Liang Wengen: a phenomenon


by He Qinglian on December 4, 2012

There are only a few Chinese entrepreneurs who became headline stories both in China and abroad at the same time, Liang Wengen is one of them. The reason that he became the focus of the news is his unreserved desire to become entitled to the same beneficial treatments those running state-owned enterprises enjoy. Liang’s efforts in seeking this could be seen in his going all out to join the rank of CPC Central Committee members and his suing the Obama administration for imposing a ban on his wind farms that would situate within or in the vicinity of restricted air space at a naval weapons systems training facility.

Why does Beijing see “moderate inflation” as conducive?

By He Qinglian on September 5, 2012.

Recently, foreign financial institutions have been issuing warnings on Chinese economy, in particular the risks of its financial sector.


Warning Signs of the Chinese Economy

Goldman Sachs have always been highly positive about the Chinese economy. In their newly published macro-economic report, however, the Chinese economy has been included in the three major risk factors that affect the world's economy. By “three risk factors” they meant the Europe debt crisis, the sluggish U.S. economy and the “hard-landing” risk of the Chinese economy. Goldman Sachs pointed out that, compared to the other two factors—the U.S. economy is improving, the Europe debt issue is calmed somewhat at the moment, China's economic growth would be the one major uncertainty.

2012 Anti-Corruption Storm Unfolds in Communist China

“Anti-corruption” has become the number one buzzword in China over the last few weeks. Every day, there are reports about communist officials at various levels being investigated. Led by Xi Jinping, the new regime leadership has promised to deal with corruption among officials. This new round of the anti-corruption campaign has aspects that may lead Chinese people to realize they live in a chaotic society that has almost completely lost its morality.

The Weak Links in China’s Great ‘Renewal’ Plan

By He Qinglian

Since taking office as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi Jinping has given three speeches to outline three paths to rebuild the CPC’s political legitimacy. In addition to the “bread path” and the “anti-corruption path,” Xi also pledged a “great renewal of the Chinese nation.”

Throughout history, the renewal of a nation has depended on two factors: support from the general public and abundant material resources. Today’s China, however, seriously lacks both of these.

On a pointless debate and corruption in China

By He Qinglian on November 29, 2012

The disclosure of obscene video footage of official Lei Zhengfu has sparked off some debates in China. Apart from the argument about “anti-corruption and privacy protection”, whichever is more important; there is also another argument about whether Ji Xuguang, the person who brought the video footage to light, is a good man or a bad one.

Will Xi Jinping Change China?


By He Qinglian on November 15, 2012.

In his address delivered at the 18th Party Congress, Hu Jintao described Western democracy as the evil path. That remark made the Chinese people temporarily stop expecting political reform. Outraged, someone commented that expecting the CPC to carry out political reform is like a new form of Stockholm syndrome which paroxysm would happen en masse every once in a while.

The funny thing is, on the contrary, the international community is developing a “reform expectation syndrome”, and that too is happening en masse.

International Expectations

How high an expectation the international community has for Xi Jinping to carry out reform? Let's have a look at a Wall Street Journal article published on November 12, “China's New Boss: Xi Jinping”, which serves together with other articles like “Meet China’s Folk Star First Lady-in-Waiting” as the embodiment of the ongoing hope for change.

That article analyzed where Xi Jinping would find his governing inspiration by starting with the assertion that he would not be fond of Mao Zedong, it then proceeded to dig up several positive factors that indicate Xi would lead China into a new era. The factors are as follows.

First, Xi Jinping is more amiable in the eyes of Western countries, in particular the United States, than Hu Jintao. Xi lived with a U.S. household in Muscatine, Iowa when he first visited the United States; his daughter is now studying at Harvard University.

Second, Xi Jinping appears more lovable than Hu Jintao because of his appearance, his voice and his glamorous wife.

And third, the influence of Xi Jinping's father, Xi Zhongxun. Foreign media unanimously see Xi Zhongxun as an economic reformist and comparatively a political liberal. In 1987 he spoke in defense for reformist leader Hu Yaobang, then general secretary that came under fire, and he condemned the Tiananmen incident in 1989. 


Unlikelihood of Changes

While stressing the positive factors that Xi Jinping might lead China into a new era, the commentator made studied omissions of some crucial facts.

First, when Xi Jinping was assigned the responsibility to plan and coordinate preparation for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, he and Zhou Yongkang devised together an “Olympics Security Model”, which became known for its all-encompassing strict surveillance with “six nets”. The security model became a precedent for all subsequent major events and conferences in China.

Second, during his visit in Mexico in February 2009, Xi Jinping made a grand statement: “some foreigners with full bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us." He then added, "First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?”

Third, at the opening ceremony of the Central Party School in early September 2012, Xi Jinping expressed his commendation for Mao Zedong and Mao's thoughts.

This way of deliberately omitting some important facts while over-interpreting others would at most be a reflection of the expectation of the author (and the Western societies) that Xi Jinping initiates political reform. If this WSJ report could be liken to a lollipop that is used to make a child behave, then the Economist article, Xi Jinping: the man who must change China, could be seen as a warning.

Distressful Signs

The Economist article listed out all unstable factors in China, such as the decelerating economy, social inequality, pervasive corruption, deteriorating environment and officials' grabbing of land by hook and crook. After quoting scholars as saying that China is “unstable at the grass roots, dejected at the middle strata and out of control at the top”, the article continued that “If China’s leaders mishandle the discontent, one senior economist warned in a secret report, it could cause 'a chain reaction that results in social turmoil or violent revolution'”. To avert this, Xi Jinping must initiate change. Recent articles from BBC and the Guardian are basically also of this view. 

Those Chinese people who expect a reforms are out of the same reasons above. Yet the deeper causes that these foreigners expect change are not what the Chinese people could readily think of. For instance, the Economist expressed its worries chiefly on the grounds that “the world has much more to fear from a weak, unstable China than from a strong one”—a stark contrast from the years of propagandist claim of China that “the West (or the U.S.) fears a mighty China”—and what Xi Jinping said in 2009 was actually a response to this worry of Western societies. 

Fear of an unstable China

Why would the international community worry that turmoil would break out in China? For one reason, China is now in a period of boom that is unprecedented in history. While the country seizes resources around the world by such means as investment in stakes, acquisition with high prices and others, it causes anxiety around the world with its exports of various kinds of bad commodity that are unsafe, its output massive numbers of emigrants by means of human smuggling and others, and the engagement of these Chinese migrants in money laundering.

Southeast Asian countries neighboring China are where illegal Chinese immigrants head for, Chinese communities, big and small, have been formed. In these communities, the thriving prostitution, mafia, money laundering and drugs are creating serious headache for the police there. These problems have also emerged in Spain, Italy and other countries. These countries worry that, once large scale unrest breaks out in China, illegal Chinese immigrants will be heading for them like tidal waves and would be much more difficult to manage. 

