Archive for the Premier Wen Jiabao Category

In guise of exposing corruption, New York Times aims blow at China [Workers World]

Posted in Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Deng Xiaoping, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Pentagon, Premier Wen Jiabao, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Stalin, State Department, US imperialism, USA on November 4, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Fred Goldstein

Nov 2, 2012

= Crisis in China, Part 13 =

The New York Times has committed an act of journalistic aggression against China. On Oct. 25, it splashed across the top of the front page a three-column article, complete with color photos, claiming that relatives of Wen Jiabao have gotten extremely rich because of their relationship to the outgoing Chinese premier.

This blast of exposure comes just days before the opening of the Communist Party Congress, which is to preside over a once-in-a-decade change in the top party leadership.

The Times claims that the article, which supposedly documents the collective amassing of $2.7 billion by Wen’s relatives, has been worked on for a year and that now the story is “ready to go.”

There has been much speculation as to the motives of the Times, particularly whether the article was politically motivated on behalf of one faction or another in the Chinese leadership. Only subsequent information can reveal anything about such speculation.

It is ironic that the Times is trying to undermine Wen, who has been the most prominent of those in China’s top leadership promoting “reform and opening up.” Wen is also the harshest enemy of Bo Xilai, because Bo was trying to slow down the march along the capitalist road, promote the welfare of the workers and the peasants, and revive the socialist spirit and the culture of Mao Zedong. Wen denounced Bo and warned of a possible return to the Cultural Revolution.

The fact that the Times opened up an attack on Wen could also signify that it is trying to ally with forces further to the right than he — those who want to use the campaign against corruption to push further toward introducing capitalist political parties in China.

At this point speculation must be put aside and the world must await further clarification concerning this attack. But one thing stands out about the timing of the article and the prominence given to it, regardless of its accuracy: It is a flagrant act of imperialist intervention in the political process in China at a critical moment.

What also stands out is that it is the height of hypocrisy for the Times — a mouthpiece of U.S. capitalism and imperialism, which is the font of corruption at home and abroad on a monumental scale — to expose corruption in China. Washington, the State Department, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, the giant monopolies and banks — all bribe and corrupt officials at home and abroad in the quest for contracts, policy changes, special laws favoring corporations, arms sales, etc.

This is a case of a thief crying thief. And the last thing the workers and peasants of China need is for the corporate predators behind the New York Times to stand as a watchdog over the virtue of their country.

* Capitalism breeds corruption in China *

It is widely known both inside and outside China that ever since Deng Xiaoping opened up the door to capitalism and imperialist corporate penetration, under the slogan “socialism with Chinese characteristics” or so-called “market socialism,” the acquisitive bourgeois spirit has spread throughout China among sections of officialdom and the Communist Party.

The practice of using party or government positions for personal gain is prevalent, from the local to the highest levels. This has bred cynicism and alienation and gone a long way to erode the socialist spirit that prevailed in China until the death of Mao.

Demonstrations against various forms of corruption or the results of corruption have spread throughout China — especially demonstrations against government officials making land deals with developers at the expense of the peasants.

Under Deng and his successors, capitalist market relations were elevated to become the principal means of stimulating economic development. Socialist social relations were sacrificed to market-driven development of the productive forces in the name of “modernization.” Even the great state-owned enterprises and state economic planning exist within the framework of capitalist market mechanisms.

Legitimatizing capitalism, exploitation and profit-seeking leads inevitably to corruption.

* Want to root out corruption? Return to socialist road *

The road to rooting out corruption in China lies along the path of restoring the early socialist traditions of the Chinese Revolution. This is hardly a prescription the New York Times would advocate.

During the early period of the Chinese Revolution, and especially during the Cultural Revolution, whatever its excesses may have been, the quest for personal wealth was frowned upon, and the collectivist, egalitarian, anti-bureaucratic spirit animated the Maoist sections of the party and had a great following among the masses.

During the Cultural Revolution, the Paris Commune model was revived with the direct leadership of the masses in politics and administration. Government officials were subject to recall. Salaries were limited. Party members and officials were to participate in the life of the masses. The workers were empowered politically, while the peasants had been organized into communes early in the revolution.

