes place late in the summer, “there were a huge number of criminal cases, with serious sentences.” He listed 10-, 11-, 13-, and 14-year sentences handed down to practitioners of the meditation discipline. “It’s extremely crazy.”

Read our article Here

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10:00 p.m. EST Saturday — China Speaks: What the Congress is Really Like

The most honest and bracing commentary about Chinese politics, and the Party Congress, is usually to be found in bite-sized chunks on the Chinese Internet. 

@zhbq writes: “After carefully reading the 18th Party report, I summarize: 1) We must thoroughly combat corruption. 2) The root of corruption is in the system. 3) The system absolutely must not change.”

@planetbo: Imagine there was an special Weibo [microblog] communicating the thoughts of delegates to the Congress. Here’s what it would say. 1) That girl pouring my water is really pretty. 2) My hands are swollen from the clapping, I’ll get a good massage once I get back to my hotel. 3) I was just sleeping and a journalist took my photo! Will I get publicized? I need some comfort. 4) I don’t even dare wear my Patek Philippe watch. 5) I’ve been in Beijing for a year, I really long for my mistress. 6) It’s finally over, I’m going back to America right away.

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4:12 p.m. EST Saturday — U.S. Democracy a Bargain, Say Chinese

The almost simultaneity of a U.S. election and the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership changeover have been a rich source of discussion and amusement for Chinese Internet users. The plucky ones seem to take most delight in dismantling official propaganda, most recently, for example, that the United States just wasted $2 billion on political advertising ahead of the election. The sharpest retort to that may have been the following: 

“The total expenditure of public funds on entertainment, social activities, foreign travels, and automobiles by Chinese government officials of all levels was 900 billion yuan in 2010. In contrast, an average U.S. presidential campaign costs less than US$3 billion (18.8 billion yuan). Nine hundred billion yuan is sufficient for hosting 50 U.S. presidential elections. Since the U.S. presidential elections take place every four years, the annual public funds Chinese government officials spend on personal enjoyment is large enough to cover all presidential elections for two centuries. How inexpensive the democratic system is!”

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6:45 a.m. EST Saturday — Google Unblocked Again

Greatfire.org is reporting that Google is again accessible in China. The Golden Shield censors used DNS poisoning to block google, basically changing the settings on the DNS servers they control to lead users entering “google.com” into their browsers to a block page instead of actually Google.com.

Some advice from Geatfire.org:

“Due to the nature of DNS there is a delay before this trickles down to every ISP and every computer so if you still cannot access Google in China it’s likely just a question of time. You can also try to flush your DNS cache and it should work again.”

Read MORE …

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6:30 a.m. EST Saturday — Snoozing in The Great Hall of the People

As one Western blogger in Beijing put it “There isn’t any news — Again, this is a controlled political event.” Read more:

Outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2012. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

Outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2012. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

A Chinese Internet user posted a photo of an apparent self-immolation on Nov. 7 in Qinghai Province.

A Chinese Internet user posted a photo of an apparent self-immolation on Nov. 7 in Qinghai Province.

As both Western and Chinese media try to find news angles about the second day events in The Great Hall of the People, it seems the predictable, tightly controlled rituals of the 18th Congress’ second day will be repeated daily until the final announcement of the party officials who will take over the Party’s leadership in March.

 

 

 

 

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5:46 p.m. Friday — Unlucky Start, Foretelling Finish?

Nov. 8, the first day of the 18th Party Congress, is a day that is, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, “unlucky to do anything.”

Nov. 13-14, the last two days of the 18th Party Congress, a rare, total solar eclipse is predicted.

According to ancient Chinese culture, an eclipse is regarded as a heavenly sign that foretells the future of the emperor.

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3:00 p.m. Friday — Thousands of Tibetan Students Protest in Qinghai

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Following six self-immolations in two days, thousands of Tibetan students, including school children as young as 7, protested in restive Qinghai Province on Friday, calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to grant them equality and the return of the Dalai Lama, as China’s top brass convenes for a second day at the 18th National Party Congress.

As many as 5,000 students staged a protest near Rongwo monastery in Qinghai’s Rebgong county, two advocacy groups confirmed.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, or TCHRD, published photos of the students taking part in demonstrations, the second straight day of protests in the region.

Read our article HERE.

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11:36 a.m. Friday — Five Years for Bo Xilai?