What is expected of China?

For the United States, there is another concern. If a powerful China could become a responsible member of the international community, then it could perhaps be counted on to control some smaller thug regimes. America as the world leader has long discovered that the situation now is more difficult to address than it was during the “Cold war”. Back then there was the Soviet Union, the big brother of the Socialist bloc, the U.S., Britain, and France needed only to negotiate and reach an agreement with the “big brother”, and then count on it to control its little Socialist brothers. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the evil empire was no more.

The United States realized later on that there are still plenty of small thug regimes creating troubles, and there was no major country that could exert influence on them. And then, the United States figured that China might process this type of influence. 

China and its dictatorial friends

What did this influence of China come from? Given that China needs to resist international condemnation of its human rights, it has to form an alliance with some autocratic countries. In addition, China needs resources and has developed all kinds of cooperative economic ties with these countries. The increasingly affluent Beijing is very willing to become “good friends” with these dictatorial countries through aids, and interest-free loans. This alliance of interest acquired with money enables China and its “friends” to successfully resist Western societies' condemnation and sanction against them in UN.

Although China's political influence and controlling power on these countries is nowhere near the former Soviet Union back during the years when the Socialist bloc existed, it sees itself as the big brother of “the club of tyrants”.

The United States understands that China's controlling power falls far short of that of the former Soviet Union, it nonetheless wishes China could play this role. In its fight against terrorism, and in dealing with North Korea and Iran, the United States has this hope for China, that it could become a responsible major power in the international community. 

Which way will China go?

And for China to become a responsible player in the international community, it would have to embark on the road of democratization. This time, Hu Jintao's declaration that China would not take the road of Western democratization, and called it the evil path has really disappointed the West. But then what could be done? The European Union is still caught in a crisis that has no end in sight, U.S. economy has yet to fully recover, if Beijing insists to oppress its people, it would definitely lead China to unrest and bring unease to the world.

What kind of a path will Xi Jinping lead China onto? The world is watching.

China’s ‘New Judicial Reform’ Not What It Claims to Be

Translation first appeared in the Epoch Times.

By He Qinglian on October 12, 2012.

China’s State Council recently released a white paper on judicial reform, lauding “new, more prudent death penalty rules.” But there’s a catch to it.

The notice, issued on October 9, barely received any Chinese media attention except for an official announcement by state-run China Daily.

You can’t really blame Chinese media for not caring or commenting, because the so-called reforms merely aim to provide more leniency for government officials involved in corruption cases, while common citizens still face execution.

Why CPC Defies Democracy

Translation first appeared on the Epoch Times under the title: Why the Chinese Communist Party Defies Democracy

By He Qinglian.

At the opening ceremony of  the Communist Party of China’s (CPC’s) 18th Congress, outgoing Party leader Hu Jintao declared, “We will not follow the closed and rigid path of the past, nor can we take the wicked way of changing our banner.” The statement has disappointed those who were expecting gestures toward political reform, and some media and individuals turned their hopeful eyes to the new Party leader, Xi Jinping.

What makes it hard for China to embrace universal values?


By He Qinglian on November 5, 2012.

China has difficulties embracing universal values for many reasons. First of all, the stone-minded CPC set in place the “five no's” principles to stifle the people's pursuit of democracy and freedom. If it is only the CPC that is stubborn, the issue could be overcome gradually. The problem, though, is that after years of domestication by the rulers, some Chinese people have not only become immune to universal values, their moral views, too, have been gravely distorted.

Open Alliance of Power and Money Meets in Beijing

The Communist Party’s 18th Congress helps turn power into wealth

By He Qinglian.
Translation first appeared on Epoch Times.

The United States presidential and general elections and the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) 18th Party Congress, which commences its once-in-a-decade process of installing new leadership, were held almost simultaneously this year.

The Chinese regime’s propaganda has been saying that the U.S. capitalist system is money-driven politics that favors the big bourgeoisie and the rich, whereas China is a socialist country whose politics favor the overwhelming majority of the people. The composition of the CPC’s 18th Congress tells a different story, one involving an alliance of power and money.

Nobel Prize in Literature and China

By He Qinglian on October 12, 2012.

As the people began to feel fed up with the topics of the 18th CPC National Party Congress and Bo Xilai, the news of Nobel Prize in Literature came at a perfect timing, all Chinese media are thrilled by the result. Because of the various angles, the multifarious choices of words reflected the position of the Chinese government and the varying reactions of people from all walks of lives. These attitudes overshadowed the reasons Mo Yan won this prize. 

Questionable fortune of Wen's family


By He Qinglian on Oct 28, 2012.

Right at the time when the 18th CPC Party Congress is set to “victoriously commence”, New York Times' report of the hidden fortune of premier Wen's family on October 26 cast a shadow on this hard-won victory. 

Originally, the Chinese people have always found corruption despicable. Whenever the issue of dignitaries amassing money is discussed, they sound as if they hate that inexplicably. Every time foreign media exposed insider information on corruption of senior officials, those individuals who could see read these news race to spread them across. But the reaction toward this New York Times story is somewhat different. 

Last Song of Wen Jiabao

Source article in Chinese: 温家宝的政治绝唱
By He Qinglian on October 23, 2012

In March next year, Wen Jiabao, the sixth premier of the CPC regime, would retire from his position in the “Two Meetings”. Taking into account that the “Golden Decade” received more criticism than praise both at home and in Chinese communities abroad, Premier Wen finally decided to officially present in this December the “Overall Strategy of Income Distribution Reform”, which has been “studied and discussed” for a whole eight years, and use it as the last song to mark the end of his political career—and to leave behind a legacy that the people would fondly remember.

In their world, our rights do not exist

By He Qinglian on September 28, 2012.

The date for the commencement of the 18th National Party Congress has finally been set, and while the case of Bo Xilai did not end in the way Zhongnanhai would have liked, it is over. Regarding the distribution of power, there are all sorts of rumors flying around. Those rumors include a change in the number of Politburo Standing Committee members, the names of those have been promoted to that position, and those who have been striped of a certain post. Some commentators cheered when they heard that so-and-so have been promoted; and they felt sad to learn that so-and-so have not been promoted.

At first glance, these reactions were somewhat funny: the CPC ruling clique is just determining the pecking order among themselves, what has that to do with the commentators? And then it is sad because it is understandable that the Chinese people are so interested in these. As a people, the Chinese have no rights to take part in politics. While those living abroad could guess who would take what position, people inside China aren't allowed to do so. And as the Chinese government has made bottom-up revolution almost completely impossible, those who have such wishes would sooner or later be charged with “subversion of state power”, locked up and subjected to the punishment of proletariat dictatorship, which targets enemies of the state could sometimes be inhuman. Hence, without any other things they could do, people inside China could only pin their hopes on a top-down reform.

