Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Declassified Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis

While the 1962 Sino-Indian War has received an extensive coverage in India, the Cuban Missile Crisis between the United States and Soviet Union has widely been discussed in the media worldwide. 
Both events occurred at the same time.
One difference of course is the fact that outside the subcontinent, very few cared for what happened fifty years ago on the Himalayan slopes. 
For example, I have not seen a single article in the French press about 1962 War.
Another difference is the number of new documents which have been declassified by the US, the Russians and other protagonists of the Cuban Crisis.  
In India and China, the archives have remained as hermetically closed as ever; it is not a sign of maturity.
It has not been the case in the US and Russia. I post below an example of declassified documents published by the National Security Archives in the United States about the role of the submarines in the Cuban 'underwater' war. 
Many more such examples could be given
One of them is the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. which released its CWIHP Bulletin (Issue 17/18) on “The Global Cuban Missile Crisis at 50.”
...this issue continues the Project’s mission to enrich scholarship and public policy debate through new archival evidence from inaccessible (or less easily accessible) archives around the world. Containing over 500 newly declassified and translated documents from international sources, this issue is the most extensive collection ever presented of original, never-before published, non-US primary sources on the Crisis. 
One can continue dreaming that one day India and China will open their archives.

The Underwater Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet Submarines and the Risk of Nuclear War
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 399
Edited by Thomas Blanton, William Burr and Svetlana Savranskaya
October 24, 2012
Washington, DC, October 24, 2012 – Extreme temperatures, equipment breakdowns, and the reckless deployment of nuclear torpedoes aboard Soviet submarines near the quarantine line during the Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years ago this week elevated the already-high danger factor in the Crisis, according to Soviet and American documents and testimonies included in a new Web posting by the National Security Archive (
The underwater Cuban Missile Crisis received new attention this week with two PBS Television shows, one of which re-enacts as "overheated" docudrama (in the words of The New York Times reviewer) the confrontation between U.S. Navy sub-chasing units and the Soviet submarine B-59, commanded by Valentin Savitsky, on the most dangerous day of the Crisis, October 27, 1962.
The newly published documents in the posting include the original Soviet Navy map of the Caribbean showing the locations of the four "Foxtrot" diesel submarines that had deployed from the Kola peninsula northwest of Murmansk on October 1, 1962, bound for Mariel port in Cuba to establish a submarine base there. Unknown to the U.S. Navy, each of the subs carried a nuclear-tipped torpedo, with oral instructions to the captains to use them if attacked by the Americans and hulled either above or below the waterline.
The documents include the never-before-published after-action report prepared by Soviet Northern Fleet Headquarters after the four commanders' return to Murmansk in November 1962, describing the atrocious conditions aboard the subs, which were not designed for operations in tropical waters.
The posting also includes the U.S. Navy message on October 24, 1962, detailing the "Submarine Surfacing and Identification Procedures" to be followed by U.S. forces enforcing the quarantine of Cuba, including dropping "four or five harmless explosive sound signals" after which "Submerged submarines, on hearing this signal, should surface on Easterly course." The State Department communicated this procedure to "other Governments" including the Soviet Foreign Ministry, but the Soviet submarine commanders, in a series of interviews in recent years, report they never received the message.
A fascinating sub-plot of the underwater missile crisis involves U.S. efforts to locate the Soviet submarines. Since 27 September 1962, the U.S. Navy had been tracking the subs using listening posts that detected electronically-compressed "burst radio transmissions" between Soviet Navy command posts and the submarines themselves. The messages could not be deciphered but the location from where they were transmitted could be identified. While U.S. Navy analysts had assumed that the subs were on their way to the Barents Sea for exercises they discovered that they were in the North Atlantic on their way to Cuba. [1] Another high-tech method for tracking subs was the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) that detected the noise made by submarine engines. [2] The Navy also used "mad contacts", referring to magnetic anomaly detection (MAD), and "Julie" and "Jezebel" sonobouys. [3]
The Archive's publication also makes available:
Anatoly Petrovich Andreyev, excerpts of diary entries, October 1962.
Photographic images of the evocative diary of submariner Anatoly Petrovich Andreyev, who wrote his account as a letter to his wife describing the equipment breakdowns, the elevated temperatures, the lack of ventilation or fresh water, skin rashes, 30-40% weight loss, and a crew stripped down to their skivvies to deal with the heat.
Video of Soviet signals intelligence officer Vadim Orlov from the historic 2002 40th anniversary conference on the Missile Crisis, in Havana, Cuba. Orlov served on the B-59 submarine and witnessed how close the sub's commander came to arming the nuclear torpedo aboard.
Video of Capt. John Peterson (USN retired) at the 2002 Havana conference, describing the hunt for Orlov's submarine, acknowledging that the "signaling depth charges" he and his crew dropped on the Soviets might have sounded very different to the Soviet sailors down below Peterson's destroyer.
Finally, today's posting includes the Navy cables, deck logs, Flag Plot charts, and photographs from the October 27 tracking and surfacing of B-59, excerpted from the Archive's previous publication which established the precise date and time of the confrontation with submarine B-59

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pasture rights and borders

This article from ANI raises some very serious questions which are generally ignored by political commentators.
How to demarcate a border which has only been delineated (like the McMahon Line which was drawn on a small map after a vague survey)?
In this particular case, the main principle used by Sir Henry McMahon and his Tibetan counterpart (Lochen Shatra) to draw the border between India and Tibet on the two-page map was the watershed principle.
Unfortunately the line of the highest  ridges is not always a straight line. 
What to do in this case?
One way to demarcate the border is to use rivers, lakes, roads and other natural features or more interestingly pasture rights.
It does not always work, as for example, some pasture may have been leased by some villagers one side of the ridge to villagers on the other side. What to do in such cases?
Further, this lease may also be a time-bound (1 year/5 years/100 years, etc.) one. In any case, lease does not mean ownership.  
About ownership, what is a proof of ownership? Possession only? It can be customary ownership dating from centuries which often involves disputes between villages.

Without going into details, it is a tricky issue and it is one the reasons why the McMahon Line has never been demarcated on the ground.
At the end of the process, when both sides have agreed to demarcate the border on the ground, abornement (or erection of pillars/fence) has to be done.
This may take several decades in the case of McMahon Line. 
For Bhutan, it may be easier.
In The McMahon Line Saga, I mention the agreement on delineation of the Indo-Bhutan border in this sector:
During the 1938 Lightfoot’s trip [Capt Lightfoot was the Political Officer in Balipara; he was responsible for the Frontier's Tracks], the alignment of the Tawang-Bhutan boundary was again discussed with the Bhutanese authorities.
Lightfoot’s recommendations were more favourable to Bhutan than the 1936 line. The 1938 line ran along the Warong Chu near Bleteng, then along the Tawang Chu and from there along the Ngangrang Chu to the Nyingsang La ridge. This was officially communicated to the Bhutan Government through Political Officer in Sikkim in November 1938 and accepted in July 1940. Till date, it has remained the de facto boundary.
Once again, delineation does not mean demarcation.

Arunachal GBs oppose Army’s map putting 22 grazing grounds outside of India
News Desk
October 29, 2012
Tawang, Oct 29 (ANI): Claiming that the Indian Army has in its border demarcation map put 22 grazing grounds outside of Indian territory, the All Arunachal Pradesh Goan Burah Welfare Association (AAPGBWA) today said villagers would not allow their land to be given away to Bhutan.
AAPGBWA president Nabam Epo informed that a team visited the district and identified the grazing grounds of Lumpo Muchut village as Manamla Pass, Ranti Kirme, Breuser, Phojurmo, Serchuangla Pass, Serchung, Sargosla Pass, Sargosche, Berfo, Sargoti, Brimala Pass, Chhegorla Pass, Barila Pass, Talemjurche, Morokser Law Pass, Morokser, Berfo, Talemjurtee, Gila Pass, Laqyap, Dumsumteng and Gamola Lachangtso.
The AAPGBWA also called for lifetime tenure for GBs, as long as they did not breach conditions of appointment, and urged the Arunachal Pradesh Government to provide all amenities/facilities due to GBs under the relevant Act.
Gaon Burah as an institution assumes importance in the villages of Arunachal Pradesh in the absence of separate judiciary in the state.
The senior most Gaon Burah is appointed as the head Gaon Burah and its members are the elders of the village.
The council meets whenever necessary to settle the disputes. Oaths and ordeals are also used to arrive at the final decision.
The members of the council are held in high esteem and the council performs judicial, developmental and administrative functions as well. (ANI)

The McMahon Line: Tibet Will Test Xi Jinping

This is first review of my book, 1962 and the McMahon Line Saga.
It is written by Rajinder Puri, the veteran journalist and cartoonist and appeared in The Statesman on 28 October 2012.