After an unprecedented power struggle among factions in the regime, Bo Xilai may in the end only be sentenced to five years in prison, according to a source who is familiar with recent negotiations. The final deal between the parties has not been finalized, so Bo’s sentence is still a matter of uncertainty. The full report is in Chinese HERE

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10:55 a.m. Friday — Google blocked in China

Google is as of today heavily blocked in China, reports Greatfire.org, a website that collects data on the great firewall of China, particularly about which sites and searches are being blocked.

Read our article HERE.

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9:55 a.m. Friday — Protest in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan (3rd-L) and other demonstrators hold placards and a banner as they march towards the Chinese liaison office during a protest against Beijing's central government in Hong Kong on Nov. 8, 2012. (Phillipe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan (3rd-L) and other demonstrators hold placards and a banner as they march towards the Chinese liaison office during a protest against Beijing's central government in Hong Kong on Nov. 8, 2012. (Phillipe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

The first day of the Chinese regime’s 18th Congress displayed a stark contrast between Hong Kong—where the Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan and other demonstrators protested—and Beijing—where a massive crackdown by the nervous communist regime is in place. 

Less of a contrast are the actions of those in Hong Kong tearing up photos of communist leaders in Beijing. The movement has been named Tearing the Eight Heads, which refers to tearing portraits of eight Chinese leaders, in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province. 

Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan (C) tears sheets of paper showing Chinese leaders attending a Communist Party congress during a protest against Beijing's central government in Hong Kong on Nov. 8, 2012. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan (C) tears sheets of paper showing Chinese leaders attending a Communist Party congress during a protest against Beijing's central government in Hong Kong on Nov. 8, 2012. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

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6:30 p.m. Thursday — Chinese Netizens Mock Communist Party Report

A Chinese paramilitary policeman reacts outside the opening session of the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 8. The meeting has brought a sharp increase in security in Beijing. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

A Chinese paramilitary policeman reacts outside the opening session of the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 8. The meeting has brought a sharp increase in security in Beijing. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Beijing was full of armed police and military security forces on Nov. 8, for the opening ceremony of the 18th Party Congress. Military engineers checked for landmines in the lawn in front of the Great Hall of the People on the western side of Tiananmen Square, and 1.4 million volunteers added to security forces.

Party head Hu Jintao delivered a report on behalf of the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which sparked a hot Internet discussion on the Party’s demise.

The report’s essential idea was that the party “will neither take the old path of developing a closed country in a rigid and doctrinaire way, nor take the wrong course of building China into a capitalist state,” the Southern Metropolis Weekly magazine reported.

A flurry of skeptical Internet responses ensued.

Mang Fu of Shanghai wrote that he believes the Chinese regime is traveling down a one-way path.

A netizen called “Tired Penguin” from Guangdong Province wrote, “There is … perhaps no way to go.” A person from Shanghai wrote, “They got lost.”

Nikko from Huizhou City of Guangdong Province wrote, “Enjoying the time left,” implying that the end of CCP rule is imminent.

Read more

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6:28 p.m. Thursday — Sixth Tibetan Self-Immolates in Two Days

A sixth Tibetan set himself on fire on Thursday to protest against harsh Chinese rule in the past two days, with the immolation likely intended to get the attention of leaders attending the 18th National Party Congress.

“It is confirmed that this is the sixth, that he has immolated, but we don’t have details about his age or name,” a Tibetan exile government spokesman Lobsang Choedak, who was speaking from the Indian hill town of Dharamshala, told AFP.

Three teenaged monks set themselves on fire yesterday in Sichuan Province, human rights groups said. A young Tibetan mother of two also set herself on fire in Qinhai province. An unidentified Tibetan did the same in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The six incidents are the most of any two-day stretch since the wave self-immolations against Chinese rule began in early 2009. Nearly 70 Tibetans—many of them monks and nuns—have set themselves on fire.

The Free Tibet rights group reported that armed Chinese police “been mobilized to suppress protesters calling for freedom in Tibet after the latest self-immolation in Rebkong County, Eastern Tibet.”

“Free Tibet is extremely concerned for thousands of protesters in the town. Trucks full of paramilitary police are in the area to prevent more people joining the protests,” the rights group said. “Locals fear that there will be clashes between the security forces and locals travelling to join the protest.”