With regard to corruption, Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin in 1917 followed the Paris Commune model. No party member, no matter his or her status, could receive a salary higher than that of the highest-paid worker. It was called the law of the maximum. It was later removed by Stalin. Under Lenin limited privileges were granted to experts on a provisional basis, until such time as the workers could develop sufficient expertise on their own. This was also later reversed.

For years moderate and right-wing elements within the CPC have used the argument that “modernization” requires having capitalists and capitalism, with all its “efficiencies” and expertise. But they were held in check by Mao and the forces around him on the left.

This argument is a rationalization for allowing the rise of privileged elements. The workers and peasants can achieve miracles of modernization and socialist construction if they are given the opportunity. That would put China in a much stronger position vis-a-vis capitalist restoration, counterrevolution and imperialism. This subject requires much more extended analysis at a future time.

But for now, suffice it to say that the New York Times is the greatest champion of further capitalist reform and further imperialist penetration in China. The last thing it would want to see is a mass campaign to restore the socialist spirit in China, with the empowerment of the workers and peasants, which is the true way to root out corruption at all levels.

This gratuitous blast against corruption involving Wen Jiabao, even if every word is true, is carried out in the service of undermining China’s socialist heritage and promoting the further development of capitalism.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” More information is available at The author can be reached at

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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“Why Western leaders should refrain from meeting with Dalai Lama”: on Cameron – Dalai Lama schmooze [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, Cameron, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Dalai Lama, Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Tibet, U.K. on May 20, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Liu Chang

BEIJING, May 16 (Xinhua) — For many in China and Britain, it is a dark moment for China-Britain relations when Prime Minister David Cameron chose to meet with the Dalai Lama despite strong Chinese opposition.

The move not only tears open an old wound that has healed to a large degree in the past few years as the two countries have been working hard to shelve political differences and build a constructive partnership in the face of the global financial crisis.

It also reverses the positive momentum in the bilateral relationship carefully fostered by friendly high-level exchanges of leaders of the two countries in the past couple of years.

China has long made it clear that the Dalai Lama, who has for decades been engaged with activities aimed at separating Tibet from China, should never be hosted by leaders of other countries.

Any meeting, private or official, is interpreted by Beijing as a kind of endorsement for the anti-China secessionist and a blatant interference in China’s domestic affairs, which will inevitably lead to strained bilateral relations.

For Western leaders who cozy up to the Dalai Lama, their political calculations are pretty simple.

They do want to build a positive relationship with China, a promising export market and an increasingly credible partner in international affairs. But too often they also fall victim to the incorrect assumption that giving audience to the Dalai Lama could prove their moral clarity and help score easy political points at home.

The calculations are dead wrong because essentially the Dalai Lama is never what he claims to be.

Furthermore, they are wrong also because Western leaders cannot have it both ways when they have to choose between a sound relationship with China and unnecessary provocations like meeting with the Dalai Lama.

For Cameron, he has to bear in mind that China would not sit still while its core interests are trespassed on.

It is impossible for China to buy any excuses of such meetings, which should not happen under any condition, even though the British government claimed that it was a “private” occasion and Cameron is free to meet with anyone he chooses.

Also, there will never be a happy ending when a country works with China to seek economic and trade benefits on the one hand while on the other hand crossing over the line from time to time on issues concerning China’s core interests, including the issue of Tibet.

China has always held a sincere attitude in cooperating with Britain as well as other Western nations, especially in this time of eurozone debt crisis and global economic slowdown.

Meanwhile, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders have expressed on many occasions their confidence in the European economy and pledged to help revive its sluggish recovery.

The British leader needs to know that turning a deaf ear to China’s protests would only backfire in the end, overshadowing the development of bilateral ties and cooperation, which is even more important to Cameron’s political future.

The damage on China-Britain ties has been made. And the key to restoring the bilateral relations to normality is now in the hands of Cameron and his government. It is highly advisable that proper actions be taken as soon as possible so that negative ramifications can be eliminated once and for all.

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2012 highlights acute ideological struggle in China’s Communist leadership [Voice of Russia / Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in China, Corruption, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Income gap, Premier Wen Jiabao on March 30, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手


China needs political transformation…China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said in a statement that the world press has described as sensational.

Wen Jiabao made his statement during a press conference following the Chinese Parliament session on March 14th…

..[he] said in his address that the growing market economy gave rise to some fresh problems, such as the unfair distribution of benefits, corruption and moral degradation.

