World View: Chinese Communist Party Preps for Explosive Politburo Election

World View: Chinese Communist Party Preps for Explosive Politburo Election

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Chinese Communist Party prepares for an explosive Politburo election
  • Putin’s disappearance may be related to his day as leader of the cranes

Chinese Communist Party prepares for an explosive Politburo election

Politburo Standing Committee
Politburo Standing Committee

Pundits give many reasons why Republicans and Democrats are unable tocompromise in America today, but from the point of view ofgenerational theory, the reason is pretty simple. In the 1980s,President Ronald Reagan was able to unite the Republicans and theDemocrats to cooperate with each other, following the chaos ofAmerica’s generational Awakening era. They cooperated to change theSocial Security system to make it a sounder system. After that, theycooperated again to specify new rules to control the budget deficit.Compromise was still possible in 1996, when Democratic President BillClinton, saying that “the era of big government is over,” cooperatedwith the Republican congress to eliminate the welfare entitlement.Those compromises were possible because they were led by World War IIsurvivors, people who were capable of putting the country ahead ofpolitics.

Today, the WW II survivors are mostly gone, the current Gen-X andBoomer politicians have no personal memory of the horrors of WW II,and so are incapable of putting their country ahead of anything, eventheir own greed and hatred. I can write that we’re headed for a newClash of Civilizations world war that will be much worse than WW II,but the reaction of most people is not to deal with the message, butto shun the messenger. The same is true in any generational Crisisera. Just google the words “fdr scandals” to read about thebitterness of the 1930s, America’s last generational Crisis era. Andof course, the conflicts of the preceding generational Crisis era ledto the American Civil War.

The same is true in China. During Deng Xiaoping’s era in the 1980s,the survivors of Mao’s Communist Revolution (1934-49) were still incharge, and compromise was possible. Deng, who in some ways can bethought of as China’s Ronald Reagan, was able to unite competingfactions after the country had been split by the disastroustoday, those survivors are all gone, and all that people can do islook wistfully back and wonder why there’s no Deng Xiaoping figureleading the country and able to unite it today.

Managing by “consensus” has been the highest goal of the ChineseCommunist Party (CCP) since Mao’s days. That means that there mightbe disagreement at first among the members of the Politburo StandingCommittee (PSC) but once a decision is made, then no one disagreeswith it, at least in public. Every ten years, there is a generationalchange in China, and a new PSC is chosen. In the past, the choice hasalways been by consensus. This time, the choice will be made bypeople growing up after Mao’s Communist Revolution. Like America’spoliticians today, they’ll put personal greed ahead of their country.

It is apparently a foregone conclusion that Xi Jinping will be chosenas the new president of China, replacing Hu Jintao. But there areonly seven seats available in the PSC, and ten candidates for them,and the battles for those seats may be bloody. But unlike Deng andHu, Xi has been unable to bring about a consensus. He’s proposing aradical idea: A differential voting scheme that will select the 7winners from the 10 candidates. A voting scheme is a perfectlyordinary solution in the West, but it’s anathema in China, which issupposed to rule by “consensus.”

There’s only one political party in China — the CCP — but forthis election, there are two major factions within the CCP:

  • The “princelings,” mostly sons of the survivors of Mao’s revolution. Bo Xilai was (is?) one of the princelings, but he was thrown out of the running earlier this year by a major scandal, possibly the biggest scandal in the CCP’s history. (Recall that I referred you to FDR’s scandals above.) However, Bo was a very powerful figure before his demise, and there are many bitter supporters who did not want to see him go.
  • The “tuanpai,” people, now grown up, with ties to the Communist Youth League (CYL), the power base for Hu Jintao. The CYL tuanpai have been growing in power, and the Bo scandal has weakened his opposition. Hu and his partner, prime minister Wen Jiabao, are expected to use this power to put their own people in, and shut out the princelings and Bo supporters as much as possible.

Into this potentially bloody situation, a new bombshell exploded acouple of weeks ago: A long New York Times feature that said that WenJiabao was a corrupt official who used his powers to channel billionsof dollars to his family members. At a time when China is close tocivil war between the mostly poor “peasants,” and the generallywealthy and entitled CCP members, this has infuriated the public somuch that the CCP shut down the entire New York Times website inChina. But followers of Bo continued to circulate the incriminatingarticle on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, and Bo supporters are expectedto use the accusations against Wen to claim that corruption is commonin the CCP, and that the accusations against Bo are not sospecial. Straits Times (Singapore) and Asia Times andPeople’s Daily (Beijing)

Putin’s disappearance may be related to his day as leader of the cranes

Putin, dressed as a bird, flies in motorized hang glider with cranes in September (Ria Novosti)
Putin, dressed as a bird, flies in motorized hang glider with cranes in September (Ria Novosti)

The usually ostentatious president Vladimir Putin of Russia hasremained almost completely out of sight for the last few weeks,causing Moscow to buzz about the state of his health.

The greatest speculation is that he suffered a back injury during apublicity stunt last summer that was so ridiculous as to be almostunbelievable, but you can’t make this stuff up. Putin decided tobecome leader of a wedge of white crane birds, to help them migrate.He “disguised” himself as a mama crane by wearing a beak, a white robeand a helmet, and steered a hang glider through the air, leading somecranes.

Unfortunately, his hang glider apparently had a hard landing, andPutin may have hurt his back. (There’s no word about whether thecranes also had a hard landing.)

Russians are cynical about their leaders’ health, details of which areusually kept top secret. Leonid Brezhnev was leader until his deathin 1982, and he was fully senile in his last few years. BorisYeltsin’s disjointed speech and bizarre behavior were attributed toheavy drinking. Putin has attempted to show himself off as a “hunk”in several publicity stunts, but now he may be in trouble. France 24 and Moscow News (September 9)

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