Every time when they learn a country has embarked on the road to democracy—be it Bhutan, which democratization process was started under the guidance of the fifth Dragon Kong, His Highness Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, or Burma, which beginning of the democratization process is won through long hard struggle—the Chinese people would feel somewhat more hopeful that the same would happen in China. With this hope, they never get tired of searching for words that those in the highest levels said that would mean reform.

I remember when foreign media asked my opinion on Zhu Rongji, I said:

China is no longer in the age of strongman. When the country's politics began the processes of “privatizing public power”, of legitimizing violence, and of the government turning into a group of gangsters; when a country is hijacked by interest groups, the will of individual leaders would become unable to contest with the institutionalized power. And there is inertia in that power to repel any voices or figures that are not conducive to the ruling clique. This is why although Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are not, with respect to their personality, cruel dictators, within the decade under their rule, the Chinese government has turned swiftly and completely into what could be called as the underworld.

Under these circumstances then, whether it is the officials with an ordinary background, or the Princelings or the Red Second Generation that take the reins of the government, the citizens could in no way expect that fundamental changes would take place in China. In the past few years, those officials with an ordinary background were revealed to be so corrupt that accepting over 100 million in bribery and having dozens of mistresses have become commonplace. The factor that keeps this distribution of interest from collapse is precisely the one-party dictatorship of the CPC that monopolizes everything. Hence, the political circle in China has reached a consensus with respect to maintaining the current political institution as it is.

What set the two groups of officials apart are two things. First, the Princelings and the Red Second Generation grew up with a sense of preparing themselves for taking over; in addition, they feel a kinship with the regime and are more concerned with its future. “We must not let the right to rule be destroyed by those incompetent and corrupt officials”, they would think. By contrast, the corrupt officials that came from an ordinary background think more about exploiting the regime for their personal gain; they feel no kinship with the government and many have long become “naked officials”, who are ready to go away and leave every trouble behind.

Second, those officials with a Red Second Generation background are familiar with politics at the highest levels. They tend to do “strategic thinking” and are capable of forming think tanks. These officials are not as short-sighted as those of the other group and do not see satisfying their personal desires as the top priority. By comparison, the Red Second Generation are somewhat equipped with a stronger “strategic vision”.

This “strategic vision”, however, is definitely not paving the way for China to move toward democracy. I recently did some searches in dated articles as I was gathering information for my commentaries, and I found two articles by Pan Yue, a Red Second Generation who is seen as a “star of the reformists”. In the first article dated 1991, Pan discussed the choices China has in response to the great change of the [former] Soviet Union; and in the other article written around 2005 and 2006, which was said to have cast shadow on Pan’s carrier, he made some reflections on how a revolution party should transform into a ruling one, on democratic politics and universal values.

Make no misinterpretation that this second article had caused bad luck to befall Pan, for that article was in fact written with an aim to help consolidate the ruling status of the CPC. In it Pan compared the fromer Soviet Union with China, citing a large number of problems that the CPC face, expressing the wish that the Party transform itself into a ruling party. To prevent senior members of the CPC misunderstand his article, Pan wrote specifically at the end of it that:—

No matter how the CPC changes or carries out reform, there are five principles that must be firmly upheld. First, only democracy within the CPC is allowed, the multi-party system shall in no way be practiced in China; second, the country’s rule by law must be implemented under the leadership of the CPC, the separation of powers of the West shall in no way be practiced in China; third, the check and monitoring of news and the public opinion are to be strengthened, the freedom of the press shall in no way be practiced in China; fourth, the modernization of the PLA must only be carried out under the leadership of the CPC, the nationalization of the army shall in no way be practiced in China; and fifth, the country’s to stick to the bettering the People's Congress system, plebiscites and universal suffrage shall in no way be practiced in China.
Put these five “shall in no ways” side by side with Wu Bangguo’s “five nos” (no multiparty elections, no diversity in guiding thought, no separation of powers, no federal system and no privatization), one could say that Wu’s ideas were taken from Pan’s five principles. I have always been guessing that what truly affected Pan’s political career was his vehement advocacy of the green GDP, which was tantamount to negating the Chinese development model and put all levels of the CPC governments in an uneasy position.

The point I want to make in bringing these up is that, in today’s Red China, even though the word “people’s” is included in the country’s name, its government, various judicial organizations and others, nothing is truly about the “people”. Those in the Red families, be they second or third generation, draw a clear line separating us and them. Those Red descendants with an open mind go only so far as to suggesting that the people be treated with benevolence so that they would not want to overthrow the government. The notion of giving power back to the people has definitely not occurred to any of them.

And it is not just the Red descendants that are drawing a clear line separating them and us. The intellectual elites who are serving them, too, make such a clear distinction. As I pointed out years ago that some intellectual elites proposed a “price theory”, which is developed based on a world of their own, a world that only three groups of people—the government officials, the entrepreneurs and themselves, intellectuals who serve the other two groups—exist. All other social classes are excluded from their world.

Once the difference between their thoughts and ours is understood, people would probably stop feeling optimistic because so-and-so has secured a place in the NPC Standing Committee. We, the excluded, are aware that there was a conclusion on what triggered the downfall of the CPSU:—

It was not caused by the so called peaceful evolution, but its three monopolies on the truth and ideology, on power, politics and law, and privileges. Those monopolies made the CPSU deem that whatever it thought or said was correct, that its power was supreme, and that it was entitled to every enjoyment
The person who said the above remarks is not any of leaders of the CPSU before the Party’s collapse, but Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the UCP-CPSU, a political party in today’s Russia.

It is only when rulers from them could say something similar and are willing to break these three monopolies that they would acknowledge our rights and that we are supposed to be on an equal footing with them regarding rights in the very beginning. 

Does China really need a war?

By He Qinglian on September 21, 2012.

The international community is mainly of two viewpoints on the recent storm that brewed over the Diaoyu Islands disputes. The first viewpoint was that the CPC, caught in a situation with both domestic and foreign issues, sought for itself a “scapegoat” to divert the attention; the other saw the protests as nothing but a farce. This second viewpoint is over simplistic, and has somewhat underestimated the CPC's ability in playing trickery games; the first viewpoint was correct. But if they thought the CPC only wanted to encourage the nationalistic sentiment and allowed the angry youth and fans of Mao Zedong to smash cars, burned down shops, and create a fuzz and call it quits. Then their understanding of Chinese politics is not deep and thorough enough.

Power struggle behind the anti-Japan rally

By He Qinglian on September 18. 2012.

In mid-September this year, under the encouraging commentaries from such mouthpieces as the People's Daily and the Global Times, China's anti-Japan patriotic movement has finally reached its climax on the eve of the 81st anniversary of the Mukden Incident. Judging from the way the rally started and the mysterious identity of some of the participants, this year's anti-Japan rally has features different from that of the past.