The mass media interest in Wen Jiabao’s address was also stirred by the fact that he is due to step down as a party and government leader following the Chinese Communist Party congress in autumn 2012…

…Some news media in the West have linked Wen Jiabao’s statements to the apprehensions for a flare-up of China’s Jasmine Revolution, similar to those in North Africa and the Middle East. But the conclusion, as well as the suggestion that the West has brought pressure to bear on China, are hardly relevant, says the Head of the Centre for Oriental Studies at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, Andrei Volodin, and elaborates.

“China is a big country that has never tried to follow in the West’s footsteps; it lived as it saw fit and cared about its own interests, Andrei Volodin says. China is currently transferring from one paradigm of political development to another. The transfer will prove gradual and will give rise to some minor, but consistent changes. The Chinese will, of course, take account of the experience of the so-called Arab Spring, or Arab Revolutions. But this kind of experience can only serve to critically reconsider the current Chinese experience.”

Meanwhile, some conclusions have already been made from the Chinese Premier’s address. The Secretary of the Party Committee of China’s major city Congqing, Bo Xilai, was sacked on Thursday, March 15th. He is known as a leader of the Communist Party’s conservative [sic] wing. The Chinese Conservatives see excessive liberalization as destructive to the nation. Left-wing ideology is still in demand amid the growing social disproportions. This may certainly affect the handover of power to the fifth-generation leaders, Deputy Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Professor Sergei Luzianin says, and elaborates.

“A large group of new left-wingers has emerged from China’s party elite, and from the ruling class, in general, Sergei Luzianin says, a group that feels that the current degree of bourgeois liberalism threatens the nation. The new left-wingers call attention to mass-scale social protests, especially those that have to do with land possession. They claim that the liberal policy is pernicious and has run its course. When commenting on the union of capitalism and socialism, they tend to lay emphasis on socialism.”

Professor Luzianin believes that the resignation of Bo Xilai is the first, but by no means the last one in the ongoing standoff between the ideologists of two different ways of China’s development. The acute political season will be obviously geared by preparations for the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The Congress will give rise to the process of changing political leadership. The Congress agenda will feature a discussion of the way that the fifth generation of leader will decide on as the best one for China to follow.

Edited by Zuo Shou; article’s original title: “China: is change inevitable?”

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The ouster of Bo Xilai: A critical moment in China [Workers World]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Corruption, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Hu Jintao, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Mao Zedong, Premier Wen Jiabao, Reform and opening up, State Department, USA on March 23, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Fred Goldstein

Published Mar 22, 2012

It is now world news that Bo Xilai, a high-ranking member of the 25-member Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, has been removed from his key post as Party Secretary of the important Chongqing branch of the CCP.

This move comes as the CCP is preparing to choose a new leadership this fall. Bo had been widely regarded as a clear candidate for the nine-member standing committee of the Politburo. That is now out. This is the first open breach in the Chinese CCP leadership in two decades.

Bo was known for trying to revive the culture of Mao Zedong through many public programs. He emphasized state intervention in the economy and advocated planning for massive low-income housing projects for migrant workers and others, as well as fighting to reduce inequality in general.

Bo has also been known for a fierce anti-corruption campaign in which the masses were encouraged to point out corrupt officials and gangsters. Several thousand people were arrested, among them business people, and many were sent to jail. The highest police official in Chongqing was executed during the anti-corruption campaign.

Bo was removed after an incident in which the subsequent police chief of Chongqing, Wang Lijun, who worked with Bo in a widely celebrated anti-corruption campaign, fled Chongqing on Feb. 6 to the U.S. Consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu and asked for political asylum.

According to Chinese government and party sources, Wang claimed to have documents incriminating Bo. Wang was taken from the consulate, and is now being held in Beijing.

There has been much speculation about Bo and Wang and what happened. Much has been alleged about Bo’s flamboyant personal style, his ambition, a factional struggle within the leadership for position and so on. Perhaps all these factors played some role in his ouster.

But one thing is clear. The imperialists have all taken a position against Bo, and are overjoyed to see his downfall.

To be sure, there is no evidence that Bo was trying to abandon the reliance on capitalism in China’s development that followed the death of Mao. On the contrary, his outlook is fully within the general framework of using capitalism and foreign investment to grow the economy in Chongqing. But within that framework, he emphasized the so-called “third hand,” the need for the state to play a significant role in the economy, to ensure the well-being of the masses and to reduce inequality as a matter of priority.

