|Written by Marcos Margarido and Leonardo Marques Nunes|
|Saturday, 17 November 2012 18:10|
After nearly a year when the planning for the country command succession was disturbed by an extraordinary string of scandals, the party leaders finally have announced the date of November 8th forthe opening of the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP). The scandals involved Bo Xilai – the party top leader in the megacity of Chongqing (32 million inhabitants) and member of the Central Committee and Executive Committee (Politburo) – and his wife, Gu Kailai.
On September 28, on the same announcement of the date of the congress, it was reported that Bo Xilai would be expelled from the party and prosecuted in a wide array of charges, including corruption and abuse of power, showing the close connection between the two events.
On March 14, 2012 at a National People’s Congress meeting Bo Xilai was removed from his duties, although he continued a CC member, Now he was finally expelled. The flight of the former police chief and vice mayor of Chongqing, Wang Lijun, to a U.S. consulate, which had occurred in the previous month, caused the Bo’s downfall. Wang was his right-hand man in his “crusade” against corruption in the city and had fled to denounce Neil Heywood’s murder, an Englishman who had shady businesses with the Bo family. His death had been diagnosed as stroke by the own staff of Wang. The investigation that followed led to Gu Kailai’sconviction with the death penalty for having murdered Heywood by poisoning and to the arrest of several members connected to Bo Xilai, including Wang. None of the convicted appealed against the imposed sentences and the evidence presented at Gu Kailai ‘s trial were very fragile (Heywood’s body had been cremated, the blood sample collected was adulterated) and with many contradictions, the process was based primarily on the confession of the accused themselves.
This incidenthas opened up a crack in the CCP not seen since the internal war by Mao Zedong’s succession in 1976 and the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. It began a persecution and arrest of all members linked to Bo Xilai, the relentless censorship against all social networks commenting on the issue and a flurry of editorials condemning “corruption and abuse of power”, followed by a campaign to destroy his reputation in the same media which, days earlier, were used to exalt him. The advertisements promoting his government, scattered throughout the city, were removed from Chongqing and everything that could remind him was “cleared”.
The Army started military movements at least in Beijing and Chongqing, while their press bodies urged the officers to ignore the “social noise”, referring to the Internet, and to the “hostile forces”, calling everyone to unity under the party’s leadership. President Hu Jintao, at the anti-corruption campaign that followed the fall of Bo, requested that the military kept their “purity” within their ranks and the Daily People’s Liberation Army published an editorial stating that all soldiers and officers “understand deeply the meaning of the warning given by the incident ” and “firmly support the party’s decisions and plans”.
This campaign can only be explained because Bo Xilai had many supporters in the party and among the army generals and his fall caused tremendous instability in their ranks. Xilai’s father, Bo Yibo, was a hero of the war against the Japanese invasion in the first half of the twentieth century, and was beside Mao during the socialist revolution of 1949. However he was purged from the party during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), but after Deng Xiaoping ‘s victory in the struggle for Mao’s succession, he was rehabilitated and appointed vice-premier in 1979. It was one of the main Deng’s supporters in the internal struggle and Deng’s policy for capitalist restoration, which led Jiang Zemin to be assigned as the general secretary and president of China in the period preceding Hu Jintao.
Bo Yibo’s support for Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin assured his son, Bo Xilai, a lightning political career, mostly by the protection given by Jiang. Bo Xilai, as well as the current vice president – and likely the next president – Xi Jinping, are called “the princes”, the sons of former revolutionaries who rose to high ranks by inheritance. Many of them have become millionaires because of it.
The other reason for such a great concern is that Bo Xilai was considered by the so called ‘neomaoistas’ a leader (although he has never considered himself as such), capable of mobilizing a large segment of youth, old revolutionaries (many in the army) and intellectuals who claim his campaign to revive old Maoists songs, chanted in the city streets, and the hypothetical preference to state enterprises against the private companies advance, favored by the party’s current economic policy.
In order to win popular support, the CCP leadership began accusing Bo of corruption and embezzlement, two facts which are common place in decision-making positions and hated by the population. In fact, what is at stake are two political projects for the containment of democratic and economic struggles, which tend to increase in the coming years with the worsening economic crisis in the country (1), and this does not signal any significant opening of the regime. I order to control the fights growth, one or another sector may try to change the clothing of this domain, but the content is to keep intact the economic and political structures of the country. Something similar to (keeping the appropriate proportions) what the Brazilian dictatorship tried to do as from 1974 onwards with General Geisel and his policy of “slow, gradual and peaceful openings” and other Latin American dictatorships, without any fundamental change in regime, and that were swept away by the mass movement.