Special Article
The McMahon Line: Tibet Will Test Xi Jinping

Rajinder Puri
The Statesman
THIS critic had always considered the real dispute between China and India not arising from their conflicting claims over sparsely inhabited or uninhabited land but from the fact that Beijing denied India its legitimate sphere of influence. It now transpires that Beijing has similar concerns. It considers its questioned rights over Tibet to be the real cause of Sino-Indian discord. This is brought out lucidly in a new book by Mr Claude Arpi, 1962 and the McMahon Line Saga, produced by Lancer Publishers. The wealth of information contained in this book provides a treasure-trove for any research scholar of China studies. I will not attempt a formal review of the book which is best left for a specialist on China studies. But one can cull some nuggets of information from its contents that are most relevant to the crisis in Tibet and a rational solution for resolving it.
The starting point of the current crisis in Tibet was the Simla Conference of 1914 attended by Britain, Tibet and China. After various expeditions to Tibet the British had concluded that China had no tangible presence or influence in Tibet. The status of Tibet was nebulous. Imperial Britain hosted the Simla Conference to formalise its status.
The British and the Tibetans considered Tibet fully autonomous. They denied sovereignty but conceded suzerainty of China over Tibet. Years after their departure the failure by the Indian Ambassador to China, KM Pannikar, to clearly demarcate between sovereignty and suzerainty worsened Sino-Indian relations. The truth is that Tibet was an independent country which was annexed by the Mongol and Manchu rulers of China after they had conquered it to create their empires. With the weakening of the Chinese government at the end of Manchu rule, the Chinese control over Tibet had vanished. This becomes evident from the fact that both China and Tibet were separately represented at the Simla Conference.
The claims of Chinese and Tibetan representatives at the Simla Conference were in conflict. While the Tibetans insisted on full autonomy, conceding only notional suzerainty, the Chinese claimed Tibet to be part of China. But interestingly enough the Chinese representative, Ivan Chen, rested his claim on the fact that the Mongols under Genghis Khan had conquered Tibet. Was this argument valid? Tibetans today point out that authentic China was limited to the territory within the Great Wall built by the Han Chinese. The rest was part of empires created by foreign conquerors of China. Going by Ivan Chen’s logic India could as well claim that Myanmar is part of India because Britain when it ruled British India had included Burma to be part of India.
With World War I clouds hovering over Europe, Britain was anxious to secure an agreement with China. Finally an acceptable formula was adopted in the Simla Conference. Tibet was divided between Inner and Outer Tibet. China agreed not to make Tibet a province of China and also agreed to give full autonomy and promised non-interference in the affairs of Outer Tibet to be directly under the Dalai Lama. The agreement was signed by the British and the Tibetans but was only initialed by the Chinese. Interestingly enough, the Chinese baulked at signing the treaty not because they objected to its other terms but only because agreement could not be reached on the exact location of the boundary separating Inner from Outer Tibet.
After India became independent in 1947 to inherit the British policy on Tibet, the crisis created by the intransigence and distortion of history by the Chinese was compounded by the vacillating and confused policy pursued by Prime Minister Nehru. In November 1950 China announced its intention to “liberate” Tibet. Sardar Patel wanted to consolidate British policy on Tibet by securing our borders. He wrote a note to Nehru suggesting concrete steps to achieve this. But Nehru changed his stance by accepting that Tibet was not a country “verging on independence” but was to be treated as an “occupied country”. Nehru declined to reply to Patel but instead drafted his own policy on Tibet with its disastrous consequences. He based policy on his assumption that China as an Asian nation would consider friendship with India paramount. Mr Arpi comments in his book: “Sardar Vallabhai Patel…probably was the one Indian politician who could have balanced Nehru; the destiny of India could have taken a different direction; it was not to be. With the demise of Patel, for the sake of the newly-found “friendship” with China, Tibet policy was buried.”
However history has moved on. In the final analysis the fate of a nation is not determined by quibbling over maps and treaties. It is decided by ground realities. That is what needs to be focused on in order to resolve the Tibetan crisis which bedevils relations between India and China. Tibet was India’s neighbour for centuries and there was no serious border problem. China annexed Tibet and a serious border problem has arisen. Without resolving it normalisation with China seems unreal. Can the Tibetan crisis be resolved?
Mr Arpi concludes his book on a somewhat pessimistic note. He writes: “The border issue between India and China is not going to be solved very soon, for the good reason that both the Indians and the Tibetans are not ready to rewrite history and admit that Tibet had no power to sign an agreement with another independent nation. It practically means that India will continue to stand by the McMahon Line.”
I am not that pessimistic. I think a glimmer of hope exists. Thanks to his sense of realism, Dalai Lama has publicly agreed that Tibet could be part of China as long as its full cultural autonomy and religious freedom are respected. This is a huge concession that is unacceptable to the younger generation of Tibetans. Nevertheless if it comes to the crunch I believe that His Holiness could prevail over his young followers.
Within China the intransigence of the government could be traced to the fact that President Hu Jintao had been appointed by Deng Xiaoping as the administrator of Tibet. He was the author of Beijing’s hardline approach and repression in Tibet. Any reversal of that policy would have entailed loss of face for President Hu in a society where keeping face matters so much. Mr Xi Jinping on the other hand was brought up by a father who despite being Mao’s General was also very liberal in his approach towards Tibet. Would Mr Xi reverse Beijing’s Tibet policy to accommodate Dalai Lama’s generous offer? On the eve of the leadership transition in China there are political ripples emanating from exposures on corruption that affect even China’s army.
Dare one hope that these will lead to a more liberal China? Resolution of the Tibetan crisis by granting full autonomy to Outer Tibet would establish normalcy on the Sino-Indian border. Normalcy would allow New Delhi to accept some arrangement to legitimize China’s Aksai Chin road connecting Xingjian to Tibet . That would lay the foundation for a meaningful India-China partnership. Will Mr Xi Jinping deliver? Tibet will be his litmus test.                           
The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist. He blogs at

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Step Forward or Backward?

Xiao Wunan and the Karmapa
According to the website of the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF), a  delegation from this Hong Kong based organistaion "visited India and Nepal upon invitation".
The site said: "During the visit in India, APECF delegation went to Dharamsala and visited the 17th Karmapa, both parties had a pleasant talk about the issue of bilateral religious and cultural exchange."
The APECF webmaster has forgotten to mention that Xiao Wunan, a senior CCP cadre and executive vice-president of APECF also met with the Dalai Lama and Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected Tibetan leader.
Why to only mention Karmapa?
The Chinese leadership probably wanted to keep the encounter with the Tibetan leaders as informal ans low-key as possible. 
None of the Tibetan websites reported the event which is an important one.
A year ago, I had mentioned on this blog:
The Economist recently reported that China plans to invest $3 billion in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha. The Economist explained: “After Prachanda, the leader of Nepal’s Maoists, stepped down as prime minister in 2009, he several times met representatives of The Asia Pacific Exchange and Co-operation Foundation (APECF). In July Chinese media reported that the Hong-Kong-based foundation—which is widely thought to have China’s backing—had signed an agreement with UNIDO, the UN’s industrial-development organisation, to invest $3 billion in Lumbini.” The objective is to make a ‘Mecca for Buddhists’.The Economist said that the news caused an uproar in Nepal as neither the central government nor the local authorities responsible for Lumbini were consulted. Later the Nepalese government refused to entertain the deal. “If this was an exercise in Chinese ‘soft power; it was a disaster’, The Economist commented.
Xiao Wunan and Nepal Vice-President
Despite the 'uproar', Xiao Wunan stayed a week in Nepal. 
The APECF website says: "From August 14th to 22nd, the Executive Vice Chairman of APECF Mr. Xiao Wunan, the Deputy Secretary General Ms. Gong Tingyu and Ms. Ge Chen, etc and representatives from China Railway 21st Bureau and China Potevio Group visited this area mentioned above, and had extensive exchanges with all parties in the aspect of bilateral and multilateral religious and cultural exchange and the further implementation of Lumbini Recovery Plan, and obtained fruitful results."
The Lumbini project is certainly not shelved as: "During the visit in Nepal, APECF delegation visited Mr. Parmanand Jha, the Vice President of Nepal, Mr. Prachanda, the President of Lumbini Development National Directive Committee, Mr. Posta Bahadur Bogati, the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Mr. Hridesh Tripathi, the Minister for Physical Planning, and Mr. Kamal Thapa, the Minister for Telecommunications."
And Mr Xiao wants also to help Nalanda!
Regarding, the re-designation of the Kalon Tripa (Dr Lobsang Sangay) as 'Sikyong’ (political leader), it is doubtful if the new designation is more swallowable to the Chinese, as it has a strong connotation with the Regency. The last regent of Tibet, Taktra Rinpoche was called 'Sikyong'. It would mean that the Chinese are ready to accept a 'political leader' to run the Tibet Affairs after the departure of the Dalai Lama. Probably not.
Anyhow, it is an extremely interesting development. In my book The Negotiations that never were, I have always advocated a direct approach between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership. 
It can only help clarify the suspicions.
It is hopefully a small step forward.
A concerned dragon: China’s fresh overture to Tibetans

