Why the Chinese Regime’s Hu Jintao Smiled

October 2, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Chinese leader Hu Jintao is seen at the closing session of the National Peoples Congress on March 14. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The usually somber looking Chinese leader Hu Jintao kept smiling during a speech by premier Wen Jiabao at a State Council reception in the Great Hall of the People on Oct. 1, commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

While Hu was smiling and Wen was speaking, the remaining seven Politburo Standing Committee members’ faces were gloomy. What was it that made Hu Jintao smile?

A day earlier, the Politburo announced that the troublesome former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai was expelled from the Party, removed from his post, and would be judged by the laws.

Bo’s case has been postponed for a long time. The international media has extensively commented on the scandals and crimes surrounding him. With the approach of the once-in-a-decade leadership transfer this fall, there has been much speculation as to when and how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would deal with Bo and opposition from members of the Jiang faction.

Some analysts believe that the high-ranking CCP officials’ decision to severely punish Bo indicates that Hu and Wen have managed to prevail in what has been a vicious behind-the-scenes factional power struggle. At present, their influence and control is more strengthened and consolidated and able to play the leading role in the personnel placement during the 18th National Congress.

Jiang Faction

According to commentators, the faction supported by former leader Jiang Zemin is pretty much defeated. Because of their association with Bo, members of this faction will lose their claims at the 18th Congress personnel changes.

While announcing Bo’s crimes, Hu and Wen left room for additional charges and maneuvers, such as the coup plotted by Bo and Zhou Yongkang, the country’s domestic security chief and a strong supporter of Bo Xilai’s, making it impossible for the Jiang faction to hold on to power. It is almost certain that after the 18th National Congress the Jiang faction will be booted out of the Standing Committee.

It is therefore not difficult to understand why top Jiang faction members Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, propaganda chief Li Changchun, and Zhou Yongkang appeared depressed at the reception.

Xi and Li

After the 18th Congress, the era of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao will come to an end, and the era of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will arrive.

But the CCP’s foundation has dramatically deteriorated in recent years, and the Wang Lijun and Bo Xilai scandal has seriously shaken the top CCP leadership. With troubles from inside and outside the Party, the international community is not optimistic about China’s political reform and economic transformation under Xi and Li. Faced with many tough problems, it’s understandable why Xi and Li had such somber expressions at the State Council reception.

Finally, with the worsening of corruption in China, it would be very difficult for He Guoqiang, who heads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, to not have a serious look on his face.

Read the original Chinese article.

Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.

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