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Politics & Law

China at crossroad: Xi Jinping rumours and “old man” politics


Xi Jinping

Reuters says in its report from Beijing today “Chinese Vice-Premier Xi Jinping‘s public absence put down to ailment”. (Xi is the vice-president,  not the vice-premier.)

Xi has been absent from the public scene for more than 10 days, unable to meet visiting foreign leaders and dignitaries including US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the leaders of Singapore and Denmark.”

China’s official source has declined to reveal the reason for Xi’s absence in keeping with its tradition of keeping secret every thing about the daily life of top leaders.

Media thirsty for sensational news certainly has spared no effort to get insider information, but has failed as different sources give different stories.

“A source close to the Beijing leadership said: ‘Xi injured his back when he went for his daily swim,’” Reuters says. “Another source, citing people close to Xi, said: ‘He’s unwell, but it’s not a big problem.’”

New York Times, however, says in its report today, “Some diplomats say they have heard that Mr. Xi suffered a pulled muscle while swimming or playing soccer. One media report, since retracted, had it that Mr. Xi was hurt in an auto accident when a military official tried to injure or kill him in a revenge plot. A well-connected political analyst in Beijing said in an interview that Mr. Xi might have had a mild heart attack.”

Which story is true? Perhaps, none of them is true. In fact, such absence of a top leader designated as Hu Jintao’s successor has a lot of possible indications:

1. Perhaps, the powerful elders find that Xi has failed in the 5-year test of his competence and decided to replace him with another. However, as he has not committed any serious error, direct public removal may be too harsh and unfair to Xi. Sickness is the best excuse.

2. Perhaps, Xi really has a serious health problem or an injury in an auto crash as the New York Times reports. He is thus unable to function satisfactorily as the party general secretary even for five years, let alone a decade; therefore, it would be wise to find a replacement now. That would be a very difficult decision, as various factions have quite different candidates. As Xi’s replacement has not been decided, the date of the 18th Party Congress cannot not yet be fixed.

3. Perhaps, Xi is really “unwell, but it’s not a big problem,” according to another Reuters’ source, but a “not big problem” may not cause such a long absence.

In fact, anything is possible, but as Xi has not taken over the top post nor built up his power base, whatever his problem, the impact on China may not be great.

The serious problem for China is the old age of the members of its decision making body, the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).

One has to climb the official ladder from county, city, prefecture, province up to central level, and then to the Politburo and finally to the PSC. It is a long journey that takes a lifetime. It has the advantage that those who have risen to the top have rich experience in administration, but the disadvantages are serious:

1. People are close to the age of 60 when they become PSC members (except chosen successors who do not have power). The top leader, the general secretary, has no designated successor until five years after he takes office. If he dies or is seriously ill (that is not impossible for a man that age) before he has a designated successor, China may be in chaos due to the fight for succession.

2. A talented statesman has to wait for decades before he has the opportunity to give full play to his talents. That is a serious waste of talents. In Chinese history, it was quite common for people at much younger age to become satisfactory prime ministers. A prominent example is Zhuge Liang, a well-known statesman in Chinese history. He became prime minister at the age of 30.

Editor’s Note: As would be expected, searches for the name “Xi Jinping” on Chinese search engines are blocked.

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

Discussion

4 thoughts on “China at crossroad: Xi Jinping rumours and “old man” politics

  1. I like your concise decryption of the potential outcomes of Xi Jinping being absent.

    Like

    Posted by Shawn Mahoney | September 13, 2012, 6:29 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: China’s Xi appears in public after 2-week absence « China Daily Mail - September 15, 2012

  2. Pingback: China’s Xi Jinping appears in public after 2-week absence « China Daily Mail - September 15, 2012

  3. Pingback: China inequality causes unease « China Daily Mail - October 17, 2012

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