01 July 2012

Battle for Control of China's Government, Military

The recent downfall of Chongqing boss Bo Xilai is just a bare hint of the underlying conflict over control of China's security and military power apparatus.

AN epic battle for control of the three-million-strong People's Liberation Army has broken out as the power struggle in China enters a new phase.

At its centre is President Hu Jintao, who visited Hong Kong amid tight security over the weekend for the 15th anniversary of the handover from British rule.

Mr Hu is attempting to stay in charge of the military after he steps down later this year as President and as head of the Communist Party, according to Chinese sources in Hong Kong who have been briefed on party affairs.

Talk of his bid came as party insiders leaked the most detailed account yet of the internal strife that led to shots being fired in Beijing in a confrontation between troops and paramilitary police on the night of March 19.

Rumours of an attempted coup swept the capital but were officially denied.

...The dramatic sequence of events - the most destabilising in Beijing since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 - has been pieced together by Qianshao, a magazine based in Hong Kong but known for its political connections in China.

Mr Hu genuinely feared a coup by radical supporters of Bo Xilai, the former party boss of Chongqing, according to Qianshao's editor, Liu Dawen, a veteran of 30 years of delving into party secrets.

...The ousted Mr Bo had one powerful supporter at the top - the security supremo Zhou Yongkang. He had 800,000 police under his authority and kept units of the paramilitary People's Armed Police on duty around his offices in the capital. _Australian

Bo Xilai had supporters in both the military and in domestic security, as well as among a number of the shadowy security and paramilitary organisations that confuse the issues of ultimate power from China's periphery to its center.
Zhou Yongkang... was party secretary at the ministry of public security from 2002-07, before becoming the Politburo’s man in charge of domestic security—secret police and all. He was an ally of Bo Xilai, a fellow Politburo member, until Mr Bo was purged earlier this year.

Mr Zhou, who is said to have backed Mr Bo to succeed him, has presided over heady days for the men and women in blue (and plainclothes). China’s domestic-security budget has surged to an astonishing $110 billion a year, larger than declared defence spending.

...The dilemma for the party, as Mr Li sees it, is that the very factors that threaten the party and made Mr Zhou and the security state powerful still exist: “If you reduce the spending on police, on security, then how to deal with the possible protests?” So murky units such as the 610 Office, whose members have surfaced, for example, in Mr Chen’s security cordon, still thrive. Ai Weiwei, a dissident and artist who was detained in irregular fashion last year by police, says security officers can be vague about precisely which branch of the party-state they work for. _Economist

Foreign observers of China find it difficult to understand all the undercurrents of intrigue involved in the ongoing power struggle within China's top levels of government. But one can be reasonably sure that what is happening at the upper levels of power is also happening at all other levels of power in China -- from top to bottom.

The nine Chinese maritime agencies jockeying for power in the South China Sea, are a reflection of the multiple centres of power, and multiple clashes of personal ambition within and between every governmental agency.

China is a bubbling cauldron of intrigue and shadows. Holding such an empire together under the pretense of integrated nationhood, is not as easy as it looks from the outside.


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Blogger Dot2Dot News said...

Hey nice article, I hadn't know about Bo's strong links to the army! Keep writing , check out my blog I keep updates on the Bo Xilai scandal among other things!

Sunday, 01 July, 2012  
Blogger J said...

Holding such an empire together under the pretense of integrated nationhood, is not as easy as it looks from the outside.

Without a foreign threat, China tends to divide itself into warring statelets. In those chaotic times, foreign rule becomes acceptable and desirable for the majority. That is why minuscule armies like the mongols and later the manchus took over easily and ruled for centuries.

Who are the next manchu? May be Singapur. They will be begged to govern a chaotic China. Or Taiwan nationalists.

Sunday, 01 July, 2012  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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