The first has as his motto the “political reforms” and the current Prime Minister Wen Jiabao as his main spokesman. This group advocates the adoption of negotiation mechanisms with the rebellious population. The greatest symbol of this project was a negotiated settlement with the population of Wukan, a town on the south coast, which drove out the police and the CCP direction due to the illegally selling of lands owned by the inhabitants. The Guangdong Province head of the CPC, Wang Yang, had a policy of negotiating when the first attempt of repression and leadership cooptation had been defeated. To put this policy of negotiating into practice Wang Yang assured the implementation of new local elections organized by the people themselves. The rebellion main leaders were elected and started to rule the city.1
The second advocates a Bonapartist solution to face the struggles and considered Bo Xilai as the best candidate to be a Chinese “Bonaparte”. His reputation as a champion against corruption, of being ‘developmentalist’ and of being a charismatic leader was about to take him to the Standing Committee of the party’s nine members (the secretariat) and thus make him the most important defender of this project. It must be emphasized that neither of the two projects waive the policy of “maintenance of stability” and the policy of single party to exercise the power. (Bo Xilai’s reputation was unmasked later as it was disclosed that he abused of illegal methods of repression corruption and was involved even even with weapons).
The first clash in this dispute was won by the “negotiator” group who managed to win eight of the nine votes at the Standing Committee meeting on March 8. The sole vote against to Bo Xilai’s purging was given by Zhou Yongkang, the head of the country internal security .Zhou Yongkang has acquired a high reputation during the 10 years of Hu Jintao’s government, managing even to have a higher budget than the army in order to implement the “stability maintenance”. Bo is a direct ally of Zhou and was regarded as his possible successor. On the other hand, Jiang Zemin, his political godfather, preferred to wash his hands, although keeping control over the new appointments to the Chongqing leadership.
After this poll there was a pilgrimage of the CCP two main leaders, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, seeking for support from ministers, governors, and heads of provinces and from the old leaders. They managed to get some important supporters, such as the former premiers Zhu Rongji and Li Peng and former general secretaries, Qiao Shi and Li Ruihuan and thus continue the purge and convictions already mentioned above, finding themselves better placed to announce the date of the 18th Congress.
The main decisionshave already been made
However, as in all congress of a party like the CPC with a Stalinist origin, and now as a bourgeois party which runs a fierce military dictatorship, the two thousand delegates are chosen by the top leadership to make the decisions already taken previously. The Congress serves, however, to seal the agreement reached among the various internal sectors of the party (the ‘princes’, directors of state-owned companies, sectors of the army, provincial governors, heads of local parties, etc..) so that each of them hold their positions in the assault on the state and, why not, for a parade of the latest international fashion, the politicians’ “fashion week”. It is at these events that the new Chinese bourgeoisie, many of them billionaires, but everyone affiliated to the “Communist Party”, show their power by wearing Rolex watches, Dior brand and Armani suits.
Among the decisions to be ratified at congress is the announcement made on September 24, by the People’s Bank of China (the central bank) on financial reform envisaged in the 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015). The reform will allow the release of interest rates and exchange rates in accordance with the market and the yuan’s convertibility will be guaranteed by the Chinese government. The liberalization of interest rates will be done progressively, but the Chinese currency exchange rate fluctuation shall be carried out immediately. Following this decision, the flow of capital throughthe Chinese border will be released (with rules not yet known), ant this is going to allow the entry of a flurry of financial capital that is “left over” in the U.S. and Europe due to the economic crisis and almost certainly , will also allow the free remittance of profits abroad. From the very capitalist restoration, this is the largest concession of the new Chinese bourgeoisie and its government to the imperialism because it means a loss of money flow control and a very large opening to the imperialist capital, which has claimed for this for years.
The announcement leaves no doubt as to China’s position as an economy submissive to the imperialism’s plans, as IWL has stated and not as an emerging power which would compete on equal terms with the United States.
The official announcement clearly shows the close relationship of the measure with the economic crisis. It can be read that “the external environment has become more complicated due to the global financial crisis” and “so this project was released at the right time to help the financial sector in China to set up” to such changes.
In fact, not only the “external environment”, but also the internal environment got complicated due to the higher incidence of the crisis in China, with GDP showing decreasing rates since the last quarter of 2011, at least, from 8.2% to 7.4% in the third quarter of 2012, the fall of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 9 months over the past 10 months and the profits of state companies 11.4% smaller in the first nine months of the year.
The problem is that this reduction in growth has been accompanied by an increase in food inflation and the real estate market heating, where prices insist on not falling, despite the credit restriction measures in this sector. The root cause is that, to prevent a further fall of the indexes, and especially an increase of the struggles against the consequences of the crisis, the Chinese economy has undergone artificial growth, generating an overproduction of home appliances, toys, coal, real estate, steel and cement. This tendency to overproduction reaches even the new sectors, such as windmills for wind energy and the photovoltaic cells.