First, the organizers of this patriotic rally and the response measures the local governments have taken obviously reflected the split in the highest levels of China during the power transition process of the 18th National Party Congress. There are forces on the aggressive mode, which hope to see the events escalate. The best outcome for them is a battle, which they could use as an opportunity for expansion and to fish in troubled waters. This was manifested in the protests on September 15 and 16. There are other forces on the defensive mode, which hope the protests and demonstrations across the country be controlled within a scale that would not lead to international conflicts, that was the reason the armed police were armed to their teeth when the rallies took place on September 18.

How far is the crisis resonance away from China

By He Qinglian on September 10, 2012.

At a time when foreign financial institutions frequently issue warnings on China’s economy—its financial sector in particular, Jackson Diehl of Washington Post jumped on the band wagon. In his article published in the September/October issue of World Affairs, Diehl made an even more pessimistic prediction, stating that authoritarians in both China and Russia are facing a coming collapse, and yet neither of the two U.S. presidential candidates has made any preparation on that.

When foreign China watchers observe China, they frequently overlook one thing: the politics with the CPC characteristics is politics without responsibility. The heads of the Party and of the government have never had to shoulder responsibility for their policy mistakes. If half (not all) of the current signs of crises in China emerge in the U.S., Japan or the E.U., the economic crisis of these countries would have long turned into a political one, resulting in the collapse of the government, the resignation of the cabinet, as has happened in Greece.

The Inherent Conflict between Collective Leadership and Dictatorship

By He Qinglian on Aug 16, 2012.

After the three trials related to Bo Xilai were over, the Publicity Office of the CPC Central Committee held a press conference on August 14 to introduce how the election of the 18th CPC Party Congress would proceed; at the same time, a representative list consisting 2270 people was revealed. Yet information like when the Congress is to commence, and crucial personnel arrangement such as Politburo candidates, and whether the number of Politburo Standing Committee members would be reduced from nine to seven remain tightly guarded secrets.

For a transfer of power at the top of China to become a soap opera that of homicide, corruption, mysteries, and erotic connection, the desire for power is entirely to blame.

The Achilles' heel of Collective Leadership

The Collapse of China’s Credibility

Translation first appeared in the Epoch Times.

By He Qinglian on August 17, 2012.

Recently, the international community has been voicing its distrust of China from a variety of perspectives, both political and economic. Even dirty deals between Western businessmen and the Chinese government are being exposed for the first time since the mid-1990s. China’s credibility appears to be collapsing.

Political mistrust can be seen from the international community’s reaction to the Gu Kailai murder trial. Since this was a high-profile case involving the wife of disgraced Chongqing Communist party boss Bo Xilai, the world watched closely.

Bo Xilai has just escaped his incrimination—for now

By He Qinglian on August 13, 2012.

With Gu Kailai and Wang Lijun standing trial in succession, what the foreign media want to see the most would be how deeply did Bo Xilai involve in the cases, how did Gu Kailai channeled up to six billion dollars of fortune out of China through Neil Heywood and others; they also expected to see the CPC authorities chase back the six billion assets that had come from illicit sources, and charge Bo Xilai the political loser with corruption—one of the three crimes the CPC Central Committee leadership prepared back in March this year.

Why declaring an amnesty for corrupt officials to promote political reform would not work?

By He Qinglian on August 3, 2012.

Recently, Mr. Wu Si shared his views on the current affairs of China in the form of an interview. “Granting a conditional amnesty to corrupt officials to push for political reform”, he said. A wise man who had made insightful historical observations, Wu went so far as to draw reference to the amnesty system that was practiced throughout the feudal history of China, with the hope that a political reform could be initiated if the dignitaries and officials get pardoned for their corruption crimes. With this, he hoped the officials would set aside their worries and steer the country into a new beginning with the people. 

Three things to look at in the Bogu Kailai case

By He Qinglian on July 30, 2012.

At the time when the slogan “defend to the death the 18th National Congress” appears in China, the authorities announced that the trial of the Bogu Kailai case would commence in recent days. Without doubt, this action means top level officials at Zhongnanhai want to settle this case as quickly as possible. Hu Jintao intended to show his political rivals—both openly and secretly—that the Bogu Kailai case is a criminal one, it would at most implicate Bo only. Knowing this from Hu's speech in a hotel in early May, his opponents want it closed as soon as possible, for fear that dreary scenario would arise. 

Reflections on June-4th Incident (Three)

Populism or Democracy, which would decide the future of China.

By He Qinglian on June 14, 2012.

Sun Yat-sen had once referred “the People’s livelihood”, “the People’s identity” and “the People’s rights” collectively as the “Three Principles of the People”, which was at one point the main theme of the Chinese pursuit of a bright future in the 20th century. 

However, in authoritarian and totalitarian countries where there is a lack of civil awareness, “the People’s identity” theory could easily be turned into senseless xenophobia; “the People’s livelihood” theory, [a negative form of] populism; and “the People’s rights” theory, which is the prerequisite for protecting the people’s livelihood and ensuring both the state and the populace would grow rich, could be swept aside with extreme ease.

Reflections on June-4th Incident (Two)

Hope of Russia: The Middle Class’ awakening awareness of their rights.
By He Qinglian on June 14, 2012.

There is a feature in China’s foreign policy in recent years: whenever Western countries—the United States in particular—made any “unfriendly” actions, the Chinese government would definitely lodge a strong protest; yet however “unfriendly” Russia may be to China—whether it is the China threat theory that repeatedly emerges in Russia, or the unfair and inhumane treatments that Chinese traders and nationals in Russia have often been subjected to, the Chinese government would basically respond in a low key approach. Chinese media, too, turn a blind eye to them. Their attitude toward Vladimir Putin has been completely different from their attitude to heads of Western countries. They would spare no ink when they write about scandals that are connected to Western heads of state or government; yet when they write about Vladimir Putin, their reports comprise nothing but praise, and they generally do not criticize him.

Reflections on June-4th Incident (One)

Reflections on the June-4th Incident (One): why endogenous communist countries reject Western-styled democracy?
By He Qinglian on June 1, 2012.

This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the June-4th incident, and it has been more than  21 years since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the Socialist bloc in Eastern and Central Europe. In most of the countries where the socialist system was imposed on them, for example Eastern European countries, the humiliation and pain caused by Communism gradually fades away after the generation(s) that personally experienced it has grown old. In endogenous communist countries like Russia and China, however, the former remains in the state of enlightened despotism, the latter has yet to reach that state.

It is interesting to compare the history and cultural background of the two countries.

On Vogel's book about Deng Xiaoping

Though Deng's era is over, his legacy is yet to be concluded.

Written by He Qinglian on June 18, 2012.
(Translated by kRiZcPEc).