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4:02 p.m. Thursday — LA Times Reporter Used in Propaganda Stunt

A screenshot of Los Angeles Times reporter Julie Makinen, posted by a Chinese netizen alongside Makinen's article mocking the experience. Makinen was attending a Peking Opera in Beijing when she was called on stage for a propaganda stunt. (Weibo.com)

A screenshot of Los Angeles Times reporter Julie Makinen, posted by a Chinese netizen alongside Makinen's article mocking the experience. Makinen was attending a Peking Opera in Beijing when she was called on stage for a propaganda stunt. (Weibo.com)

Los Angeles Times reporter Julie Makinen went to Beijing in an attempt to cover the 18th National Party Congress that kicks off a once-in-a-decade transition of the Communist Party’s top brass. 

While she was there and visiting a Peking Opera, she sat in the audience and was essentially coerced into going on stage. In her humorous account, she writes:

“I sat in the audience, checking my phone and thinking about lunch. Suddenly, the emcee called out from the stage, breaking from rapid-fire Chinese.

‘Hello!’ he bellowed in English. 

I looked up. Yep, he was talking to me. I shook my head twice, three times. But the rest of the press herd knew if I were to go on stage, they’d get their shot of the day. A few shouts of encouragement went up. At this point, even if I had bolted for the exit, I’m pretty sure I would have been tackled. 

A sinking feeling came over me as I assessed the score and mounted the stage: Communist Party Propaganda Machine, 1; American journalist, zippo. 

I smiled at the emcee. The other reporter on stage, a Chinese guy, mumbled to me in English that this was awkward. Peking opera costumes were presented. Wouldn’t we like to try them on? Oh, and how about trying to sing too?

Cameras clicked. Videotape rolled. I would end the day without a decent story in my notebook, but the Chinese press went home delighted.”

Earlier, when she was asked by reporters with Chinese state-run media what she would cover in her reporting, she responded with Bo Xilai’s corruption case, Tibet (referring to the constant stream of burnings--a highly sensitive issue in China), Communist Party corruption, and questions about Premier Wen Jiabao’s alleged family fortune.

In response to her question, “The reporter frowned,” Makinen wrote.

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3:08 p.m. Thursday — NY Times Sees Evil Old Meddler Through Rose-Colored Glasses

Did you see this article in the New York Times, “Long Retired, Ex-Leader of China Asserts Sway Over Top Posts?” 

Jiang Zemin (L) at the Great Hall of the People on Oct. 9, 2011, in Beijing, China. (Minoru Iwasaki/Getty Images)

Jiang Zemin (L) at the Great Hall of the People on Oct. 9, 2011, in Beijing, China. (Minoru Iwasaki/Getty Images)

“In a year of scandals and corruption charges at the commanding heights of the Communist Party, a retired party chief some had written off as a spent force has thrust himself back into China’s most important political decisions and emerged as a dominant figure shaping the future leadership.”

This is certainly a puff piece polishing the image of JZM and his hardliners, who continue to be the power behind the brutal mistreatment of the Chinese people under the guise of “maintaining stability.” Jiang and his henchmen are the fountain of curses bubbling over on those such as Gao Zhisheng and Chen Guangchen, who speak up for human rights, and are behind the thirteen year persecution of Falun Gong.

This guy doesn’t understand Jiang Zemin at all. This is the real story… 

The Times tell us:

“Mr. Jiang has been able to insert himself so boldly shows how diluted power has become at the apex of the Communist Party…” 

Judging by the photo gallery of Jiang at the opening ceremony, I would say the rumors that he is a senile old man are closer to the truth.

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Party Congress Opens in Beijing, Business Already Done

The largest assembly of perhaps the largest secret society on the planet has convened in Beijing. The Chinese Communist Party calls the event its 18th National Congress, and by its conclusion it is expected that a new batch of communist cadres will be crowned to lead the regime for a decade.

A soldier tries to prevent photos being taken at Tiananmen Square on Nov. 7, in Beijing. The 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will be held from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14, when a new set of leaders will be sworn in. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

A soldier tries to prevent photos being taken at Tiananmen Square on Nov. 7, in Beijing. The 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will be held from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14, when a new set of leaders will be sworn in. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The opening ceremony for the Congress will be held at 9 a.m. on Nov. 8 in the Great Hall of the People—the only Congress-related event that day. The night before a representative announced that the event would run for seven days, until Nov. 14.

By the conclusion of the conclave a new set of leaders will be unveiled to the public, supposedly having been elected during the Congress. A political work report will also be presented summing up the Party’s ruling ideology, achievements, and direction over the next five years.

In fact, the new leaders have been chosen in advance, and the work report was prepared ahead of time. No real decisions will actually be made over this following week in Beijing, according to experts.