Jayadeva Ranade
October 26, 2012
As China prepares to usher in a new leadership at the 18th Party Congress scheduled to open in Beijing on November 8, there is mounting concern in senior echelons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at the rising resentment in the ethnic Tibetan minority.
Particularly worrying would have been the self-immolation on October 15, by the grandfather of the 10-year old Beijing-recognised VIIth Gungthang Rinpoche, which highlights the strained relationship between Tibetans and Communist authorities. A new feature is that recently thousands of Tibetans, disregarding heavy armed police presence, assemble at sites of the self-immolations to pray for the deceased and mark the spot.
In a recent apparent bid to ease these tensions, Chinese authorities quietly sent an emissary and contacted Tibetan leaders in Dharamsala. Thinly cloaked as a venture of ‘Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation’ (APECF), a Chinese government-sponsored NGO manned by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres, the initiative seeks to revive plans to consolidate and expand China’s presence in Nepal and ingress India and its border regions, ostensibly by encouraging Buddhist tourism in Lumbini in Nepal. At least one executive director of APECF has links to China’s military establishment.
Xiao Wunan, a senior CCP cadre and executive vice-president of APECF visited India and was received in Dharamsala on August 16 by the Dalai Lama, Lobsang Sangay, then ‘Kalon Tripa’ (prime minister) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and Ugyen Thinley Dorjee, who is formally approved by the Dalai Lama and Beijing as the XVIIth Gyalwa Karmapa, or head of the Karma Kargyu sect. Xiao Wunan was accompanied byGong Tingyu, a Deputy Secretary General of APECF and Simon Kei Shek Ming, reportedly a journalist of the Hong Kong magazine Yazhou Zhoukan.
During his meeting with the Dalai Lama, Xiao Wunan probably carried a personal message from a senior Chinese leader, possibly Xi Jinping. He could have informed the Dalai Lama that he was welcome to spend his last days in Beijing provided he gave up ‘anti-China’ activities and expressed support for the Communist regime.
Xiao Wunan’s meeting with Lobsang Sangay, elected head of the CTA, is significant. It suggests Beijing may be willing to talk to its representatives. Lobsang Sangay is also ‘known’ to the UFWD for facilitating contacts between Chinese academics and the Dalai Lama. Coincidentally, within a month of the meeting the designation of the Head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was changed from ‘Kalon Tripa’ (or prime minister) to the less controversial — from Beijing’s perspective —’Sikyong’ (or political leader).
Xiao Wunan’s meeting with Ugyen Thinley Dorjee reportedly ended abruptly when the monk took offence at the tenor of his questions. Xiao Wunan’s photograph with Ugyen Thinley Dorjee is, however, posted on APECF’s website.
Xiao Wunan also visited Nalanda when he met officials of the proposed university and assured financial assistance. In Delhi he met officials in the Ministries of Culture and Tourism. Returning to Kathmandu, Xiao Wunan disingenuously announced that APECF now has the support of the Government of India and would be organising three and four-day package tours for Buddhist pilgrims travelling from Lumbini to India.
Interestingly, Xiao Wunan separated from an official Chinese delegation visiting Kathmandu to visit India. The Chinese delegation included Zou Lanming, vice general manager of the Lanzhou-based China Railway 21st Bureau. Xiao Wunan’s presence could suggest China plans to extend the railway from Xigaze to possibly Lumbini, on the border with India. A month later Xiao Wunan announced that APECF had signed an MoU with UK’s Vertical Theme Park (VTP) Group for a Lumbini Cloud Tower project, with the Nepal Government’s approval.
Nepal’s My Republica on October 11, reported the Nepal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation’s denial that it was aware of any deal to develop Lumbini as an ‘international peace city’. Prachanda, leader of the Unified Communist Party-Marxist Leninist (UCP-ML), however, continues to be a vice president of APECF.
Meanwhile the CCP’s policy governing Tibetans, of combining economic incentives with intense political persuasion, remains unchanged. In an unusually candid interview to the Party mouthpiece People’s Daily on September 21, 2012, Chen Quanguo, party secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), enumerated the economic benefits extended to the people of Tibet. Disclosing measures to ensure ‘social stability’, he listed that 21,804 cadres had been sent to work in 5,451 administrative villages, that the Party had compiled complete sets of files and that 698 police stations had been established. All monasteries and temples now have photographs of the ‘four leaders’ (Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao), the national flag and a copy each of the People’s Daily and Tibet Daily. A project has also been started to ‘cultivate’ 100 senior monks and ‘guide’ Tibetan Buddhism to ‘adapt itself to socialist society’.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mao will not lead China forever

Mao is for ever with us, says the poster.
Perhaps not.
"To include Mao, or not to include Mao? That is the tough question China's rulers are facing as the nation prepares for the once-a-decade leadership transition", writes Cary Huang in The South China Morning Post.
One can understand that Xi Jinping, the expected new leader of China does not believe in the cult of Mao. 
As I mentioned in another posting, Xi Jinping was nine years-old when he saw his father, Xi Zhongxun, then Vice-Premier of the People's Republic of China,  unjustly purged by Mao. 
This happened in September 1962 as Mao was preparing to go to war with India. Xi Zhongxun only reappeared in 1978, when Deng Xiaoping gave him the task to start economic reforms in China's coastal areas.
What a traumatic experience, it must have been for young Xi!
Here is an extract of The Origins of the Cultural Revolution (Volume 2) written by the great scholar Roderick MacFarquhar:

Xi Zhongxun and his sons
The day of the jackal
The Gao Gang affair [Gao was the victim of the first major purge within the CCP in 1953-54] was still alive issue in 1962. As we have seen, by the time of the Seven Thousand Cadres Conference [January 1962] , it was Peng Dehuai's alleged involvement in it that had to be used as the major justification for Mao's refusal to rehabilitate the marshal, since his trenchant criticisms of the GLF [Great Leap Forward] had been proved correct.
Thus it was no wonder that Kang Sheng should prick up his ears at the mention of a new Gao Gang angle. In the tense atmosphere of intra-party struggle revived at Beidaihe by Mao, here was a heaven-sent opportunity for Kang to prove again to the Chairman his indispensability in ferreting out traitors.
Among Kang's current positions was vice-head of the CC's Culture and Education Small Group and head of its theory section, and on that authority he ordered the Propaganda Department to stop any further publication of chapters from Liu Zhidan, even though at this point he had not even seen the manuscript. He ordered 300 copies of the third draft and 600 copies of the fifth draft to be printed and distributed for examination by the Beidaihe conferees.
On 24 August, he wrote to the CC's General Office to say that this was not simply a literary issue but had political implications. He coined the phrase 'using novels to promote anti-party activities' is a great invention, which Mao embraced with enthusiasm, and which indeed was subsequently attributed to the Chairman. But author Li Jiantong was small fry, and so Kang Sheng concocted the idea of a high-level plot masterminded by Xi Zhongxun.
Why did Mao seize on the Liu Zhidan affair and give Kang Sheng his head without really looking into the matter, or indeed believing the charges?
Did he not have enough to do discouraging his leagues from pursuing revisionist policies in the countryside and abroad?
One reason was probably that he welcomed a fresh case seemingly tailor-made to justify his warnings on the need for class struggle and eternal vigilance.
Secondly, ever since the Hungarian revolt and the Hundred Flowers in China, he had been extremely wary of the ability of intellectuals to use their professional skill for nefarious political purposes, what might be called the Petofi Circle syndrome.
Kang's new concept resonated with him, and as the 1960s progressed, Mao would increase the pressure on the intellectuals. Finally, as Kang Sheng doubtless intuited, attacking Liu Zhidan was an excellent way to demonstrate the continuing relevance of the Gao Gang affair, and thus provide additional justification for the refusal to rehabilitate Peng Dehuai.
For his own reasons, Liu Shaoqi had to fall in with this strategy vis-à-vis Peng Dehuai, but at the 10th plenum he also condemned Xi Zhongxun and Liu Zhidan in the same terms. There is no record of Zhou Enlai attempting to save a man he evidently regarded as a key member of his State Council team; with Mao's permission and  Chen Yi in attendance, the premier tried only to comfort Xi Zhongxun with an assurance that if the Liu Zhidan accusation was a mistake, it would be corrected.
At the 10th-plenum, Kang Sheng was thus free to lead the attack on Xi, and thereafter to lead the second special case review commission in its investigation of the supposed 'anti-party group' led by Xi; Jia Tuofu, a one-time associate of Liu Zhidan and currently a CC member and a vice-chairman of the State Planning Commission; and the author's husband, Liu Zhidan's brother, Liu Jingfan. Kang Sheng alleged that a character in the novel named Luo Yan represented Gao Gang, just as three years later he would claim that Hai Rui was Peng Dehuai. Officials at the publishing house and throughout the northwest were investigated, and the case had still not been concluded when the Cultural Revolution broke out and it became public knowledge. Kang Sheng's reward was promotion to the CC's secretariat at the 10th plenum.
Thus Xi Zhongxun was purged, for no fault of his.

