The state-controlled media in China are viewed often as a display board for Chinese Communist leaders at different levels to showcase their political achievements, and even their political futures.
Recent headline battles among the next generation of Party leaders are an indication that China has entered an era of having a weak emperor, with competing seigniors.
On Dec. 6, Beijing’s state mouthpiece, People’s Daily, praised Bo Xilai, the head of Party in Chongqing.
In the past few months, Yu Zhengsheng, head of communist party in Shanghai, and Wang Yang, head of Guangdong Province were also in the headlines of the People’s Daily.
A Dec. 6 headline of People’s Daily stated that, in recent years, Chongqing has seized and strengthened the life line that connects communist party and Chinese people. This is the second time that People’s Daily has praised Bo Xilai’s administration with a headline article in less than two months.
On Oct. 11, it put on a headline speaking highly of the “cultural development” of Chongqing, and promoting it as a “national model.” And Bo Xilai has recently been repackaging his “Chongqing model” under the banner “China model.”
The Chinese Community Party’s 18th National Congress will take place in the second half of the next year. Among the existing 17th session of Politburo members, Liu Qi, the Party chief of Beijing, is going to retire due to his age.
Wang Yang, Zhang Gaoli, Yu Zhengsheng, and Bo Xilai, the Party chief of Guangdong Province, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing respectively, are among the contenders to enter the 18th session of the Politburo, the CCP’s supreme ruling body.
On Nov. 17, Yu made it into the People’s Daily headline with a report saying Shanghai has been leading social harmony through cultural revival. Seven days later, it reported again that Shanghai has been at the forefront of the “reform tide.”
People’s Daily reports then emerged praising Wang Yang’s administration in Guangdong. On a Nov. 26 headline it stated that Guangdong had brought great changes in the fight against poverty, and in bringing prosperity to the people.
Among the contenders Bo is the more aggressive, launching campaigns to praise Mao, the first leader of the Party. Bo’s style is captured by the current-affairs commentator and writer, Jiang Weiping in an article titled “Bo is preparing a military coup.”
The name was inspired by an unprecedented live military exercise launched by Bo in Chengdu and Chongqing when Hu had visited Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu on Nov. 10.
Jiang wrote: “Obviously, Hu is nominally in control of China’s authoritarian regime, but looking around both domestically and internationally, one can see that his power is fading away. The frequent self-immolations of lamas and nuns show that Tibet region is not under control. The incident involving the escape of four soldiers indicates the army is restless. The illegal detention of Chen Guangcheng in Linfen, Shangdong Province, shows that the judicial system is also collapsing. And Larry Lang openly questioned the Premier, showing that fighting on a higher level is intensifying. [There is] the danger of the real estate market collapsing, pointing to the crash of the Chinese model of economy.”
On Nov. 18, several hundred migrant workers demonstrated in Guangzhou, the largest city in Guangdong, with slogans and banners like, “Give me my blood money” and “I need to eat.” Uncharacteristically, there were police cars escorting them and diverting the traffic.
Several days later, there was another organized demonstration in the village of Wukan, also in Guangdong. Dozens of colorful banners were prepared, and displayed were sensitive slogans as “No dictatorship.
It appears that a competition is underway, and the next generation leaders in China are using the Party’s propaganda apparatus to promote themselves before the 18th National Congress. In other words: business as usual.
Read the original Chinese article.