* Effect of global capitalist crisis *

It is important to put this struggle in the broader context of the global capitalist crisis and its effect on the Chinese economy and on the political and factional struggle inside China.

The economic crisis in the capitalist world has undermined in a very fundamental way the argument that China should bank its fate and future on capitalist development and the capitalist world market as a foundational strategy.

The collapse in 2007-2009 of the world capitalist financial system and the global market, the ensuing mass unemployment, the wild speculation, the overproduction, the economic dislocation, the flood of bankruptcies, the gyrations of the stock markets and the continuing threats on the horizon must haunt all of China’s leaders and give ammunition to all those who oppose the further unleashing of capitalism in China.

The imperialists and the more pro-capitalist forces in the CCP and the state know this. So they have rushed to fortify their position in the face of the monumental evidence of the failure of capitalism and its dangerous effects in China during 2008 and 2009.

They made their moves just as China’s legislative body was preparing to consider and approve various plans and when the subject of future leadership was under private discussion.

It is significant that the World Bank presented a 448-page document just in time for the 18th National People’s Congress last month, entitled “China 2030.” What makes the public presentation of this document so ominous is that it was co-authored by the Development Research Center of the State Council, the top executive body in China. Liu He, who worked on the document and who meets regularly with U.S. officials, is an adviser to the standing committee of the Politburo who has argued publicly that foreign pressure should be used to push capitalist reforms in China.

To underscore the collaborative nature of the document, the subtitle is “Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society.” The term “Harmonious Society” is the slogan of China’s present leaders, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

The world was treated to a video circulated online in February that showed Du Jianguo, editor of an environmental magazine in China, disrupting a press conference by World Bank President Robert Zoellick as Zoellick was unveiling his document. In front of the world press, Du stood up and denounced the document as “unconstitutional,” saying it would “subvert the basic economic system of socialism.” Before he was pushed off the platform by security, Du called the bankers’ document “poison” aimed at capturing China’s markets for international capitalists. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23)

* World Bank’s attempt to promote counterrevolution *

This document is part of the background to the factional struggle in China. It represents a firmer and more dangerous nexus between imperialism and the so-called “reform” faction, the more aggressive pro-capitalist faction, in China.

The Executive Summary of the document reads:

“First, implement structural reforms to strengthen the foundations for a market based economy by redefining the role of government, reforming and restructuring state enterprises and banks, developing the private sector, promoting competition, and deepening reforms in the land, labor, and financial markets. As an economy approaches the technology frontier and exhausts the potential for acquiring and applying technology from abroad, the role of government and its relationship to markets and the private sector needs to change fundamentally. While providing relatively fewer ‘tangible’ public goods and services directly, the government will need to provide more intangible public goods and services like systems, rules, and policies, which increase production efficiency, promote competition, facilitate specialization, enhance the efficiency of resource allocation, protect the environment, and reduce risks and uncertainties.

“In the enterprise sector, the focus will need to be further reforms of state enterprises (including measures to recalibrate the role of public resources, introduce modern corporate governance practices including separating ownership from management, and implement gradual ownership diversification where necessary), private sector development and fewer barriers to entry and exit, and increased competition in all sectors, including in strategic and pillar industries. In the financial sector, it would require commercializing the banking system, gradually allowing interest rates to be set by market forces, deepening the capital market, and developing the legal and supervisory infrastructure to ensure financial stability and build the credible foundations for the internationalization of China’s financial sector.”

In other words, the World Bank, with the collaboration of the Development Research Center of the State Council, is recommending that state enterprises be reduced to dispensers of state services and advice, withdraw from the production of infrastructure, steel, energy and other “tangible goods,” and leave that to private capitalists. They further recommend that the banking system be integrated with world imperialist finance capital and that state planning be reduced to a nullity.

In short, they advocate the destruction of the very socialist structures that hold Chinese society together and that have enabled it to withstand the most severe capitalist crisis since World War II.

For a representative of the highest state body to help draft such a counterrevolutionary document, publicly associate his name with it and urge its adoption shows the degeneration of key sections of the highest leadership and, within the broader state apparatus, highlights the pernicious influence of unleashed capitalism in China.