The Chinese version of Deng Xiaoping and the transformation of China, written by Ezra F. Vogel, a professor at Harvard University, has recently been available. Although there are already various versions of biographies of Deng Xiaoping, including My father Deng Xiaoping by Deng Rong “Maomao”, and hardly any breakthrough could be achieved in terms of historical data, this book by Vogel is about a world class great man, and the author is a renowned China scholar who was once influential both in the politics and academic circles. These two factors per se are sufficient to attract the eyeballs of readers. 
In his recent interviews following the publication of the Chinese version of his book, Mr. Vogel made comments about Deng Xiaoping and gave a series of “if” that showed clearly how much he worshiped Deng. The most controversial and the hardest not to disagree was his defense for Deng Xiaoping's decision errors in squelching the “June-4th” Tiananmen movement.

Nine Dragons—Power Struggle in Beijing

Under the Joint Governance of Nine Dragons, the Power Struggle in Beijing that started high and ended low. 
By He Qinglian on May 28, 2012

Since February this year, Beijing has become the world's largest center of rumors production and dissemination. As May arrived, details leaked from Beijing-approved insiders decreased gradually; nonetheless, observers could still tell from the signs that things have been changing favorably for the faction that supported Bo Xilai.

Of the limited pieces of information that had come to light, the most important was the report on May 25 by Reuters, quoting an insider source. It was said that in early May, the Communist Party of China held a meeting at the Jingxi Hotel of Beijing, roughly 200 persons attended. General Secretary Hu Jintao said on the meeting that the Bo Xilai incident would be classified as “criminal offense”, and an “isolated case”; he urged senior CPC officials to unite and guard against further intensification of affairs since former Chongqing Committee Secretary Bo Xilai was striped of his post. Reuters said the informants were three individuals with close connections to that meeting. If this information is trustworthy, then the “line struggle” approach that Wen Jiabao proposed to convict Bo Xilai after his case went public has already been abandoned.

A glimpse of the endgame of the power struggle

Catching a glimpse of the endgame of the power struggle through the news leak from Beijing
By He Qinglian on May 14, 2012 

On May 11, Japan’s Fuji Evening News published a shocking story: “Exclusive interview with Bo Xilai, the disgraced Chinese leader”. The report said that on April 26, Chinese state security agents arranged Keisuke Udagawa of Yamato Press to have dinner with the disgraced Bo Xilai under their watch.   

That was the first time Bo met with the outside world after he was placed under house arrest. The story was without doubt explosive, those who read it invariably found it shocking and incredible. Most were asking: firstly, why was Keisuke Udagawa chosen for a meeting that would not be possible under normal circumstances? Why did Beijing pick an entertainment media outlet that was not specialized in reporting political news, and not major British and American media or media from Hong Kong and Taiwan? Secondly, why was the interview that took place on April 26 published a half-month later on May 11?

Sewage Bucket Effect Diminishes

Anti-Bo Xilai campaign indicates the “Sewage Bucket”effect is diminishing
By He Qinglian on Apr 26, 2012
Read the Original Chinese Article

By now the Anti-Bo Xilai campaign initiated by Zhongnanhai is near its end. In hindsight this campaign could be seen as an “internal affair” in which the Communist Party of China (CPC) “purges the 'bad elements'” within its party. Given that the CPC is China's sole long-term ruling party, this is of course one of China's national affairs, and a big one, too. Putting in that much amount of public opinion resources, even resorted to continually feeding information to media of different languages around the world so they have their turns of exclusive stories, Beijing is of course hoping to get something in return.

The flaw in CPC Collective Leadership System: Insufficient authority and Internal Split

The flaw in the Collective Leadership System of the CPC: Insufficient authority and Internal Split
By He Qinglian on May 7, 2012

The Collective Leadership System, which the Communist Party of China (CPC) uses to disperse the highest authority, is now facing grave crisis.

The CPC, the Party which has always emphasized its entire membership to be “in close solidarity with the Party Central that centers on comrades so-and-so”, has shown the world clearly its severe inner-split through the “Ouster of Bo Xilai” and the Chen Guangcheng incident.

Beijing’s Rumor Control Cuts Both Ways

By He Qinglian on Apr 11, 2012
Modified version of the Epoch Times Translation

Owing to China’s information blockade, the Bo Xilai debacle has made media of different countries play some “guessing games”. Xinhua’s April 10 announcement pertaining to Bo’s alleged involvement in the death of Neil Heywood momentarily brought all these to a halt.

Already in mid-March the Communist regime made preparations to accuse Bo of three crimes, yet the one related to “path struggle” raised by Wen Jiabao during a March 14 press conference was not used in the Xinhua announcement.

The Tension Between Politics and Religion in China

By He Qinglian
(Modified version of the Epoch Times translation)

Self-immolation tragedies have continually taken place among Tibetan monks in recent months. On March 23, People’s Daily Online blamed the Dalai Lama for inciting Tibetan monks to self-immolate and accused him of spreading Nazism to the Tibetan people.

Beijing and Hong Kong, a tie falling apart

Political control intensifies, Psychological alienation grows—a commentary on the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong
By He Qinglian on April 5, 2012
[Read original article in Chinese]

If the relationship between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Beijing were to be presented in a graph, an image bearing little resemblance to Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang would emerge. While Taiwan's relations with Beijing changes from being a pair of parallel lines without intersection to two strings that have become entwined, an “intimacy” that the island feels happy about for now; Tibet and Xinjiang are originally “integral parts” of China where the dwindling authority of the central government has to be maintained with forcible measures; as for Hong Kong, the city has become politically and economically inseparable from mainland China, the people's grievances can be heard everywhere, and the sense of alienation is strengthening by the day.

Rumors corrode Beijing's political legitimacy

Rumors corrode Beijing's political legitimacy
By He Qinglian on March 23, 2012

The perfect hotbed for rumors to thrive would be where the politics is opaque and where power functions in a way that is concealed from the public. China has always been full of rumors, in particular when it is the time of chaos and confusion, or when a dynasty nears its end. At present, the Chinese people in a time of Web2.0 is surrounded by all sorts of rumors, as was the case when the Qing dynasty was about to end a hundred years ago.

Putin and Beijing, Mubarak is Waving at You!

Putin and Beijing, Mubarak is Waving at You!
By He Qinglian on March 20, 2012

I made a comparison between this two strong men in power of different countries because a strong parallel could easily be drawn between the way Vladimir Putin won the Russian presidential election and the way Hosni Mubarak became elected. 

Rereading KGB

Rereading “KGB - Chairmen of the state security organs: the fate of the declassified”*
By He Qinglian on March 12, 2012

The most controversial action of the Chinese government during this year's “Two Meetings” was its pending passage of the draft Code of Criminal Procedure amendment**. Article 73, the “secret arrest” article, of the draft amendment that targeted its citizens attracted a chorus of criticism from various sectors, who realized that such an article would become a Sword of Damocles hanging above the heads of the Chinese people and every one may be subjected to “secret disappearance” by the authorities on the grounds of “threatening national security”.

