A new cultural revolution?
The street parades of yesterday have become television parades of today,” Chinese University of Political Science and Law professor He Bing lamented on his microblog in an AP feature report we publish today (p10). According to the writer, “he was alluding to China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, when mobs denounced and punished suspected wrongdoers without due process.”
What journalism scholars are saying is that the airing of confessions before court trials tramples on China’s rule of law.
Meanwhile, yesterday, a series of bombings rocked a CCP provincial headquarters in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan, Shanxi, killing one.
Apparently this attack is not Muslim-related like (allegedly) the suicide car crash a week ago in Tiananmen Square.
According to official media the attacker(s) used improvised bombs and AP reported that the incident has the hallmarks “of revenge attacks occasionally launched by disgruntled citizens in China.”
Many in Shanxi province still live in poverty despite the economic reforms, in a country far, far away from the opportunities of the great urban centers of the affluent South-East.
The wave of attacks happened practically on the eve of the CCP’s third plenum, which starts in three days (November 9-12) and aims to transform the Chinese economy by 2020.
The third plenum of the Central Committee of the CCP (CCCCP) will deal mainly with 3 reforms: open up the market, transform government, and reform state-owned enterprises.
The previous two plenary meetings happened in 1978 when Deng Xiao Ping announced the “open door” policy and in 1993, a year after the “paramount leader” made the famous voyage to the South, giving a new boost to the ailing economic reforms in the aftermath of the Tiananmen massacre.
It was the revival of the motto “to get rich is glorious” (attributed to Deng) and the beginnings of an unseen 20-year period of continuous 2-digit growth of a nation.
But despite the economic successes, there are millions of disgruntled people in China; millions who put little faith in the effects of another “plenum” in their daily life and know that the riches are reserved for those in the good grace of the sole-ruling party, as has been the case so far.
It takes a true reformer to promote political change, equality and the rule of law. But we don’t see it coming. What we constantly see from Beijing is not real change but a sophistication of methods like airing suspects "confessions" thus subverting the basic pillar of the rule of law: the presumption of innocence.
China observers say that the man from Beijing that recently visited Macau, Vice Premier Wang Yang, is the leading reformist in the upward echelons of the CCP. And that he’s being groomed to lead the country after Xi.
Is Wang the “true reformer”? Is Wang “the chosen one”?
That remains to be seen. That is, if China’s current leadership is given the time to layout the third plenum plan and all its industrious, meticulous succession moves.
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