This explains the urgent disruption of Zoellick’s press conference and the push-back that is coming from various quarters in China. This is not to say that the viewpoint represented by the World Bank document will be victorious. There are many forces in China, including the workers and peasants, who would strongly resist any attempt to fully implement this program.

Christine LaGarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, also chose the moment of the National People’s Congress to issue a statement in high praise of China’s economy. This was undoubtedly coordinated with the World Bank presentation of “China 2030.”

The severity of the struggle over the future of China also broke out in the open at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.

“A group of Chinese speakers warned in stringent tones on Friday morning [Jan. 27] in Davos that the country’s free-market reform is stalled, and China is sliding backwards towards greater state control of the economy.

“Hu Shuli, editor of Caixin Magazine and widely recognized leader of China’s ‘reform’ faction, launched a breakfast forum by identifying delayed economic reform as one of the two key risks for the Chinese economy going forward, alongside the weakening exports in the wake of the euro-zone crisis.” (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 27) Other Chinese participants agreed.

The world capitalist crisis has brought this struggle on at a crucial time of change in the Chinese leadership. The ouster and public humiliation of Bo, which brought this struggle to light, can best be understood in terms of a struggle over dangerously deepening capitalist reforms. With or without Bo, this serious struggle will continue.

For those who believe that there has been a complete restoration of capitalism in China, this whole matter may seem to be of little importance. But to the workers and peasants of China and to the rest of the world, the question of stopping the further advance of the counterrevolution is of supreme importance.

To be continued.

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Full Text: Report on the Work of the Government / 政府工作报告 [Xinhua]

Posted in China, CPC, Premier Wen Jiabao, Reform and opening up, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, 中文-英文 / Bilingual ~ English-Chinese on March 17, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手



国务院总理 温家宝


Delivered at the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National People’s Congress on March 5, 2012

Wen Jiabao

Premier of the State Council



Fellow Deputies,

On behalf of the State Council, I now present to you my report on the work of the government for your deliberation and approval and for comments and suggestions from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).




I. Review of Work in 2011

Last year, China faced a complex and volatile political and economic environment abroad and arduous and challenging reform and development tasks at home. Working hard with one heart and one mind under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese people of all ethnic groups made significant achievements in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. China’s GDP reached 47.2 trillion yuan, an increase of 9.2% over the previous year; government revenue was 10.37 trillion yuan, an increase of 24.8%; and the country’s grain output reached a record high of 571.21 million tons. A total of 12.21 million new urban jobs were created. The per capita disposable income of urban residents and the per capita net income of rural residents rose in real terms by 8.4% and 11.4%, respectively. We consolidated and built upon our achievements in responding to the global financial crisis, and got the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period off to a good start.

We accomplished the following in our work last year.


1. Strengthening and improving macro-control, preventing fast price rises, and achieving steady and robust economic development


We followed a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, and maintained a balance between ensuring steady and robust economic development, adjusting the economic structure, and managing inflation expectations. We paid greater attention to implementing policies with the proper focus, force, and pace; conducted prudent and flexible macro-control on a moderate scale and in a timely fashion; and constantly made our policies more targeted, flexible, and forward-looking. Amid worsening inflation expectations worldwide, fluctuating and high prices of major commodities on the world market, significantly higher costs of factors of production at home, and a shortage of some agricultural products, we made ensuring general price stability our top priority in macro-control, pursued policies in an integrated way, rationally used monetary policy tools to regulate the supplies of money and credit, vigorously developed production to ensure supply, boosted distribution, and strengthened supervision. As a result, increases in the consumer price index (CPI) and the producer price index (PPI) began falling in August, thus reversing the trend of rapid inflation. In the second half of the year, when the global economy faced greater instability and uncertainty and when new developments and problems occurred in China’s economy, we kept the basic orientation of macro-control unchanged, maintained the basic continuity of our macroeconomic policies, and continued to curb inflation. In addition, we carried out timely and appropriate anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning, strengthened coordination between credit and industrial policies, and increased structural tax reductions. We focused on supporting the real economy, especially small and micro businesses; improving the people’s wellbeing, especially by building low-income housing projects; and ensuring funding for key projects that are under construction or expansion. These well-targeted measures were taken to solve major economic problems. We steadfastly tightened regulation of the real estate market and ensured that control policies were fully carried out and achieved real progress. Consequently, speculative or investment-driven housing demand has been significantly curbed, housing prices in most Chinese cities have fallen month on month, and the results of our control measures are beginning to show. We attached great importance to guarding against and eliminating latent risks which exist in the banking and public finance sectors. We fully audited local government debt in a timely manner, and obtained a clear picture of the total amount, due dates, geographic distribution, and causes of the debts local governments incurred over the years. These debts have played a positive role in promoting economic and social development and produced a large amount of quality assets. However, they also contained risks and hidden dangers, and some localities with poor ability to pay their debts were at risk of default. We sorted out and standardized these debts, imposed a cap on their increase, and actively yet prudently solved problems related to the repayment of such debts and additional funding for ongoing projects. Government debt in China now is at a controllable and secure level. China’s economy as a whole continues to grow as we anticipated in our exercise of macro-controls and has become more resilient. Economic growth is robust, prices are stabilizing, economic returns are good, and the people’s wellbeing is improving…