Why has improvement in income distribution become the toughest task for China

He Qinglian on March 9, 2012
(translated by kRiZcPEc)

Just like the “Two Meetings” last year, issues on the people's livelihood remained what the delegates could discuss freely without worrying the potential consequences. Included in this year's list of livelihood issues were housing and commodity prices, social morality, food safety, and income distribution—a topic that has been discussed annually. In the Government Work Report Premier Wen tirelessly repeated his call for “deepening the reform of the income distribution system and wasting no time in formulating a comprehensive package of reform of the income distribution system.”

Li Zhaoxing’s Common-Sense Fallacy

Li Zhaoxing’s Common-Sense Fallacy— ‘Direct elections difficult to implement in China’
By He Qinglian
Modified version of the Epoch Times translation.

Li Zhaoxing, a spokesman for the fifth session of the 11th National People’s Congress, dubbed the two meetings, delivered a fatal blow to the “political reform” fantasy propagated by regime leaders in recent years.

At a press conference on March 4, before the opening of the meeting, Li started out by commenting positively on direct elections, but then switched and said a direct election system across the country is not suitable for China.

Future of China

Future of China:  Establishment of a Democratic System Outweighs the Discussion of Who would Govern

By He Qinglian on February 23, 2012
(translated by kRiZcPEc)

Since February this year, whether the “Princelings” should take over or senior cadres ascended from the common people (Senior Cadres hereafter) should continue to govern appeared once again to be a big question crucial to the future of China after Wang Lijun, former Public Security Chief of Chongqing, stirred up quite a lot of speculations about his stay at the US consulate-general in Chengdu. All those commentaries published in overseas Chinese media that seemed to have come directly from Zhongnanhai made the water more murky and the two sides strove to give the audience an impression that they support one faction and not the other was because if that other faction rule, grave disaster would happen to the Chinese people.

The Chinese way of Development Threatens Survival

©Getty Image
By He Qinglian on February 13, 2012
(translated by kRiZ cPEc)

Serious pollution problems in the soil, water and air of China

Apart from economic restructuring, China faces another challenge that is more serious: to change the way in which it develops. This change comprises two aspects, the first is that China must shift the way it uses energy from the high consumption pattern to the low consumption one; the second is remediation of the land. To start with, the huge number of polluting industries should be suspended from operation; and from now on, big money should be continuously allocated to gradual repair of the severely contaminated ecosystem, so that food and water in the country could return to their safety standards.

China Model in Overseas Setting (Two)—International Community Stops Believing the Dishonest China

By He Qinglian on February 6, 2012
(Translated by kRiZcPEc)

The obstacles that Chinese enterprises encounter when they invest overseas result from their rent-seeking approaches being rejected by the people under regimes similar to the Communist Party and distrust from the people in democratic countries because of the lack of integrity, an innate disease of Chinese enterprises and the products they made.

China Model in Overseas Setting (One)—Why the country's investments overseas attract frequent criticism?

By He Qinglian on February 2, 2012
(Translated by kRiZcPEc)

In recent years, China has been making rapid moves in overseas investments. According to the report published by Price Waterhouse Coopers in mid-January, the total worth of assets Chinese companies acquired in 2011 surge to 42.9 billion dollars, a twelve-percent growth from 2010; the number of total transactions rose to a record high of 207 instances, an increase of 10% from the previous year. Judging from the data alone, it seems that Chinese capitals are hugely popular worldwide.

High GDP growth: China's two bubbles remain

By He Qinglian on January 30, 2012
(Translated by kRiZcPEc)

China has again created a “world miracle” in economic growth rate. In 2011, the country's total GDP was RMB 47.1 trillion (USD 7.4 trillion), the annual GDP growth rate was 9.2%, and its nominal growth reached as high as 17.5%.

Such a growth rate could be deemed exponential anywhere in the world, but that didn't mean China's economy was growing steadily and soundly. Apart from showing an expansion in the country's economy, GDP growth did not indicate its structural problems had been resolved.

A look back at Deng Xiaoping's speech in southern China two decades ago

By He Qinglian on January 19, 2012
(translated by kRiZcPEc)

This January 18 marked the 20th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping's tour around southern China (Southern tour). When the younger generations talk about the economic reform that Deng initiated, they have completely no idea that it almost went dead at the turn of 1980s and 1990s, and came back to life only after Deng went to the south and gave a speech in January 1992.