Read more

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 ‘Profound Lesson’ Ahead of Chinese Leadership Change

At a Chinese Communist Party meeting on Wednesday, just a day ahead of the start of the 18th National Party Congress that will see a once-in-a-generation leadership change, senior leaders were told that the lessons in recent, high-level corruption cases are “profound,” but it was stressed that the Party’s rule over the country will remain unchanged.

A paramilitary policeman poses for photo in front of the photo of Hu Jintao while visiting an exhibition, on Oct. 30, 2012, in Beijing. A source said that membership of the Politburo, the most powerful policy-making body in China, may reduce its membership from 25 to 22 and the Standing Committee’s membership will be reduced from nine to seven. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

A paramilitary policeman poses for photo in front of the photo of Hu Jintao while visiting an exhibition, on Oct. 30, 2012, in Beijing. A source said that membership of the Politburo, the most powerful policy-making body in China, may reduce its membership from 25 to 22 and the Standing Committee’s membership will be reduced from nine to seven. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

“The problems of [Bo Xilai] and [Liu Zhijun, the former railways minister who faces corruption charges] are serious corruption cases among leading cadres of the Party, and the lessons are profound,” Cai Mingzhao, spokesman for the Congress, told a news conference on Wednesday, reported Communist Party mouthpiece Xinhua. The Party’s Congress will open on Thursday and will go on for around a week.

Cai, however, said that “when conducting political structural reform in China, the CCP has to take into consideration China’s national reality,” according to Xinhua. He said that the Chinese Communist Party’s all-powerful leadership role “must not waver one bit.”

“We should not be intimidated by any risk or be confused by any distraction,” Cai continued.

Read more

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Ahead of Party Congress, Five Self-Immolations in Tibet

In the most dramatic incident of its kind, three Tibetan teenage monks, a young mother, and another Tibetan, set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule on the eve of the Communist Party’s 18th National Party Congress.

Tibetans and supporters of a 'Free Tibet' hold placards during a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate Los Angeles on March 10, 2012 in California. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Tibetans and supporters of a 'Free Tibet' hold placards during a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate Los Angeles on March 10, 2012 in California. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

The three monks, aged 15 and 16, set themselves on fire in Sichuan Province’s Ngaba near Ngoshul Monastery, where a number of self-immolations have taken place in recent months, according to the Free Tibet advocacy group. The 15-year-old monk, named Dorjee, died and two survived, but their whereabouts are currently unknown.

Tibetan exile leaders have called for an end to the self-immolations. They and human rights groups say that Tibetans are driven to setting themselves on fire out of desperation because of repressive policies used by the Chinese regime.

Read more

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Chinese Tear Mao’s Image to Support Arrested Youth

Ji Laisong, Lin Qilei, Chen Shuaishuai, Cai Xiaodong are pictured tearing portraits of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. The whereabouts of Cheng Shuaishuai and Lin Qilei are unknown. (weibo.com)

Ji Laisong, Lin Qilei, Chen Shuaishuai, Cai Xiaodong are pictured tearing portraits of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. The whereabouts of Cheng Shuaishuai and Lin Qilei are unknown. (weibo.com)

A young man was summoned by police in Henan Province on Nov. 1 after he publicly tore a portrait of Mao Zedong, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, along with three other young men. The whereabouts of two of the four are currently unknown.

The incident took place with China’s 18th National Congress just around the corner, and has provoked protests and outrage. A large-scale movement has started in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, to tear Mao’s image to support the young men.

The movement has been named Tearing the Eight Heads, which refers to tearing portraits of eight Chinese leaders, which sounds similar to 18th Congress in Chinese. Activists in China regularly use similar-sounding words to bypass the regime’s censors.

Read more

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Willingly or Not, New York Times Used in Beijing

An article published last week by The New York Times in English and Chinese was a bombshell dropped at a most sensitive time for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Whether The Times understood the article was a bombshell, and if so whether it was intended to damage one group or another, is not clear. Also unclear is whether The Times was either willingly or unwillingly used by those the article benefits.

The Times’ reporter claimed his innocence in a blog post. He said he writes on business and is no expert on China’s politics. He also said he personally did all of the research for the article, and none of the information in the article was fed to him.

The article detailed the alleged wealth of the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, which is claimed to be a fortune of US$2.7 billion. Immediately after publication, the premier said the article was inaccurate and hired lawyers.

In a Western democracy, such an article might be an embarrassment for a politician for a few days, but would have no real political impact. Things are different in China.

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Arleen Richards