Full text of report:

China’s top political advisory body starts annual session [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on March 3, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) — The Fifth Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top political advisory body, opened in Beijing Saturday.

More than 2,000 members of the CPPCC National Committee will discuss issues of major concern to the nation during the annual session scheduled to conclude on March 13.

At the opening meeting started at 3 p.m. in the Great Hall of the People, CPPCC National Committee Chairman Jia Qinglin delivered a report on the work of the CPPCC National Committee’s Standing Committee over the past year.

“The CPPCC made important contributions to implementing the Twelfth Five-Year Plan and winning new victories in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects” during the period, said Jia in his report.

Jia noted that the CPPCC held a grand celebration for the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and organized activities under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee to commemorate the centenary of the Revolution of 1911.

He said the CPPCC also contributed to giving impetus to the country’s economic development and cultural reform, promoting social harmony and stability, strengthening relations with compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and with overseas Chinese, and expanding China’s foreign contacts.

Top Communist Party of China (CPC) and state leaders Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang, and Zhou Yongkang attended the opening meeting.

Founded in 1949, the CPPCC consists of elite figures of the Chinese society who are willing to serve the think tank for the government and for the legislative and judicial organs.

As an open forum where the ruling CPC, non-Communist parties and people without party affiliation discuss state affairs freely and on an equal footing, the CPPCC has been the manifestation of China’s socialist democracy.

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Obama forces discussion at Bali summit on South China Sea [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in Australia, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Corporate Media Critique, Encirclement of China, Hillary Clinton, Japan, Obama, Philippines, Premier Wen Jiabao, Singapore, South China Sea, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam on November 27, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Peter Symonds
21 November 2011

American President Obama’s relentless push against China last week over a full range of economic and strategic issues culminated on Saturday at the East Asia Summit in Bali where, despite China’s resistance, the US managed to force talks over the South China Sea.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had opposed such a discussion. He told leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Friday that rival territorial claims in the South China Sea should be “resolved through friendly consultations and discussions by countries directly involved.” In a pointed reference to the US, he added: “Outside forces should not, under any pretext, get involved.” China has previously insisted that disputes should be settled bilaterally, not multilaterally.

Beijing is clearly angered by Washington’s intrusion into the regional maritime disputes. The US intervention began last July when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared at an ASEAN meeting that the United States had “a national interest” in ensuring “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. China has not only staked a large claim over the sea, which contains substantial energy reserves, but is reliant on its sea lanes to transport huge imports of energy and raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

“Freedom of navigation” is a cynical US pretext to justify a build-up of naval forces in South East Asia, accompanied by closer ties with ASEAN countries. Prior to the Bali summit, Obama announced that the US military would station troops and make greater use of ports and airbases in northern and western Australia. Over the past two years, the US has strengthened naval ties with Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Saturday’s summit was held behind closed doors, but details leaked to the New York Times by an unnamed American official revealed that the discussion on the South China Sea was tense. Having encouraged ASEAN leaders to assert their claims over the past year, Obama was able to let them take the lead — Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam spoke first, insisting that the issue had to be discussed multilaterally.

Under President Benigno Aquino, the Philippines has adopted a confrontational approach over what it now calls the West Philippine Sea. Despite Washington’s claim that it takes no side in the territorial disputes, Clinton visited the Philippines last week and clearly signalled Washington’s support, announcing that the US would supply another refitted coast guard ship to bolster the Philippine naval forces.