China’s Stability Maintenance System Faces Financial Pressure

He Qinglian
Increasingly frequent social conflicts and economic downturn have not only presented China’s regional governments with overwhelming financial pressure, but also caused the central government a serious funding problem for its stability maintenance system.
The Huge Cost of “Stability Maintenance”
Beginning in the late 1990s, local governments’ excessive resource extraction led to a dramatic annual increase in social resistance and organized mass incidents. There were 87,000 incidents in 2005, more than 90,000 in 2006,1 124,000 in 2008,2 and more than 280,000 in 2009.3
The types of social protest in China are determined by the country’s special pattern of economic development. Economic growth in China depends on real estate and the resources sector—petroleum, heavy chemical industry, and mining. Social protests thus concentrate on these sectors. The first major type of protest is land rights defense. This includes housing demolition and eviction in cities and land requisition in the countryside. The second major type involves environmental rights defense, because  pollution caused by the resources sector such as the heavy chemical industry seriously endangers the wellbeing of the people. And, the third type involves corruption among local government officials. Many corruption cases have to do with local officials embezzling land requisition compensation funds.
China’s public security expenditures (commonly known as “stability maintenance expenses”) directly correspond to the growth of social protests. As the number of protests increased dramatically in 2009, the focus of local governments underwent subtle changes. The principle of “development is the priority task” became “development is the priority task and stability maintenance the foremost responsibility.” Government agencies in charge of stability maintenance were given permanent status. There are stability maintenance offices all the way from the central to local governments. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China established a “Central Government Leading Group for Stability Maintenance.” It administers the Central Government Office of Stability Maintenance, located inside the Central Political and Legislative Affairs Committee. This office, under the direct administration of the CPC Central Committee, is responsible for rules of procedure and coordination. A “stability maintenance” office (full name: “office of the leading group for stability maintenance work”) can be found at every level of government—from each province or autonomous region to every city, county, village, neighborhood, even in major civic institutions and business enterprises.
“Stability maintenance offices” must fully understand all social development problems, not just those in the political and legal spheres. Thus, they comprise not only the departments of public security, procuratorate, the judicial system, and state security, but also propaganda departments. This system also maintains a huge informant network. For example, there are information staff members (i.e. informants) at universities, middle schools, civic institutions, business enterprises and in rural areas. According to a 2010 interview published on Xinhua Net, Liu Xingchen, assistant to the director of Kailu County, Inner Mongolia, and Party Secretary and Public Security Bureau Director, bragged to the reporter that he “has a huge informant network” and stays “highly alert” to any dissent and protest. How large is this network? Let’s take a look at the numbers Liu Xingchen provided: The number of informants under the Kailu County Public Security Bureau is as high as 12,093. For a county with a population of 400,000, excluding one quarter of the population who are underage, there is at least one informant for every 25 adults.4
As social protests increase and the stability maintenance system becomes systematized, the cost of stability maintenance has risen rapidly. According to the Ministry of Finance report on central and local government budget implementation, China’s expense for public security was 405.976 billion yuan [~$65.18 billion] in 20085 514 billion yuan [~$82.52 billion] in 2009,6 548.606 billion yuan [~$88.08 billion] in 2010,[7] and 624.421 billion yuan [~$100.25 billion] in 2011.8
“Stability Maintenance” Expenditures Exceed Military Budget, Straining People’s Livelihoods
To illustrate how alarmingly high stability maintenance costs are, researchers often compare them to military expenditures. The 514 billion yuan [~$82.52 billion] spent on stability maintenance in 2009 was close to the 532.1 billion yuan [~$85.43 billion] in military expenditures that year. The 624.421 billion yuan [~$100.25 billion] for stability maintenance in 2011 surpassed the military budget of 601.1 billion yuan [~$96.51 billion] the same year.
Public security expenditures chiefly fund organs of state-sanctioned violence. Of the 624.421 billion yuan [~$100.25  billion] public security budget in 2011, the budget for the following five groups account for 506.4 billion yuan [~$81.30 billion], or 81 percent, of the total public security budget: the armed police, public security, courts, judicial administration system,9 and anti-smuggling police. Of this total, the portion for public security departments (including state security, and public security for railway and civil aviation) was more than 322.562 billion yuan [~$51.79 billion]. The second-largest portion was 104.6 billion yuan [~$16.79 billion] for the paramilitary police. The budget for the courts—responsible for resolving social disputes—was no more than 60.804 billion yuan [~$9.76 billion], only 9.7 percent of the total.10 It must be pointed out that, unlike in countries with separation of power—where the courts are independent of the executive and legislative branches of the government—the court system in China is controlled by the CPC and is considered part of the stability maintenance system.
Stability maintenance has become an important measure of the political performance of government officials. Local officials are compelled to prioritize stability maintenance above other issues affecting people’s livelihoods such as social security and education. According to local government budget implementation in 2009, public security expenditures in many regions exceeded the amount spent on social security, employment, education, environmental protection, science and technology innovation and affordable housing. In Huizhou city, Guangdong Province, at least 36.64 million yuan [~$5.88 million] was spent on leasing surveillance monitors alone. The fund for 11 social security services including employment subsidy, state enterprise bankruptcy subsidy, medical insurance for seniors, and emergency relief totaled only 50.4 million yuan [~$8.09 million].11 In 2007 in Guangzhou (the capital of Guangdong province), expenses for social stability maintenance totaled 4.4 billion yuan [~$710 million], much more than the social security fund of 3.52 billion yuan [~$ 560 million].12
As mentioned above, the main cause of China’s social conflicts is excessive extraction of resources by government at all levels, creating a vicious cycle between stability maintenance and economic development. Local officials need GDP growth to demonstrate their effectiveness, and are compelled to undertake a large number of projects. The most profitable projects are real estate and polluting industries (because China has very lax oversight on environmental pollution, and one can pay very little, or even nothing, for polluting). However, real estate development involves land acquisition and property demolition, and industrial pollution triggers environmental rights defense actions by local residents. The more the economy develops, the more conflicts there are between government officials and the people, and the more stability maintenance is needed, requiring greater expenditures. City and county governments all feel increasing strain in funding stability maintenance. The November 2011 protest against the government’s land grab in Wukan Village, Shanwei City, Guangdong Province, lasted several months. The Shanwei municipal government spent a large sum to “maintain stability” in the village. The party secretary of Shanwei, Zheng Yanxiong, vented in his internally circulated speech: “You think it’s free to hire armed police? Hundreds of armed police and regular police living here has made our mayor’s wallet thinner by the day.”13
The Astronomical Price of Stability Maintenance is a Heavy Financial Burden on Local Governments
In his 2010 article, “The Astronomical Cost of Stability Maintenance is Eroding Local Government,” in Lianhe Zaobo, Xie Yue reported: “According to published Chinese government statistics, on average, local governments shoulder about 70 percent of their stability maintenance budget, with the remaining 30 percent coming from the central government. …”14
“There is a great regional difference in local governments’ spending on ‘stability maintenance.’ The more developed the area, the more it can spend.” And the converse is also true: the poorer the area, the less it can afford. “In the past 15 years, the top five biggest municipal spenders on public security, procuratorate, court, judicial administration system, and people’s armed police were Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Shandong. The smallest five spenders were Guizhou, Gansu, Qinghai, Tibet and Ningxia. However, the stability maintenance expenditures of a poor region may appear small in absolute amounts, those may eat up a big portion of its revenue. In 2008, number one-ranked Guangdong spent nearly 40 billion yuan [~$6.42 billion] on public security, procuratorate, court system and people’s armed police. Bottom-ranking Ningxia spent only 1.9 billion yuan [~$300 million],” Xie Yue wrote.15
Even though spending was relatively less in backward areas, it still accounted for a large percentage of local budgets. Xie Yue said: “In 2008, only 6.34 percent of Shanghai’s annual expenditure was on public security, procuratorate, court system, and people’s armed police. But in economically backward Ningxia this percentage was 28.4 percent. These statistics show that backward areas were under much greater economic stress due to ‘stability maintenance’ than developed areas. Many provinces run in fiscal deficit due to ‘stability maintenance.’”16
The above took place during a period when China’s economy was developing rapidly and income for local government was relatively good. Since 2009, income for local governments has decreased. To resolve local financial difficulties, the central government had to issue—on behalf of the local governments of 31 cities and provinces—three-year bonds worth 700 billion yuan [~$112.39 billion] to maintain the financial health of local governments. In the period March-August, 2012, more than 210 billion yuan [~$33.72 billion] worth of bonds matured, but local governments were unable to repay the debts. All they could do was play the game of borrowing new debt to repay old debt.17
Beginning 2012, local governments have been facing even greater financial pressure. With the introduction of stricter real estate market controls in 2011, local land finances were hard hit. Chinese Index Institute statistics indicate that in the first half of 2012, the total value of land transfer in China’s 300 cities was 652.598 billion yuan [~$104.77 billion], a decrease of 38 percent from the same period the previous year. Even in the wealthiest regions of the country—Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong—the revenue growth rate for the first half of 2012 went down to less than 10 percent from 20-to-30 percent in the same period last year. Due to the difficulties in transitioning from an export economy to a consumer market economy, the developed southeast coastal region also suffered serious financial downturn. Rich areas such as Shenzhen and Dongguan are on the verge of fiscal deficit.18
The Two-Faced Role of Regional Governments: Creator of Social Unrest and Maintainer of Stability
According to statistics provided by the article “Public Security Bill,” in the May 2011 issue of Caijing Magazine, the public security expenditures of local governments surpassed those of the central government. The amounts were 521.968 billion yuan [~$83.80 billion] and 102.452 billion yuan [~$16.45 billion], respectively, representing a ratio of greater than 3:1.19 This shows that local governments are the prime actors of stability maintenance.
Public security expenditures account for a large portion of local governments’ total expenditures. The hidden fact is that the local government benefits from land acquisition and housing demolition. That is, the government acquires the land before it sells it, and pockets the profits. It is also the behind-the scenes protector of local polluting enterprises. In 2010, nationally, land transfer funds accounted for 76.6 percent of local government revenues.20 In 2005, 80 percent of corrupt Chinese officials dealt in land.21 The fact these two figures reveal is that without the income from land transfers, most of local government finances would collapse. Officials would no longer be able to wear expensive clothes, eat fancy food, live in mansions, and drive luxury cars. As for the local government’s protection of polluting enterprises economic considerations are a factor. Polluting enterprises in many areas, especially in poor areas, are supported by the local governments and are also big tax payers. Wucheng County, Dezhou City, Shandong Province became a famous well-off village after developing a dairy industry. But many villagers in recent years died of cancer. The source of cancer is the Shandong Gaoxinrun Agricultural Chemical Co., Ltd., a big tax payer.22 The largest polluting enterprises in Yuanshi County, Henan Province are also the local star enterprises and big tax payers.23
We can see from this that local governments are the real culprits in the disputes and protests caused by land acquisition and industrial pollution. But since the local government has the executive power and judicial administrative power, they can use violent means to suppress people at any time. A great number of cases demonstrate that those whose interests have been harmed tried to get justice through legal channels. But either their cases are not accepted by the local courts or they lose their cases after exhausting their energy and money. If the people protest, they will most likely be violently suppressed by police dispatched by local authorities. They may even be arrested and labeled protest leaders and end up in prison. When we see the logic of the relationship of the above facts, things are terrifyingly simple: China’s local governments at different levels are themselves creators of social conflict, and they are the biggest threat to public security.
In summary, “stability maintenance” in China has become an industrial chain. At its top is the government’s plundering through land requisition, property demolition, and industrial pollution in order to preserve tax and financial revenues. At the middle of the chain is the government’s interception of complaints and petitions, crackdown, control of public opinion, propaganda, and informants. At the end of the chain is the judicial system, mental hospitals,24 and prisons. This new industrial chain provides a huge profit-sharing opportunity for China’s government officials and their relatives at all levels. Everyone—from the central government ministries to local government and the poor countryside—is connected to this chain of interests. Such an iron-fisted stability maintenance system not only makes it financially difficult for the government to continue to “maintain stability,” but also drags China into a vicious cycle of “the more one tries to maintain stability, the less stable it is.”
He Qinglian (何清涟), is an economist and author of China’s Pitfall and Media Control in China. A graduate of Hunan Normal University, with a master’s degree in economics from Shanghai’s Fudan University, He Qinglian worked in the propaganda department of the municipal Communist Party Committee in Shenzhen before becoming a writer and editor for the Shenzhen Legal Daily and working at Jinan University. He Qinglian moved to the United States in 2001.