Will Mao Zedong's philosophy live on in party constitution?
South China Morning Post
Cary Huang in Beijing
Analysts are divided on whether omission of Mao Zedong's name in recent statement means his philosophy may be cut from constitution
To include Mao, or not to include Mao? That is the tough question China's rulers are facing as the nation prepares for the once-a-decade leadership transition in two weeks.
The omission of Mao Zedong's name from a recent Xinhua statement has triggered speculation as to whether the Communist Party's 18th congress, which begins on November 8, will make a historic decision about how much emphasis to accord one of the party's founding fathers, as the practical impact of Mao's legacy on the party wanes.
The statement, issued after the party's 24-member Politburo met on Monday, made references to President Hu Jintao , his predecessor Jiang Zemin , and Deng Xiaoping , the architect of China's transformational "reform and opening up" policy, but did not mention Mao. The statement also said the congress would revise the party constitution to incorporate "significant" theories.
Analysts are divided on whether the omission was an indication that the party leadership had reached a consensus on Mao's controversial theories.
"This is not a new development. The omission has happened before in the past decade," said Professor Steve Tsang, who teaches contemporary Chinese studies at the University of Nottingham, where he is also director of the China Policy Institute.
Tsang said the practice of citing the "contributions" made by successive generations of top leaders had become too long and unwieldy to include the full citation from Karl Marx to Hu.
"Do not read too much into the omission," said Professor Liu Kang, director of Duke University's China Research Centre.
Liu said the party was uncertain about its ideological legitimacy but still tended to preserve its ideological continuity. "The party is unlikely to deliberately trigger a political controversy and jettison a figure on whose memory it depends for legitimacy and continuity," he said.
The party announced yesterday the planned naming of four halls in the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square after revolutionary places related to Mao.
The places are Jinggangshan and Yanan , which were Red Army headquarters; Shaoshan , Mao's birthplace; and Zunyi , where Mao was appointed top leader of the Red Army.
Some analysts agree that the omission of Mao's name from the recent statement may hint at a pivotal change in the party's outlook, even as time is running out for the government to fix structural flaws in the way the country is run.
Zhang Ming , a political scientist at Renmin University, said it had become imperative, and therefore likely, that the party would reach a decision on whether to acknowledge Mao's ideology, particularly after the Bo Xilai saga this year.
Bo, a high-flying Politburo member until his recent downfall, had gained considerable popularity through his Maoist revival campaign.
"The party as a whole is extremely averse to the idea of another Mao appearing, and they understand that China's future depends on overcoming its attachment to Mao," Zhang said.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nehru in Tibet: The Visit that Partially Materialized

An invitation to visit Tibet
The Dalai Lama came to India in an official visit from November 1956 to February 1957. On February 13, 1957, while on his way back, he wrote from Gangtok a letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister in which he stated that he and his entourage ‘had a good pilgrimage’ in India.
He also expressed his heartfelt thanks to all those Indian officials who had accompanied the Tibetan delegation during their visit and requested Nehru to ‘recognize the valuable services rendered by these officials’.
About the same time, in another letter, the Tibetan leader restated that it was of the greatest importance to establish ‘on a firm basis’ a relationship between India and Tibet on matters pertaining to religion and culture.
He requested the Indian Prime Minister: "I would be very happy indeed if your good-self would deal directly with matters relating entirely to religion and cultural affairs of India and Tibet."
On May 8, 1957, Nehru sent a reply to the Dalai Lama, who by that time was back in Lhasa:
Your Holiness,
In February last I received from our Political Officer [Apa B. Pant] in Sikkim two letters which you wrote to me from Gangtok. I was at that time extremely busy with preparations for the general elections in our country which, as Your Holiness may know, took place throughout India during the first fortnight of March. I regret that owing to many preoccupations I could not answer your letters earlier.
I thank Your Holiness very much for the friendly sentiments which you have expressed in your letters. We were happy to have you in India as our guest. I only hope that you did not find the programme here too strenuous.
We reciprocate Your Holiness's desire for closer cultural relations between Tibet and India. We have accordingly given very careful consideration to the suggestions you have made in one of your letters.  We see no difficulty about the extension of the Tibetan Monastery at Buddha Gaya and are prepared to consider sympathetically any concrete proposal from Your Holiness. We shall also await proposals from Tibet for the establishment of monasteries at other centres in India, which are considered holy by Buddhists.
Your Holiness has referred to the appointment of a new Abbot at Tharpa Choling Monastery at Kalimpong. As Your Holiness may know, the administration of this Monastery was extremely unsatisfactory under the old Abbot. We only hope that the new Abbot, whoever he may be, will be carefully selected. Our local officers in Kalimpong will give him every possible assistance. We shall await particulars about Your Holiness's nominee. You can rest assured that we shall give our concurrence in the new appointment with the minimum delay.
We shall also be happy to receive Tibetan scholars in India. I presume that the expenses of these scholars will be borne by the Tibetan Government.
I thank Your Holiness for inviting me to pay a visit to Lhasa. I would have liked to accept your invitation. Unfortunately, I shall not find it possible to go to Lhasa this summer. I have to go to London towards the end of June for the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' meeting and shall be out of my country for nearly a month. If I see any possibility of visiting Lhasa later in the year I shall ask our Consul-General [Major V S.L. Chibber, Officiating Consul-General at Lhasa] to approach you. I shall also simultaneously inform the Government of the People's Republic of China.
During a few months, the issue of the invitation to visit Tibet remained dormant. But, on January 21, 1958, Nehru cabled R.K. Nehru, India's Ambassador to China regarding his proposed visit to Tibet (the Prime Minister referred to a telegram sent by the ambassador on January 13 on the subject). The Prime Minister wrote:
Please inform Premier Chou En-lai [Zhou Enlai] that I shall be happy to visit Tibet in response to the invitation of the Dalai Lama which he has kindly conveyed to me. I would particularly welcome meeting him there. It is difficult, however, to fix any date at present. I should like to know what possible dates would be considered suitable. Presumably sometime late in summer or early autumn will be suitable from the point of view of climate.
I suppose that I will have to make this journey by air.
A week later, he requested the Foreign Secretary (Subimal Dutt) to inform India's representatives at Gangtok (Apa Pant, the Political Officer) and Lhasa (Major S.L. Chiber, the Indian Consul General) that Zhou Enlai had confirmed through R.K. Nehru, that he had been invited by the Dalai Lama to visit Tibet later that year. The Chinese Premier had also confirmed that he would be happy if Nehru could go there; he had himself the intention of joining Nehru in Tibet; Zhou had never previously been there.
The matter came again for discussion on May 13, 1958 when the Indian Prime Minister sent another note to Subimal Dutt about the ‘Proposed Visit to Tibet’:
The other day there was a telegram from Peking about the proposed visit to Tibet. It was stated there, I think, that owing to weather conditions, the Chinese Prime Minister (Zhou Enlai) could not visit Tibet before the second half of April.
I think that you might inform our Embassy in Peking that while I shall try my best to adjust my programme to the Chinese PM's programme in regard to the visit to Tibet, I have to be here in Delhi early in October. There is a big International Conference of the World Bank in Delhi beginning on the 5th October. [The thirteenth annual joint session of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation was held in New Delhi from 6 to 10 October 1958]. This is a very big affair and over a thousand delegates are coming from all over the world. These include some eminent personalities whom I have to meet. Indeed I have to inaugurate this conference. Therefore, I have, in any event, to be in Delhi by that time.
I would not mind going to Tibet about the middle of September so as to be able to come back by the end of September, although this will interfere with our sessions of Parliament.
This information is to be conveyed to our Embassy merely for them to keep it in mind when the question of a date for the visit to Tibet arises.
Air Marshal [Subroto] Mukerjee told me yesterday that he now intended taking me to Lhasa by the Viscount as he thought this was a safer and more convenient method. But, for this purpose, he will have to make a trial flight by Viscount to Lhasa and he intended doing this in the near future. Probably he will write to you about it as we shall have to get the permission of the Chinese Government for this.
The Buddha's relics in Tibet?
In the meantime, The Mahabodhi Society of India established in Calcutta in 1892 by the Ceylonese Buddhist leader Darmapala Angarika conveyed to Nehru its plan to present a relic of the Buddha to the Dalai Lama.
From Manali, (Himachal Pradesh) Nehru wrote to Subimal Dutt:
Mahabodhi Society of India has decided to present a sacred Buddha relic to the Dalai Lama and they want me to take this with me when I go to Tibet. In fact, it is my proposed visit to Tibet that has made them think on these lines. They have asked me if they should send a formal letter making the offer, and if so to whom they should send it. I wrote to them that my going to Tibet itself was not quite certain yet and it will be better, therefore, to wait for the present before taking any other step.
On thinking again about this matter, I feel that we should let the Chinese Government know about this and then watch their reactions. You will remember that when Premier Chou En-lai came here a year and a half ago, [Zhou Enlai was in India from 28 November to 9 December 1956; from 30 December 1956 to 1 January 1957; on 24 and 25 January; and on 30 January he reached Santiniketan via Calcutta]; he brought some of the relics of Hieun Tsang [Chinese Buddhist scholar and traveller, who spent fourteen years in India from 630-644 A. D]. He gave them over to the Dalai Lama who presented them to me at Nalanda. They are being kept at Nalanda. [On 12 January 1957, Nehru received the relics of Hieun Tsang [Xuanzang] from the Dalai Lama in the premises of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, situated in the valley of Rajgir Rills, a mile away from the ruins of the Nalanda University].
I do not quite remember who I gave them to. Did I give them to the Bihar Government on the understanding that they will keep them at Nalanda or did I give them to some museum at Nalanda? [The casket containing the relic had been deposited in the little museum at Nalanda. Nehru suggested that the casket should be kept in the Patna Museum]. Did the Mahabodhi Society of India come into the picture then?
I should like to know all the facts of this last episode. Then, keeping these in view, I should like you to send a message to our Embassy in Peking [Beijing] telling them of the desire of the Mahabodhi Society of India to present a sacred Buddha relic to the Dalai Lama through me when I go there. A Buddha relic of course is the most precious thing that a Buddhist could give or receive.
We need not ask the Chinese Government's permission about this matter. It would be better to request them to inform the Dalai Lama of this wish of the Mahabodhi Society of India.
After that, privately we might ourselves inform the Dalai Lama. But I should not like to send any message to the Dalai Lama till I have taken steps to inform him through the Chinese Government.
But the relations between India and China were becoming tenser with China.
Though not directly linked a letter dated June 26, 1958, sent by Nehru to Humayun Kabir, the Union Minister of State for Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs about the visit of Indian scholars to Tibet brings to light of the prevalent sitiation. The Chinese were becoming more and more suspicious as the Khampa rebellion was unfolding. Nehru told Kabir:
There has been for some time past a proposal to send some Indian scholars to Tibet to visit some monasteries there with a view to examining manuscripts there and taking copies. I have seen a note in which it was mentioned that four such scholars should go carrying with them four servants, apart from an interpreter and some technical personnel. Several monasteries were mentioned.
The Chinese Government informed us that in some monasteries there were no particular manuscripts. But they were agreeable to our men visiting some monasteries and staying there for some time.
The question has arisen whether in the present circumstances we should pursue this idea. Present circumstances mean certain developments on the international scene which have resulted in making the Chinese attitude more rigid than it was previously. Also there is the question of our saving money, especially foreign exchange.
…I am inclined to think that a smaller number should go this year and should concentrate on one of the principal monasteries. Thus, two scholars can go. Indeed, one would at present be enough. I should like this to be done quietly without fuss and without publicity. We have to move rather cautiously in this matter of Tibet, as Indian intentions are suspect in China.
The Khampa Factor
On July 11, 1958, the Indian Prime Minister mentioned the issue of his visit to Tibet to Apa B. Pant, the Political Officer in Gangtok. Apparently, the Chinese government was not so keen anymore to have Nehru visiting Tibet:
Your letter of July 7th. …Our relations with China are not as good as they have been in the past, chiefly because they think that we are conniving at the activities of Tibetan émigrés in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, etc. Indeed, I rather doubt now that I shall be going to Tibet at all.
One of the reasons for the deterioration of the relations was the Khampa guerilla which was active in Southern Tibet and which, according to the Chinese used Kalimpong as a base.
On August 8, in a letter to Dr. B.C. Roy, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Nehru mentions: “We have received complaints from the Chinese Government about Tibetan émigrés using Kalimpong as a base for their operations against the Chinese in Tibet.”
In his memoirs (With Nehru in the Foreign Office), Foreign Secretary Subimal Dutt said that Chinese believed that Kalimpong was the ‘commanding centre of the (Khampa) rebellion”. Nehru did not agree, though he conceded that “spies may have been functioning in Kalimpong.” The Prime Minister had asked the people of Kalimpong to “refrain from collecting arms to be sent to Tibet or do anything inimical to China”.
To come back to Nehru’s letter to Dr. Roy, Nehru states: “Some of these complaints have been forwarded to your Government [West Bengal]. There is no doubt that there are people in Kalimpong and round about who want to do this kind of thing. We have made it clear that we will not tolerate it, and that we shall take action I they create any kind of trouble.”
Nehru concludes: “In this connection, I should like you to be particularly careful in dealing with Tibetan émigrés. I have an idea that you have been, perhaps, not very careful in the past. This applies not only to you but to the members of your staff.”
During a press conference held on July 3, 1958 in Delhi, a reporter asked the Prime Minister: “There has been talk of you visiting Tibet. Has anything been finalized about it?”
Jawaharlal Nehru answered:
There is nothing further that I can tell you about my visit to Tibet. You perhaps know, some months back the Chinese Government conveyed an invitation to me, I think from the Dalai Lama, which came through the Chinese Government, and no date was suggested, sometime later in the year, and I gladly accepted. I hope that a convenient date will be fixed. Nothing more has happened since then. I suppose that if I go this year, it will likely to be somewhere in the second half of September, because after that, I am engaged here, and before that the weather is not particularly suitable for flying purposes, because weather comes into the picture anyhow, coming and going.
The journalist asked further: “Does it mean that there is a possibility that you might not go to Tibet this year?”
The Prime Minister explained: “That simply means that no date has been fixed, and because the period when one can go there by air is relatively limited because of climatic conditions. I hope to go this year, but I said if somehow it does not come off, it will be at some later date.”
In note published in the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister mentions that the visit never materialized: “Nehru was expected to visit Tibet at the invitation of Dalai Lama and then proceed to Bhutan. But the formal visit to Lhasa did not materialise. However, on his way to Bhutan from Gangtok in Sikkim, Nehru passed through the Tibetan Plateau at Yatung on 18 September 1958. On his way back from Bhutan, he again passed through Tibet on 29 September 1958.”

