Monday, May 14, 2012

China: the Domino Effect

This article in The  Epoch Times (published in Hong Kong by the Falun Gong group), about the fall of Zhou Yongkang might be speculative, but it nevertheless shows the end-of-dynasty atmosphere  prevailing in China today.
The fact that Zhou,China's  Security Tzar is under "renewed pressure from the incumbent leadership" is certain.
What would be interesting to follow is the domino effect that the fall of Zhou could trigger. 
Let us not forget that the 'public security' budget managed by Zhou is higher than the Defence budget.
The China Brief of the Jamestown Foundation wrote in March 2012:
Beijing’s preoccupation with maintaining domestic stability has been reflected in reports over the past two years that China’s “public security” budget is larger and growing faster than defense spending. As reported by Reuters, “For 2012, China set combined central and local government spending on "public security" to 701.8 billion yuan ($111.4 billion), compared with 629.3 billion yuan in 2011, when it grew by nearly 13.8 percent” (Reuters, March 5). Meanwhile the defense budget rose by 11.2 percent to 670.3 billion yuan ($106.4 billion).
The “public security” budget includes funding for the police, “state security,” PAP, courts and prison system at the national and local levels of government throughout China. The number of people involved (1.9 million police, up to 1 million PAP and unknown numbers of “state security,” courts and prison system personnel) is greater than the number of active duty PLA (2.3 million) and reserves (over 500,000).
The “public security” budget however complicates part of reasoning behind estimates of “actual” defense spending that conclude it to be significantly higher than the announced figure. Most organizations that attempt to estimate China’s “actual” defense spending usually include the PAP budget in whatever larger amount they finally arrive at, despite the 2006 White Paper’s statement “The [PAP] has an independent budgetary status in the financial expenditure of the state” (China’s National Defense in 2006). If the PAP budget is included as part of “public security,” then it should not be double-counted as part of “actual” defense spending. These budget classifications also suggest the growing distance between the PLA and its direct support to maintaining internal stability.
All the 'public security' is under Zhou Yongkang, till now at least.
About the 'domino effect', I wonder if  the appointed of Hu Chang Shen as the new party secretary replacing Li Dao Ping in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province) is one of the first visible effect of Zhou's fall.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported:
The appointment of Hu Chang Shen was announced on 27 April 2012 by Liu Chuan Chang, the vice party secretary of Sichuan Province at a high-level meeting attended by officials and cadres of the Kardze Prefecture in Kardze, reported the official Chinese news agency Xinhua on 28 April 2012.
At the high-level meeting in Kardze, the vice provincial party secretary Liu Chuan Chang spoke highly of Li Dao Ping saying the outgoing Kardze party secretary had "worked in Tibetan areas for 13 years with strong party spirit and selfless dedication to implement the policies of the central and provincial governments in their struggle against separatist forces of the Dalai clique". Li, according to the provincial vice party secretary, had made significant contributions for the stable development of the Tibetan areas in Ganzi Prefecture.
Li Dao Ping had worked as party secretary of Kardze Prefecture for two terms from 2003 to 2006 and then 2007 to April 2012. Li has also worked as the vice party secretary of Kardze Prefecture from 2000 to 2003. From May 1998 to September 2000, he was the vice party secretary of Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) Prefecture in Tibet Autonomous Region.
The newly-appointed party secretary Hu Chang Shen has worked for a long time in various governmental positions in Sichuan Province. He was the party secretary of Suining City before his appointment as Kardze party secretary.
It is too early to speculate, but things are for sure moving fast in China.

With Abuse of Blind Man, Chinese Security Czar May Have Hastened Fate
Matthew Robertson
The Epoch Times
May 8, 2012
The announcement that the abuse of Chen Guangcheng will be investigated could be a threat to Zhou Yongkang, the security boss.
News Analysis

The announcement from human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng that an investigation will be conducted into the abuses he suffered at the hands of local security officials has political significance at the highest levels of the Communist Party.
Chen said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday that he had been visited four times by an official, who took a statement from him last Thursday. AP said the official was from “a central government bureau that handles citizens’ complaints,” indicating that he is not part of Zhou Yongkang’s security apparatus, and would be acting under the ultimate orders of Party leader Hu Jintao.
“After he took my statement, he said they would launch an investigation as long as there are facts,” Chen said in an interview with AP. “If there are facts about the illegal actions, then the issue definitely would be openly addressed,” Chen said the official told him.
While the hint of an investigation ostensibly shows the unprecedented occurrence of the communist leadership responding to the demands of a persecuted activist, the timing also aligns with insider leaks to The Epoch Times that Zhou Yongkang, the security czar who ultimately oversaw the treatment of Chen, is under renewed pressure from the incumbent leadership.
A source said that Hu Jintao has ordered the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to speed up and place importance on its investigation of Zhou Yongkang, for improper use of state funds and violations of Chinese law.
Zhou is being “internally controlled” and his movements are being restricted, the source in Beijing told The Epoch Times.
Rumors have persisted since March—published by Western press and shared among those close to the circles of power in Beijing—that Zhou is under some form of control. He no longer has power over the 1.5 million strong People’s Armed Police (PAP), the source said.
Zhou is a member of the nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo, the highest organ of power in the regime, and he controls all of China’s internal security forces. Rumors emerged in March that he had, along with the recently disgraced and ousted Bo Xilai, plotted a coup to thwart the rise of Xi Jinping and install Bo to the heart of power in China.

Currently, central Party leaders have made a point of ensuring that Zhou keeps up a relatively regular schedule of public appearances, mirroring Bo Xilai’s treatment before he was suddenly and swiftly dispatched from his Party posts.
Recent events indicate that Zhou Yongkang still has the mettle to turn events in his favor, however, which may have given renewed impetus to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao’s attempts to deal with him.
As head of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC), Zhou Yongkang oversees the vast security apparatus that coordinated the persecution of Chen Guangcheng, who is blind. Chen was first sent to jail for four years after he exposed the violence associated with the implementation of the one-child policy in Linyi, Shandong Province.
After he was released from jail in 2010, he was put under strict house arrest. During this time he and his family were also sometimes harassed and violently beaten by people they described as thugs, but who were actually local security officials.
After Chen’s improbable escape on April 20, Zhou did not make things easy for leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, nor for the Foreign Ministry officials involved in the negotiations with U.S. diplomats. Advocates and friends of Chen were seized, threatened, beaten, and put under house arrest in Beijing and elsewhere. Locally, security enforcers raided the houses of Chen’s relatives, demanding information about how he escaped.
Chen was also given an ultimatum on May 2, when he first emerged from U.S. care: either he would come out that very day, or his wife would be sent back to their home in Shandong. Chen had already learned from his wife that local toughs had set up shop in his home, putting up an electric fence, installing seven cameras, and eating at his kitchen table.
After being released during the daytime, Chen reported at 9 p.m. from his hospital bed that he still had not received food. This was interpreted as another subtle form of intimidation directed by Zhou. American officials were later denied access to Chen. It all appeared to be a design by the security chief and his cohorts to strike fear into Chen and demonstrate who was in charge. U.S. officials were ultimately criticized for letting Chen go back to the Chinese, and criticism against the Chinese side often fell implicitly on Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.
With the reported investigation into Zhou, the situation could change quickly yet again.
“Zhou Yongkang is already a snapping turtle in a pot,” the source said, using a Chinese idiom to indicate that Zhou is trapped. “We won’t have to wait long for an official investigation to be announced.”

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