1. Xu Kai, Chen Xiaoshu, Li Wei’ao, “Public Security Bill,” Caijing Magazine, Issue 11, 2011,^
2. For 2008 data see John Lee, “If Only China Were More Like Japan,” Businessweek, August 31, 2010,^
3. “Difficulty of Investing in Industry Leads to Increased Speculation,”, July 4, 2011,^
4. Malcolm Moore, “Chinese police admit enormous number of spies. A Chinese police chief has said he uses more than 12,000 spies to inform on a remote county of just 400,000 people, an admission that lays bare the enormous scale of China’s surveillance network,” Feb. 9, 2010,^
5. “China’s Public Security Expenditure Surpassing Military Budget Should Be No Surprise,” Xinhua Net, April 7, 2011,^
6. Xu Kai, et al, “Public Security Bill,” Caijing Magazine, Issue 11, 2011,^
7. “China’s Public Security Expenditure Surpassing Military Budget Should Be No Surprise,” Xinhua Net, April 7, 2011,^
8. Xu Kai et al, “Public Security Bill,” Caijing Magazine, Issue 11, 2011,^
9. This refers to the system of judicial bureaus headed by the Ministry of Justice. Among the functions of judicial bureaus is the management of lawyers, prisons, and the Reeducation-Through-Labor system. See,  and^
10. Xu Kai et al, “Public Security Bill,” Caijing Magazine, Issue 11, 2011,^
11. Huizhou City Report on 2009 Budget Implementation and 2010 Budget Draft,^
12. “Yu Jianrong: Repressive Social Stability Maintenance System Reaches Its Limit,” April 12, 2010,, reposted at^
13. Fang Fang, “After Authorities Meet Villagers Is Wukan Problem Resolved?” Voice of America, November 22, 2011,^
14. Xie Yue, “The Astronomical Cost of Stability Maintenance is Eroding Local Government Finances.” Lianhe Zaobao, October 27, 2010,^
15. Ibid.^
16. Ibid.^
17. “Ministry of Finance Refusal to Renew Local Government Debt Causes Local Governments to Collude in ‘Borrowing New Loans to Repay Old Debts,’” June 2, 2012, Economic Observer Net,^
18. “Is Tax Levying “Battle” Any Use in Resolving Local Financial Crisis?” Finance Digest Net, August 28, 2012,^
19. Xu Kai, et al, “Public Security Bill,” Caijing Magazine, Issue 11, 2011,^
[20]  “Land Sales Account for More Than 76.6 Percent of Local Government Revenue in 2010,” Southern Weekend, January 14, 2011,^
21. “Interview With Vice Minister of Land and Resources: Of Ten Corrupt Officials, Eight Deal in Land,” Sina.Com, July 4, 2005, ^
22. “Hard-to-Ban Polluting Chemical Enterprise Suspected to Cause Cancer in Village in Wucheng City, Shandong Province,”,^
23. Zhang Tao, Bai Mingshan “Star Enterprise Now Sewage Draining Polluter—Tracking the Chemical Pollution Incident in Yuanshi County, Hebei Province,”  China Youth Daily, Page 4, May 3, 2011,^
24. “Research Reveals that China Has More Than 100 Million Mentally Ill, 16 Million Seriously Ill,” Outlook Weekly, May 30, 2010, This article classifies ideological crime as mental illness, and submits that “uncertainty due to confusion and even disintegration in values, psychological instability arising from severe social inequality, and the disparity between individuals’ aspirations and reality can all induce mental illness.”^

This translation first appeared here.