Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The 'Tibetan' Hans

Wang Huning, Politburo Standing Committee member in the Tibetan delegation
In March, China will have a new government or State Council.
Its composition is already more or less known.
The always well-informed South China Morning Post announced the names of most of the State Council’s members.
It will however have to be ratified by the People’s National Congress (NPC) next March.
Some 20 ‘Tibetan delegates’ represent the Tibetan Autonomous Region at the NPC.
Among them are a few Hans.
In the last NPC, the most illustrious member of the Tibet delegation has been Wang Huning, today member of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the CCP Central Committee and Director of the Central Policy Research Center of the CCP Central Committee.
He will probably be re-nominated (incidentally, President Hu Jintao was also a member of the Tibet delegation).
Another Han member used to be Chang Xiaobing, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of China Unicom; since then he has been ‘investigated’ and he is today languishing in jail. He will be replaced by another corporate tycoon.
A third one has been in the news this week.
It is Prof Ding Zhongli, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who has just been nominated Chairman of China Democratic League (CDL).
According to his biography, Ding Zhongli is a native of Zhejiang province. Born in 1957, he graduated from Zhejiang University, and received a doctorate from the Institute of Geology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is the director of the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Since 2008, he became vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Ding Zhongli has been researching paleoclimatology and the Chinese loess deposits for over twenty years. He and his co-authors systematically investigated the loess stratigraphy of the Loess Plateau, demonstrated the continuity of the loess-soil sequence by correlating the loess sections of the Plateau, and subdivided the loess deposits into 37 pedostratigraphical units in the past 2.6 Ma. He established an orbitally-tuned time scale for the loess sequence on the basis of the Baoji grain-size record. …By correlating the climate records of the loess with those of the deep-sea sediments, he showed that changes in global ice volume may have been a major factor in driving glacia-interglacial variations of the Asian monsoon system.
Why is Ding member of the Tibet delegation at the NPC?
One reason might be that the Chinese leadership wants to keep a tab on the environment of the plateau (Xi can keep an eye on the political developments through Wang Huning).
Prof Ding has now become Chairman of the China Democratic League (CDL).
What is the CDL?
It is a ‘political’ party founded in March 1941; it is headquartered in Beijing and it has a membership of 230,000. The ideology of the party is ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’.
The CDL (or Minmeng) is one of the eight legally recognised political parties in the People's Republic of China.
At the time of its formation (in 1941), it was a coalition of three pro-democracy parties and three pressure groups. Its two main goals were to support China's war effort during the Second Sino-Japanese War and to provide a ‘Third Way’ from the Nationalists and the Communists.
The party tilted towards the CCP during the Chinese Civil War.
According to Wikipedia: “Thereafter, two of its constituent parties, the China National Socialist Party and the Chinese Youth Party, left the League to join the Nationalists in Taiwan. The ‘Third Party’ eventually became the Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party in 1947. It left the League, but remained pro-Communist.”
In 1997, it adopted a constitution, which stipulated that its program was "to hold high the banner of patriotism and socialism, implement the basic line for the primary stage of socialism, safeguard stability in the society, strengthen services to national unity and strive for the promotion of socialist modernisation, establishment and improvement of a market economy, enhancement of political restructuring and socialist spiritual civilisation, emancipation and development of productive forces, consolidation and expansion of the united patriotic front and realisation of the grand goals of socialism with Chinese characteristics."
We may have to wait next March to see if Prof Ding is still a member of Tibet delegation to the NPC, but there is no reason why he should not be.
The question remains what is/will be his contribution?
The CDL's program is probably fitting with Beijing’s objectives in Tibet.
A Chinese government website noted that in September 1949 the CDL attended the First Plenary Session of the CPPCC in Beijing. It took part in drawing up the Common Program and preparing for the establishment of the People's Republic of China: “Since New China was founded, the CDL has been sharing weal and woe with the CPC and making important contribution to the state political life, economic construction, culture and education.”
With Wang Huning and Ding Zhongli, Beijing can keep a close check on the political and environmental developments on the plateau.
Whether the Tibetans will benefit the presence of these two Han delegates is another issue.

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