Another blog post, just sent along by the man himself. Full text after the break.
Introducing… the Seven!
On the fifteenth of October, the politburo of the Communist Party of China decided that the nine-
man “Standing Committee” – in effect, the men who run China – would be cut from nine to seven
for the once-a-decade election of members on the 9th of November.
This, to any reader of Chung Kuo, is all too freakily familiar. The Seven, eh? Wonder where I’ve heard
Anyway. I promised to give you details of the men who are going to form the “Fifth Generation”, so
let’s do that, starting at the top of the pile with … Xi Jinping. The disappearing man.
I call him that because, as we noted on this site, between the first and tenth of September, Xi Jinping
went off radar. Some said he’d survived an assassination attempt, some that he’d had a mild heart
attack. The rumour mill went into over-drive. But it was only a little while later, when news came
that Bo Xilai – who again we’ve touched on in these blogs – was going to stand trial for the murder
of Neil Heywood – a crime for which his wife has already pleaded guilty. Word came at the same
time that this was why Xi Jinping had gone missing. That he was dealing with the matter of Bo Xilai,
trying to sort the matter out BEFORE the elections for the Standing Committee began. To allow, in
other words, a smooth transition.
Bo Xilai, you might remember, was the darling of the Old Guard, and his election to the Standing
Committee would have given that body a totally different political feel and attitude. So well done Xi
Jinping for settling the waters and giving us that smooth transition.
So, what do we know about the man who’ll be the most powerful politician in China for the next ten
years? Well, to start with, he was born on June 1st 1953 in the capital, Beijing. That said, his family
hail from Shanxi province in Northern China and his father, Xi Zhongxun was one of the founders of
the Communist guerrilla movement there. During the Cultural Revolution, Xi Jinping’s father was
jailed, while he himself – aged fifteen – was sent to work in the country, as many did. That’s where
he got involved in Communist Party politics.
Aged 22 (in 1975), he left the countryside and became a student, studying chemical engineering at
Beijing’s Tsinghua university, one of the country’s best. And in 1985 he went to America as part of a
Chinese delegation studying American agricultural methods.
After taking several minor Party roles, Xi became ‘president’ of the Communist Party’s “School” in
1990, from which post he was promoted in 1999 to become Deputy Governor of Fujian Province,
becoming Governor the year after. Fujian, as any of you looking at a map of China will see, is the
province closest to Taiwan, being directly across the Taiwan Straits from it, and thus has had a great
deal of influence on the greater body of China through its Taiwanese investments.
In 2002, Xi was moved to Zhejiang province – further up the coast, to the north of Fujian – as Party
Head and acting Governor. It was while he was there that he was made an alternate member of the
15th CPC Central Committee, which effectively moved him onto the national stage. Meanwhile, in
Zhejiang, he was overseeing what was an economic miracle of sorts, with 14% growth throughout
the province. At the same time, Xi Jinping won himself a reputation for dealing with corrupt officials
and rooting out corruption wherever he found it. This was partly why, when Shanghai’s corrupt
Party Chief, Chen Liangyu was sacked in September 2006, Xi was given the role – one of the most
prestigious in China.
Xi Jinping’s appointment to the nine man Standing Committee of the politburo in 2007 was yet a
further stepping-stone, while his successful hosting of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 further added to
Xi, I believe, is good news for the West. He is a member of the “Crown Prince Party”, a kind of high
level clique of politicians who are descendants of early Chinese revolutionaries, but who have come
through the ranks to be where they are today. Well-travelled about the globe and with a manner
that’s somewhat reminiscent of Nelson Mandela, Xi Jinping brings emotional stability to the Seven.
The magazine, The New Statesman, rated him as the fourth most influential man in the world, but
I’d have him as my number one. With him at the helm, and Bo Xilai and the Old Guard dealt with,
we might expect the new regime – the Seven – to begin to tackle matters such as the artificially
high flotation of the Chinese yuan. As a man, Xi Jinping has a reputation for being tough but fair –
indeed, we might see him in this regard as a perfect blend of old and new – of Confucian virtues and
modern economic pragmatism. Under his charge, I think we’ll begin to see a lot of China’s problems
being dealt with – and not just green issues, but the issues of providing health and education to their
billion-plus peasants who haven’t as yet shared in the “gold rush” that’s urban China these days.
Okay. I’m going to add pieces on some of the other appointees later today. But it would be good to
get feedback on this. I know it was something that was focused upon in the last debate the other
night, and I think it’s the most important issue to be dealt with in this era – ie., what stance are we
going to take on China? We get that wrong and we’re fucked. West and East alike.
So. Let me know what you think.
24th October 2012