In an article on Friday entitled “Old U.S. Foe Proves Useful in Asia,” the Wall Street Journal commented that “Washington’s warming relationship with Hanoi perhaps illustrates America’s full-court press in the region across a spectrum of fronts.” It noted that in August the US navy had used Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay naval base for warship repairs for the first time since the US defeat in the Vietnam War.

Washington’s “full-court press” stretches from Japan and South Korea, which are both formal US allies hosting large American military bases, through South East Asia, including Burma, which has close ties to China, and the Indian subcontinent. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh publicly backed the US at the Bali summit, calling for “all issues” to be discussed. Singh also told Chinese Premier Wen that the Indian oil company ONGC Videsh would continue its explorations in the South China Sea despite China’s opposition.

According to the New York Times, Obama addressed the East Asian Summit after other leaders had spoken, putting Washington’s firm stamp on the region. After repeating the claim that the US was not taking sides, he declared: “We have a powerful stake in maritime security in general, and in the resolution of the South China Sea specifically — as a resident Pacific power, as a maritime nation, as a trading nation and as a guarantor of security in the Asia Pacific region.”

In response, Wen repeated China’s stance that the summit was not the forum to discuss the issue. He also took aim at the US claim that it was only concerned about “freedom of navigation,” declaring “that China goes to great pains to ensure that the shipping lanes are safe and free.” China, clearly put on the back foot by Washington’s sustained diplomatic offensive, attempted to accommodate to ASEAN leaders.

A comment published by the Xinhua news agency on Friday underlined the anger in Beijing. “If the United States sticks to its Cold War mentality and continues to engage with Asian nations in a self-assertive way, it is doomed to incur repulsion in the region,” commentator Wei Jianhua warned.

The Chinese Global Times, which often adopts a more aggressively nationalist line, called on China to use its economic muscle to pull ASEAN countries into line. Noting the relative economic decline of the US, an editorial posted Saturday counselled: “China should learn to use this to protect its political interests. Any country which chooses to be a pawn in the US chess game will lose the opportunity to benefit from China’s economy.”

A statistic presented by Wen in talks with ASEAN leaders underlined China’s economic importance. China’s trade with ASEAN is expected to surpass $350 billion this year, more than 40 times what it was two decades ago, and eclipsing US trade with ASEAN.

By forcing a discussion on the South China Sea, the Obama administration clearly feels that it had something of a victory over China at the summit by securing the backing of most regional countries. That sentiment was reflected in the American media, with an editorial in the New York Times on Saturday declaring that it was “a good thing” that Obama had “sent a clear message that this country is not ceding anything in the Pacific.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial entitled “Asia Pushes Back Against China” supported Obama’s efforts to forge an anti-China alliance. “The region’s best chance of heading off Chinese adventurism [sic] is a united front,” it declared. “If other countries don’t defend the principles of international law at stake here, China will be encouraged to make greater demands. Beijing still has a long way to go up the learning curve of how a great power should behave.”

The newspaper’s reference to “the principles of international law” underlines the hypocrisy of Washington’s stance. Regardless of the relative legal merits of the competing maritime claims in the South China Sea, the US is appealing to a law — the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) — that it is yet to sign. Obama’s repeated call over the past week for China to “play by the rules” means that Beijing has to abide by the international framework as determined in Washington.

The implications of US diplomatic bullying go well beyond the Bali summit. By intervening directly into what has been regarded for decades as a troublesome, but limited regional dispute, Obama has transformed the South China Sea into another dangerous flashpoint in Asia. As in the Middle East and Central Asia, the US is seeking to use its military might to undermine its rivals and offset its economic decline.

All the steps by the US military to strengthen its forces in South East Asia are aimed at controlling what American naval strategists have long regarded as vital — the Malacca, Sunda and Lombok straits connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans. These waterways are known in naval jargon as “chokepoints,” precisely because they could be exploited to cut off essential supplies to a rival power — previously Japan, now China.

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Obama’s diplomatic intervention in Asia and sharpening tensions with China recall the bitter rivalry between the US and Japan in the 1930s that led step-by-step to a breakdown of relations and ultimately to war in the Pacific.