Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Two paths diverged. Or did they merge?

An illustration of a couple of the "parties" within the Communist Party in China.

Remember These two candidates for the Politburo Standing Committee:
  • Bo Xilai = a "princeling" who inherited his position; client of VP (soon to be president and party general secretary) Xi Jinping; critic of economic reforms - advocate of reducing income inequalities;
  • Wang Yang = working class "hero;" client of Hu Jintao; an economic reformer; compromised with Wukan village protesters.
Watch to see who gets appointed to the standing committee in 2012.

Guangdong protests could impact China’s leadership shuffle
An uprising over land seizures in a fishing hamlet in southern Guangdong province has been defused, but Chinese analysts and others are watching to see whether the unrest could have a wider impact, perhaps on the future of a provincial chief who had been seen as a rising star in the Communist Party.

Wang Yang, the provincial party chief since 2007… is considered a top candidate for one of the seven slots opening in 2012 on the all-powerful nine-member Politburo Standing Committee…

Bo Xilai, a rival to Wang who is the party chief in Chongqing, has been critical of the liberal approach.

For months, Wang and Bo have been engaged in a rare public debate over whose methods and models were best for China…

For his part, Bo has championed an approach that emphasizes efforts to reverse income inequality. “Some people in China have indeed become rich first, so we must seek the realization of common prosperity,” Bo was quoted as saying in July. A week later, Wang said in Guangdong that “division of the cake is not a priority right now. The priority is to make the cake bigger.”…

Also, although Wang has experimented with allowing a relatively open media and reforms, Bo has shifted to a “new left” stance, encouraging a “Red Culture” campaign that includes the singing of Communist “red songs” and operas, launching a “Red Twitter” microblogging site to promote Mao-era slogans, and ordering Chongqing’s television stations to broadcast patriotically themed programs. Wang replied by saying people’s’ everyday problems could not be solved through political campaigns...

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