Crossing through Yatung
On 3 October 1958 back in from New Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru had a radio and telephone encounter with Thomas E. Dewey from Portland Maine, USA and Aldous Huxley from Turin, Italy. Edward R. Murrow of Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) moderated the debate which was telecast by CBS on 12 October 1958 in a programme entitled Small World.
Jawaharlal Nehru told his interlocutors that he had just come back from Bhutan. According to the Editor of the Selected Works, he had left on 16 September 1958, “using different forms of transport, including aircraft, car, pony and yak, while also trekking, he passed through Tibetan territory, spent the night of 18 September at Yatung, and entered Bhutan on 19 September; he left Bhutan from Paro on 27 September and reached Delhi on 2 October.”
Nehru explained: “I did not see much of Tibet; I spent nearly two weeks going in and out of Bhutan. It was a remarkable experience for me because it took me to a world which modem science and technology has not affected at all. There were no roads, no vehicles, no automobiles, and all communications were by mountain carts. It was a strange experience into a world perhaps of three or four or five hundred years ago or more. And yet it was not an unhappy world of peasant farmers, and fairly well off in regard to food and housing and clothing but with no modern gadgets, and there was no unemployment and no beggars. And I was powerfully influenced by it. I suppose it will change as every other part of the world has changed. Nevertheless it was an experience, I thought, worth having, to compare that with other countries where, while on the one side, we have many modern conveniences, we have many ill effects of the modem age also.”

Air Link with Tibet
Not directly linked with the Prime Minister’s proposed visit to Tibet, is the report of a meeting between Biju (Bijoyanand) Patnaik, pilot and industrialist (who later became Chief Minister of Orissa) and Nehru and the discussion about having an air connection between India and Lhasa. The issue nevertheless shows the growing suspicion from the Chinese side.
In a Note to Subimal Dutt, Nehru reported on February 24, 1958:
When Shri Patnaik saw me regarding an air transport service to Lhasa and to Peking [Beijing]. I told him that we had no objection to it if the Chinese Government agreed. Naturally, this would be entirely a matter for him to settle with the Chinese Government. I have an idea that a message to this effect was also sent to our Embassy in Peking.
Later, I was informed that the Chinese Government was not agreeable to this service to Lhasa. As regards the other one, there was no clear reply either way. Later still, I heard that he was invited to go to Peking to discuss this question with the Chinese Government. I think I told him that he was free to go there for this purpose.
There is no question of our sponsoring his visit to Peking, but we should raise no objection to it. Indeed, I shall be glad if he manages to get permission from the Chinese Government, provided our Government is not brought into the picture at all. It is quite true that Shri Patnaik is apt to indulge in general talks and sometimes drag in the Government's name into it. I told him not to do so and you might also tell him this. Apart from this, we have no objection whatever to his coming to any agreement with the Chinese Government about the air services.
Biju Patnaik had earlier spoken to Krishna Menon (sometime in 1957) about his project of a freighter-cum-passenger service to Tibet. Krishna Menon had already asked the Chinese Ambassador to mention Patnaik’s project to Zhou Enlai, who replied that the freighter or other service question might be discussed between the Governments.
At that time, Krishna Menon had asked whether he could explore this possibility with Nehru's approval.
On August 31, 1957, Nehru had already dictated a Note to Krishna Menon (the Defence Minister) about the Kalinga Airlines Services to Tibet:
You can certainly see these papers about the proposed Kalinga Airlines to Tibet.
When Patnaik came to see me about this matter some two or three months ago, I told him that I had no objection to his running a Service to Tibet from India, but, of course, the Chinese Government's permission would have to be taken. I asked him to see the Chinese Ambassador [Pan Tzu-Li ] here which, I believe, he did. About the same time, I think, we wrote to our Ambassador to sound the Chinese Government on this subject. The response of the Chinese Government, so far as I remember, was an evasive one and I got the impression that they did not wish to encourage any such service at this stage.
Patnaik talked about going to Peking to discuss this matter. I advised him to go there only if the Chinese Government expressed previously their willingness to see him. The last time I saw Patnaik, I told him to find out from the Chinese Ambassador about this matter.
Our position in this has been that we are agreeable to such a service, but we do not wish to sponsor it ourselves and this is a matter between Patnaik and the Chinese Government. We can, however, tell the Chinese Government that we have no objection to it and if they agree, we shall give the normal facilities at this end.
My impression is that the Chinese Government do not want any such service from India to Tibet at present at least. They are having continuing trouble in Tibet and they are not anxious to see many Indians going there. Recently, the Indian traders there have been badly treated and we have even protested both to the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama.
In these circumstances I did not wish it to appear that we were over-anxious to push this service to Lhasa.
With the quickly deteriorating situation inside Tibet, nothing will happen on this front