Such production without consumption is pulled by state owned companies and local governments. Thus, Tianjin plans to spend $ 236 billion in petrochemical and aerospace industries. Xi’an plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in nine subway lines. In Guizhou, one of China’s poorest regions it is intended to develop tourism with expenditures of approximately $ 472 billion. The examples multiply.
The ease borrowing money in state banks, whose leaders also have their own interests in the “grow”, feeds the vicious cycle and the default risk is huge. According to the Chinese economist, Mao Yushi, “local governments use the people’s money to invest, but if they are unable to repay the loans the financial system will collapse.”
And that iswhat the financial reform wants to prevent from happening, by attracting financial capitals for which there are no more opportunities abroad. “The plan has reiterated that the financial market must be useful to the real economy, supplying it with the necessary funds and thus avoiding that industries remain empty.”
However the financial reform also intends to meet the demands of industries that require political reform – highlighting, once again, that none of them want things as “audacious” such as elections or the end of the single party. The main subject that they discuss in meetings held at luxury resorts on the coastline is how to prevent the CCP from losing control over the situation and thereby open up a wedge through which the working class has the chance to destroy it.
The proposals range from fully release the internal disputes within the party making them public until ways of external control, with rendering of accounts and audits. Among these lies the proposal for a slow and gradual internal opening boosted by Hu Jintao, so slow that no one is able to notice.
Financial reform may appease the mood of these sectors by opening to them new opportunities for enrichment, which is, as in any bourgeois society, the goal of those in powers, whether exercised more or less democratically.
Who are the“communists” in power
At least six of the nine members of the Standing Committee will be substituted, because of either retirement or due to the end of their terms. That is the real governing authority of the party and the country. The Politburo of 25 members serves as a filter and pressure Board aiming at the next Secretariat composition. Regarding the Central Committee comprised of a few hundred members it is practically an institution that homologates the decisions, but obviously it gives its members much prestige and opens up many opportunities to rise – politically and economically.
According to international analysts, there are two obvious names for the composition of the future secretariat: Xi Jinping, the future leader of the party and the country’s president, replacing Hu Jintao and Li Keqiang, the future prime minister, instead of Wen Jiabao.
Others listed are: Li Yuanchao, the head of the powerful Organization Department as the next vice president; Wang Qishan, to Vice Prime minister and Zhang Dejiang, also for Vice Prime minister. There are others who are also on the “waiting list”, Wang Qishan, a vice prime minister who oversees the financial industry and the party leader of Guangdong province, Wang Yang, for his role in the rebellion of Wukan.
All of them aim to, after their appointments, follow their godparents’ footsteps: to hold power in order to become millionaires. For the time being, the great culprit accused of embezzlement is Bo Xilai. In fact, his wife and lawyer, Bogu Kailai, and his brother, Bo Xiyong, have accumulated fortunes over US$ 160 million in mainland China and in Hong Kong, assisted by the arrangements and political influence of Bo. But he is “in good company”.
According to the New York Times, the current prime minister’s mother, Yang Zhiyun, invested US$ 120 million in only one investment in five years ago. His wife, Zhang Beili, is known to dominate the jewelry market in the country. Being a Geologist she led some state companies in this sector that were later privatized and thus her family’s fortune, estimated at US$ 2.7 billion, has been built!
And what can we say about the future leader, Xi Jinping? His family has investments in the sectors of minerals, real estates, and cellular telephony, according to the Bloomberg News website of. The values reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, for example, 18% of a company’s stock of rare earths with assets worth US$ 1.7 billion and the possession of a technology company of US$ 20 million.
They all have somethingin common: they say that their political careers bear no relation to the private fortunes of their families – they have no properties in their own name – and that everything was accomplished “according to the law”. The issue is that they themselves make the law. It is as Xi Jinping’s biographer, Yang Zhongmei, says when referring to his ascension: “One cannot separate his deeds from his political support. This is the current model: if you have political support and money, you get in there”.
This short survey, which shows that the party leaders are nothing but the country bourgeoisie, throws away the illusion that sectors of the world Left nourish about the Chinese model, a supposed “market socialism”, where the openings to the international capital would be concessions tightly controlled by the state aiming at the growth of the country on an egalitarian basis. There is no lack of evidences for completely different conclusions: China is a capitalist and semi colonial country; their economy in no respect points towards socialism.
From our part, we firmly believe that a “political reform” that wins real democratic rights and an “economic reform” that benefits the working class and rural population of China will only be achieved over and against the CCP, through the popular uprising and through the Chinese dictatorship overthrow, and for this it is essential the independent organization of the giant Chinese proletariat in their own labor unions and political entities. The rebellions in Foxconn, the popular protests against polluting companies, the sometimes violent strikes demanding economic improvements and the mobilizations of national minorities against the “pan-Chinese” oppression show that this is the right road.