Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Factional struggle in China's leadership

The leadership transition in China is looking less and less orderly.

Probe of security boss could widen China scandal
China's leaders want Bo Xilai's downfall seen as a blow against corruption -- not as part of a power struggle. But with a second, even higher-ranking Politburo member now suspected to be under pressure, it will become difficult to avoid the perception of all-out infighting.

Moves against Zhou Yongkang, China's security chief, could undermine attempts to portray the Bo scandal as a fight to uphold the rule of law and would reinforce a skeptical public's view that the Communist Party is in disarray months before a once-a-decade transfer of power to new leaders.

In keeping with China's closed political system, the information released publicly about Bo's case has been little, the rumors many and almost no one is willing to speak on the record…

Zhou, 72, is widely reported to have been the only leading official to have argued against last week's striking decision to suspend Bo's membership in the 25-seat Politburo -- a step that effectively ended the political career of one of China's most ambitious and high-profile politicians…

Since then, Zhou has made tearful self-criticisms to President Hu Jintao and former leader Jiang Zemin, his political mentor, according to the U.S.-based Chinese-language dissident news site Boxun.com, which has been reporting accurately on the Bo scandal. Despite that, Zhou is now under some form of secretive investigation by the party's disciplinary body, it said…

Zhou's alleged crimes aren't known, although speculation ranges from massive corruption to secretly conspiring with Bo to boost him into the top leadership rungs…

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