The Aksai Chin Road
Things became worse in the following months, when Delhi discovered that China had built a road on Chinese territory in the Aksai Chin region of Ladakh. In an informal Note given by the Foreign Secretary to the Chinese Ambassador on 18 October 1958, the government of India stated:
The attention of the Government of India has recently been drawn to the fact that a motor road has been constructed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China across the eastern part of the Ladakh region of the Jammu Kashmir States, which is part of India. This road seems to form part of the Chinese road known as Yehchang–Gartok or Sikiang Tibet highway, the completion of which was announced in September, 1957.
The road enters Indian territory just east of Sarigh Jilgnang, runs north-west to Amtogar and striking the western bank of the Amtogar lake runs north-west through Yangpa, Khitai Dawan and Haji Langer which are all in indisputable Indian territory. Near the Amtogar Lake several branch tracks have also been made motorable.
The India-China boundary in the Ladakh sector as in others is traditionally well-known and follows well marked geographical features. The territory which road traverses has been part of the Ladakh region of India for centuries and the “old established frontiers” have been accepted by the Chinese in the treaty of 1842 as the International boundary. In an official communication, a Chinese member of the Boundary Commission of 1847-49 accepted the boundary as “sufficiently and distinctly fixed so that it will be best to adhere to this ancient arrangement and it will prove far more convenient to abstain from any additional measures for fixing them.” Accordingly, Indian survey parties have visited the region since the nineteenth century. Travellers to the area have referred to it as part of Ladakh, and Atlases like the Johnston’s Atlas of India, edition 1894, and maps published by the Survey of India show it unmistakably as part of Ladakh.
That was it for the chances of the Indian Prime Minister to visit Tibet. Retrospectively, it is probably a great pity as it would have help Nehru to have first knowledge of the situation on the Roof of the World. His attitude would have perhaps been different vis-a-vis the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
In any case, five months later, an uprising in Lhasa will forced the Dalai Lama to take refuge in India.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

India should master art of strategic thinking

My article India should master art of strategic thinking appear today's Edit Page of the Pioneer.

Indians are great thinkers, but can they be strategic thinkers?
This question is valid for all fields of Indian life.
You have just to live in Tamil Nadu to notice. In the rural area where I live, we have between 10 and 15 hours of daily power cuts.
The Times of India reported: “The near-crisis in Tamil Nadu on the power front could well be one of its worst. The demand has climbed to a steep 11,000MW and the demand/supply gap has grown to 4,000MW, indicating a skewed policy by successive governments.”
Between 2001 and 2010, the State’s installed generation capacity went up only by 483 MW. The planners have just forgotten to cater for the mounting industrial and domestic demand, which rose from 6,000MW in 2001 to 10,000MW in 2010.
The fact that the State is greatly dependent on wind power, which fluctuates during the year, results in a mega shortage.
The only logical conclusion is that for over two decade nobody has thought of the future and planned accordingly. Like in many domains adhocism is the leitmotiv. One plans after and often too late!
It was true fifty years ago already. During the last few weeks, India ‘remembered’ the debacle and the blunders of 1962. Chaos, anarchy, arrogance, lack of vision and leadership can best resume the NEFA’s operations. When in the morning of September 8, 1962, the Chinese launched their first offensive on Indian troops, there was panic on the Indian side.
Nobody in the Government had thought that China could do this.
A retired Brigadier, who as a young Captain was posted on the Namkha chu (river), told me: “The Army HQ in Delhi is supposed to prepare an appreciation of the situation, what is the threat, who is the enemy, etc”. In 1962, the only appreciation was that the Chinese were not ready, until they bring a railway line from Beijing to Lhasa.
There was no Plan B for the Indian Army. The then Director of the Intelligence Bureau kept confidently repeating, “the Chinese won’t attack”; but China attacked and chaos descended on NEFA.
During the months of September/October 1962, the 7 Infantry Brigade posted on the border was only told “Challo! Challo! Move!” The General Commanding Officer (GOC) of the 4 Infantry Division was getting frantic calls from his Corps Commander and Delhi: ‘go forward’.
When the new Corps Commander (Lt. Gen. B.M. Kaul) arrived on the front, things then changed for the worse: “I am the GOC of 4 Corps,” Kaul introduced himself. Nobody had heard of this 4 Corps; it was an adhoc creation to “kick the Chinese out”. Kaul announced: “move forward, I will sack whoever does not immediately move forward” There was total chaos.
As a result of this lack of preparation and vision, the Indian nation has remained traumatized for the past 50 years.
An element which compounds the trauma is the fact that the Government still hides the reports of the 1962 conflict.
Interestingly, a US “Basic National Security Strategy” signed in September 1986 by President Ronald Reagan has recently been declassified by the White House. The reading of this paper shows what strategic thinking really is (even if one does agree with the content).
The 19-page ‘basic’ US policy is to “serve as the starting point for further development of policy and strategy.”
The first point made by the White House is that the Administration should ensure that all other policy directives should be consistent with the new document: “Supplemental directives will be structured to ensure conformance with this guidance.”
The Secret document defines the broad purposes of US National Security Policy: “to preserve the political identity, framework and institutions of the United States as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution” and further “to protect the United States — its national territory, citizenry, military forces, and assets abroad — from military, paramilitary, or terrorist attack.”
Then there is a Grand Strategy: “to avoid nuclear war while preventing a single hostile power or coalition of powers from dominating the Eurasian land-mass or other strategic regions from which threats to U.S. interests might arise.”
The way to achieve this objective is based “on the maintenance of a strong nuclear deterrent, dynamic alliances and a Western-oriented world economy”. The secret National Security guidelines mention that the US should remain the natural enemy of any country threatening the independence of others, and the proponent of free trade, commerce, and economic stability.
It may not apply to India, but what is fascinating is the clear definition of the US national interests and the logical consequences which should ‘strategically’ follow.
The program required the development and integration of “a set of strategies to achieve [the US] national objectives, including political, diplomatic, military, informational, economic, intelligence, and arms control components.” Can we dream of such paper in India?
Then the paper studies the ‘Threats to U.S. National Security’ (mainly the Soviet armed forces and the Soviet exploitation of regional instabilities).
In his Art of War, the great Chinese strategist Sunzi advised, “Know your enemy strengths and weakness”.
President Reagan’s paper goes into depth into the Soviet motivations: “The geopolitical objectives of the Soviet Union include the dissolution of Western alliances in Europe and Asia, the erosion of China's ties to the West...”
As a result the US faces a concerted effort by the Soviet Union to diminish its influence through the world.
The US Strategic Forces’ Requirements is based on this analysis. The General Purpose of the Forces is clearly defined (used in peacetime by deterring aggression, by demonstrating US interests, concern, and commitment) as well as the Resource Priorities (to complement diplomatic, economic, and security assistance strategies); it is followed by a General Guidance and the Priorities and Objectives in Peacetime. According to these clearly defined objectives, the paper looks at the world region by region: the Western Hemisphere, Western Europe and NATO, East Asia (the paper says “We will continue to develop our relationship with China in ways which ... [1 line deleted] enhance the durability of Sino-U.S. ties”), then Near East/Southwest Asia and finally Africa.
What is striking is the coherence of the paper. Even the Priorities and Objectives in War are described in detail: “War-fighting strategy and contingency planning concerning the potential employment of US forces will continue to be developed through operational plans which are prepared by Combatant Commanders and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and reviewed and approved by the Secretary of Defense and the President.”
It has to be noted that the operational plans are prepared by the military, not by some obscure babus in the corridor of the Pentagon, like it was done in India in 1962 (and perhaps today too).
The paper concludes with something unknown in India, the need of coordination: “Further development of policy and strategy …should continue to emphasize the need for coordination to ensure consistency with overall policy objectives and maintain the interlocking character of supporting strategies.”
In an article in The Times of India, Indrani Bagchi also complained of lack of strategic thinking culture : “To a casual observer, India's actions — or lack thereof — often appear to be a result of who the government spoke to last, or based on ad hoc considerations that undermine India's interests.”
She adds: “part of the problem is the lack of an articulated grand strategy — that makes it difficult for either practitioners or analysts to figure out exactly why we do what we do.”
Can India prepare a coordinated Basic National Security Strategy?
Politicians have probably more pressing issues to ‘think’ about; in the meantime, on the other side of the Himalaya, China has been planning for years for any future eventualities.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ten Mega Projects and new Immolations

While the outgoing Chinese leadership speaks about the stability in Tibet, the propaganda from Beijing shows us 10 magnificent mega projects built 'for the good' of the Tibetans. 
In the meantime, self-immolations continue on the Roof of the World.
One of the first priorities of the new leadership lead by Xi Jinping might be to think in terms of Gross National Happiness and not any more in terms of billion-dollars project.
It might stop the immolations.
A young Tibetan, poet and writer, Gudrup who recently self-immolated wrote before dying: "Since China is uninterested in the well-being of the Tibetan people, we are sharpening our nonviolent movement. We are declaring the reality of Tibet by burning our own bodies to call for freedom of Tibet ... We will win the battle through truth, by shooting the arrows of our lives, by using the bow of our mind."
Large projects alone are not enough to make people happy.

The grand Nyingchi Ba River Lao Huzui Hydropower Station

The largest water control project in Tibet--Phomdo Water Control Project

 Qinghai-Tibet Grid Interconnection Project

 Lhasa-Shigatse Railway bridge across Lhasa River is under construction

 Tibet's first expressway, the Lhasa-Gongga Airport Highway

 Sengye Khabap Hydropower Station of Ngari Prefecture

 Kunsha Airport of Ngari Prefecture open to air traffic

Gyama Copper Mine

 The Qinghai-Tibet Railway

New campus of Tibet University

 Dorjee Rinchen, October 23, 2012 Labrang, Tibet

Thondup, October 22, 2012 Labrang, Tibet 

Chinese leaders focus on Tibet, Xinjiang ahead of key meet
23 Oct, 2012
BEIJING: Ahead of a key Congress of the ruling Communist Party that would select a new leadership, top Chinese leaders are brainstorming about initiatives that would help bring stability to Tibet and Xinjiang, the two strategic regions marred by ethnic unrest.
China's senior leaders have emphasised the importance of maintaining stability in Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to ensure the success of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which will start on November 8, official media here reported today.
During a conference on October 16 to discuss security in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, Committee Secretary of CPC of Tibet, said that local military officials should cooperate with police and be on standby round the clock.
Officials would be dismissed on the spot if their areas of responsibility did not remain stable, state-run People's Daily Online reported.
Jia Qinglin, a fourth ranking leader of the politburo of the party who deals with minorities, said that Tibet-related issues were of paramount importance and the country is in a key period of fighting against the Dalai Lama group, the official media said.
Tibet is experiencing a big spurt in self immolations in favour of the Dalai's return from exile and against the Chinese rule. Over 50 people set themselves on fire.
China, while blaming the Dalai for the unrest, mounted unprecedented security in the Himalayan region.
Jia stressed on the security issue and summarised the past experience of emphasising on ideological education and guidance, state-run Global Times reported.
Xinjiang bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on the other hand is in virtual lockdown to control the violent unrest of the ethnic Muslim Uygurs who are opposing the Han Chinese settlements in their province.
As some of the Islamic militant groups tried to take advantage, China poured thousands of troops into the province to maintain security and peace.
In view of the security situation prevailing in both Tibet and Xinjiang, another Party leader Zhou Yongkang chaired a seminar on safeguarding security and stability during the upcoming national congress.
The risk of major social problems should be evaluated to prevent and reduce conflicts in areas such as Tibet and Xinjiang, Zhou said.
"Tibet and Xinjiang are two important regions needing special care during the Congress period, when those separatist forces or religious extremists, overseas or inside China, will not miss their big chance to draw the central government's and the world's attention," Wang Sixin, an expert from the Communication University of China, told the Global Times.
Various ideological, cultural and economic measures would be taken to ensure stability and harmony nationwide, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang, the daily said.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When China did not claim Tawang

I have reproduced below an interesting note from Subimal Dutt, the Indian Foreign Secretary addressed to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister. 
This note dated January 9, 1959 (just 2 months before the uprising in Lhasa and the subsequent flight of the Dalai Lama) comes from the Subimal Dutt Papers in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
Dutt clearly states that "The Chinese have not yet raised a dispute with us about Tawang, but I am not sure that they will not do so some time in future."
It means that from the time Major Bob Khathing entered Tawang in February 1951 till the Dalai Lama took refuge in India (March 31, 1959), China has never claimed the territories south of the McMahon Line.
In a previous posting, I wrote:
It is interesting to note that, at that time (1959), the Chinese never said that the Dalai Lama and his entourage were in 'Southern Tibet' (the term used today by Beijing to define Tawang). They knew perfectly well that the Tibetan leader had taken refuge on Indian territory. Strangely, Beijing is now insisting that Tawang district is part of the People's Republic of China. It is clearly an after-thought.
[Early in year] Special Representative and State Councillor  Dai Bingguo told his Indian counterpart, Shivshankar Menon during the 15th Meeting of the Special Representatives that India should first discuss the Eastern Sector of the boundary. Dai further asked Menon how much territory New Delhi would be ready to part with.

Apart from the fact that
historically this does not make sense, why did the Chinese not follow the Dalai Lama and his entourage into this area in 1959, if they really believed that it was a part of  Chinese territory?
The answer is clear, it was not Chinese territory and Mao knew it. 

So, why claim this area 53 years later?
China only started claiming Tawang during the border talks of 1960. At that time it was more a form of bargain to 'exchange' the Aksai Chin against the NEFA (today Arunachal).
Today, it has become a permanent claim.
It is clear from Dutt's note that in early 1959, the Government of India was embarrassed by the presence of the Khampa freedom fighters operating from bases in India. But it is another matter.

Subimal Dutt's Note to Jawaharlal Nehru
Prime Minister may kindly see Shri Acharya's note of December 30 (flag E) in the file below. It summarises a number of points on which our instructions have been sought by the NEFA Administration and others. Prime Minister need not see the correspondence referred to in the note.

2. My advice would be as follows:
i) We should not let Khampa rebels come to Tawang. The Chinese have not yet raised a dispute with us about Tawang, but I am not sure that they will not do so some time in future. Meantime, if we allow Khampa rebels to assemble in Tawang that will provide the Chinese with an excuse for raising the bigger question of their claim to Tawang.

ii) We should not give prominent Khampas asylum in our territory, either in the North East Frontier Agency or elsewhere. We should adhere to our general policy of not admitting able-bodied Khampa rebels into our territory and border outposts should be instructed to enforce this rule strictly.

iii) Women and children may be admitted out of humanitarian considerations. If later the menfolk want to join them, we should not automatically give them permission to do so. Each case will have to be treated on its merits.

iv) We should prevent further congregation of Khampas in Kalimpong. Those who are already there have given rise to a law and order problem. There is no particular reason why Kalimpong should be the permanent home of a large number of Khampa and other Tibetan refugees. Even those who are allowed to stay there should be brought within the scope of the Foreigners' Registration Act so that they would have to report to the police station from time to time. That at least will provide a check on these people.

v) I do not agree with Shri K. L. Mehta's suggestion that wounded and sick rebels who reach our border outpost should be brought down to Tawang, treated there and later pushed back into Tibet. In practice we would find difficulties in doing so. Also it would not be humane to push back people after we have treated them, against their wishes, when we know for certain that they will be severely dealt with on the other side. PM will remember that some months ago a group of such people, in a similar situation, killed some members of the escort party and ran away. Later some of the persons who had escaped were found dead from cold and hunger. It will be better for our border post to give such first aid as is possible but not to take charge of the people and bring them to Tawang.

vi) There remains the case of the five Khampas who are now in detention in Gangtok. Their families are in Kalimpong. I think we should advice the Sikkim authorities to set them free, which, indeed, they wish to do. These people, when they come to Kalimpong to join their families, will be treated as foreigners and will be subject to the restrictions under the Foreigners' Act.
(S. Dutt)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rough weather in the Middle Kingdon

Former President Jiang Zemin's latest appearance in public
This article in The Epoch Times, a Falun Gong Group publication is fascinating.
The newspaper has not always been accurate in its prediction, but even if 50% of the information contained in the article are correct, it demonstrates the intense power struggle in the Middle Kingdom.
Of course, The Epoch Times had several times announced the death of former President Jiang Zemin though the old man has bounced once again on the political stage.
According to The South China Morning Post:
Former president Jiang Zemin made yet another high-profile foray into the public eye ahead of the Communist Party's key congress next month, as the octogenarian sent congratulations to his former middle school, in Yangzhou, Jiangsu, on its 110th anniversary.
Jiang, 86, wrote a calligraphy couplet on Thursday to mark the anniversary of his alma mater, Yangzhou Middle School, and to highlight contributions that the school has made in the nation's development, by nurturing various talents over the years, according to a report yesterday in the Xinhua Daily, a Nanjing -based newspaper affiliated with the Jiangsu provincial party committee.
The gesture was the fourth high-profile public activity the former top leader has participated in during the past month., 
The presence of Jiang is an important factor on the Chinese internal political scene. The fact is that the transition does not seem to be very smooth.
It is not that the Indian democratic process is smooth, but it has the advantage to 'consult' the common men. It is not the case in China.

Exclusive: Why Bo Xilai Fell and Xi Jinping Disappeared
Epoch Times
Lin Feng
On October 11, 2012
The attempted defection by former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun set in motion a chain of events exposing and inflaming the Communist Party’s internal strife, which has come to a head presently. The once powerful Bo Xilai is facing criminal charges, and the man Bo was to succeed as the powerful domestic security czar, Zhou Yongkang, has been stripped of real power.

A 13-year power struggle at the top of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has come to a head, and the leaders of the CCP have now arrived at a moment of decision.
The sense of expectation is widespread. As the Wang Lijun-Bo Xilai affair has played out, with one revelation after another laid bare before the Chinese people, they have started to awaken and now seek to know the truth that lies behind events.
The Study Times, the publication of the CCP’s Party School—the place leaders of the Party are trained, wrote in an article on July 2 that China is facing “major changes never seen in the past three thousand years.”
At this moment, all eyes are looking to the trial of Bo Xilai to see how he will be punished. The situation is intricate. Relying on sources familiar with discussions at the highest levels of the Party, The Epoch Times reports this developing story.
Bo Xilai was the Party head of the province-level city of Chongqing in central-western China and a leader of the left-wing in the Party. Wang Lijun was Bo’s deputy mayor, police chief, and henchman. When Wang informed Bo of the guilt of Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, in the murder of the British businessman Neil Heywood, Bo demoted Wang and rounded up those close to the police chief, killing a few of them.
Fearing for his life, Wang fled to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6. His attempted defection exposed to the Chinese people the struggles going on at the top of the CCP’s leadership.
Punishment for Bo soon followed. On March 15 he was removed from his Party posts and then subjected to the abusive Party interrogation called shuanggui. After months of suspense and conflicting signals, on Sept. 28 the state-run media reported Bo would be stripped of his Party membership and tried in a criminal court for “serious discipline violations” relating to corruption and sexual improprieties.
The publicly announced charges are a gambit by a divided leadership still not ready to settle things. The top Party leaders know what Wang revealed after Chengdu: Bo, along with domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang, had planned a coup to grab power from presumptive next head of the Party Xi Jinping. The Party leaders also know that Bo is a key figure behind a mass atrocity: the forced, live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners.
The fate of Bo is the crux of the long-running struggle between the current Party chief Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Xi Jinping and their supporters on the one hand and the faction formed by former CCP head Jiang Zemin on the other. That battle now involves all current high-level CCP officials and retired statesman.

Avoiding Accountability
Jiang Zemin’s decision to persecute the spiritual practice of Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is the core issue that has led to today’s Party struggle.
Falun Gong was first publicly taught in northeastern China in May 1992. The practice involves doing slow-motion, meditative exercises and living according to teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It became wildly popular. By 1999, state authorities estimated that between 70 and 100 million people had taken up Falun Gong—more than there were members of the CCP.
When Jiang launched the campaign to eradicate Falun Gong in July 1999, he expected it to be over in three months. By the time he was scheduled to retire in 2002, though, Falun Gong showed no signs of being wiped out.

Chinese Regime in Crisis

This posed a problem. Jiang’s campaign had put the CCP at war against approximately one in twelve Chinese. Millions had been sent to labor camps, where they were tortured and brainwashed. Thousands of those had been murdered by the abuse. Thousands more had been killed through forced, live organ harvesting.
If Jiang or those loyal to Jiang were not in power, then the crimes committed in the persecution would be exposed and the members of Jiang’s faction would be held accountable. The struggles behind the scenes surrounding the 16th Party Congress in 2002, the 17th Party Congress in 2007, and the upcoming 18th Party Congress have all turned around the attempt by Jiang’s faction to hold onto power and so avoid being called to account.
In 2003 Hu Jintao became the General Secretary of the CCP, but for a long time he would not hold real power. Jiang Zemin, as Chairman of the Central Military Commission, still called the shots.
In addition, with Jiang’s longtime fixer Zeng Qinghong as vice-chair of the CCP, Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao had difficulty getting their writ to extend beyond the walls of the Party compound of Zhongnanhai.
After Jiang completely retired in 2004 and Hu became the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Hu only had authority to promote Major Generals.

Regarding Falun Gong, Hu and Jiang had different views.

To sustain the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners, the CCP has spent huge amounts of money and has brought the Chinese legal system to the point of collapse.
Former deputy director of the Police Bureau Liu Jing said that during one meeting in 2001 Jiang wanted to add a 610 Office (the 610 Office is an extra-constitutional Party organ established by Jiang to carry out the persecution of Falun Gong. It has authority over every level of the Party and the state) at every level of the police system.
Hu said, “adding 610 Offices will add many people and cost a lot.”
Jiang became furious and yelled at Hu in a remark that revealed Jiang’s fear of the peaceful spiritual practice, “Falun Gong is about to usurp your power, and you are talking about personnel and budget?” Hu stayed quiet after that.
After an assassination attempt on Hu in 2006, the balance started to turn in Hu’s favor.
In May 2006, Hu Jintao went to the Yellow Sea to inspect the fleet. During the inspection, machine guns from two warships opened fire on the guided missile destroyer Hu was on, killing five seamen.
The destroyer fled the area at top speed. To avoid further assassination attempts, Hu didn’t return to Beijing, but flew to the southwestern province of Yunnan. He only returned to Beijing a week later.
Afterward, Hu Jintao started to solidify his control over the military, starting from Beijing, then to the Central Military Commission, and then to Chongqing.

Struggle Over Xi

In the high-stakes game being played between Jiang and Hu, the next key moves involved determining the makeup of the Politburo Standing Committee—the body of nine men who run the CCP— and who would be Hu’s successor, both to be announced at the 17th Party Congress in 2007.
Bo’s stalwart Zeng Qinghong was forced to retire from the Standing Committee. Hu Jintao favored bringing on Li Keqiang, then the head of the CCP in Liaoning Province, and Xi Jinping, then the head of the CCP in Zhejiang Province. Hu got both onto the Standing Committee and wanted Li Keqiang named as his successor.
Jiang and Zeng continued to block Hu Jintao and were unwilling to let Li Keqiang step up to power. Jiang did not have anyone on the Standing Committee he could name in Li’s place, and so he reluctantly put forward Xi Jinping.
Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao had no problem accepting Xi Jinping, as they shared a common outlook. All three considered themselves students of Hu Yaobang, the Party General Secretary who helped bring economic reform to communist China, and who favored political reform.
Jiang’s nomination of Xi, however, was a ploy. Jiang was playing for time.
Jiang’s real hopes were pinned on Bo Xilai. Bo had developed the “Chongqing Model,” a political program that claimed to improve law and order by cracking down on gangs and to revive the status of the CCP by encouraging Maoist expressions of devotion to the Party.
Jiang’s faction planned to have Bo named at the 18th Party Congress as the successor to domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang on the Politburo Standing Committee and as Zhou’s successor as head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC). The PLAC controls the judiciary, the procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Justice, the People’s Armed Police and other relevant departments and agencies.
Jiang and Zhou had increased the budget and scope of the PLAC, making it a second center of power in the Party. With Bo in charge of the PLAC, he could, when the time was ripe, use the 1.5 million strong People’s Armed Police to depose Xi and seize power. The persecution of Falun Gong could then be maintained.
The groundwork for this plan had been laid, but then Wang Lijun fled to Chengdu.

Targeting Jiang and Zhou

In preparation for the 18th Party Congress, Hu Jintao tested the waters of Jiang Zemin’s viability. He arranged for a Party official to leak to the Hong Kong media the news of Jiang’s death. He wanted to see how the members of Jiang’s faction and the Chinese people would react to the news, and force Jiang to come out into the public, where Hu could get a better idea of Jiang’s health.
The Chinese people set off firecrackers to celebrate the news of Jiang’s death, while the response of Jiang’s faction did not suggest strength.
When the Wang scandal broke, Hu was prepared to seize the opportunity and use the scandal to undo Bo Xilai. Hu Jintao was aiming at Jiang by bringing Bo down.
Meanwhile, Hu and Wen begin putting restraints on Zhou Yongkang and attempted to use the blind activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng to help weaken Zhou further.
Around April 27, Chen Guangcheng, whose family had been held under a suffocating house arrest by the PLAC in Linyi City in Shandong Province, suddenly entered the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, hundreds of miles away.
In a video, Chen said the PLAC under Zhou was lawless, and Chen listed the abuses he had suffered over several years. Chen directed to Wen Jiabao the question: are the local officials breaking the law on their own or are they directed to do so by central government officials? Chen said, directing his remark to Wen, “I think you should give a clear answer to the people soon.”
Chen’s video put a great deal of pressure on the CCP regarding Zhou.
Chen’s escape from Linyi was not luck or coincidence. Senior Party officials had secretly helped make it happen.
Just as all sides began focusing on Zhou, Hu Jintao encountered resistance.

Push Back
Zhou used the Global Times and other news outlets controlled by him to accuse Hu of inviting “U.S. interference in China’s internal affairs.”
The United States and China had reached an agreement after six days for Chen’s exit from the Embassy, but Zhou disrupted it, and forced Chen to choose exile abroad. At the same time, Zeng Qinghong also started encouraging CCP veteran leaders to pressure Hu and Wen to stop taking down Zhou Yongkang.
Prominent among the Party elders whom Zeng appealed to were the Ye brothers,Ye Xuanping and Ye Xuanning. They are the sons of Field Marshall Ye Jianying, one of the founders of the CCP, and each is powerful in his own right.
Ye Xuanning is regarded as the spiritual leader of the princelings—the children of the founding generation of the Party. Ye Xuanning has controlled China’s military spy system for a long time and has a lot of influence among the military.
The Ye family’s major concern was that if Zhou were taken down, the CCP would collapse.
Hu decided to abandon the idea of arresting Zhou Yongkang and sought to deal with him in another way.
In early May this year, 200 senior CCP officials attended a meeting held at the Jingxi Hotel, which Reuters described as having been called to “shore up unity and advance preparations for the 18th Party Congress.”
According to a source familiar with the meeting, Hu set the following guidelines: Zhou must totally retire. After handing over power, he’ll also lose the power of appointing his successor to the PLAC. Zhou would be allowed to cut ties from Bo’s case, and would be allowed to stay in office until after the 18th Party Congress
Those attending reached the agreement that Zhou could still keep a high-profile in public, creating a harmonious, stable appearance in order to ensure a smooth transition of power.
At the same time, an agreement was reached that included the hardliners, led by propaganda minister Li Changchun and Zhou Yongkang, to agree to Wen Jiabao’s proposals for political reform. Although the agreed reforms were to be very limited, they were to include what were described as “high-level free elections.” Guangdong Province was to take the lead with a pilot program.
These agreements seemed to chart a path forward for the divided Party. They would all soon be changed.