News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinewar-on-terrorchina — Viewing Item

Chinese leader solidifies power { June 28 2003 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Chinese Leader Solidifies Power
Defying Predictions, President Hu Raises Hopes for Change

By John Pomfret
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, June 28, 2003; Page A18

BEIJING -- China's new president, Hu Jintao, has moved rapidly to solidify his hold on power and, seven months after becoming Communist Party chief, has defied predictions that he would labor under the shadow of his predecessor, according to political analysts.

Hu has profited from crises -- China's battle against SARS and an extremely sensitive corruption investigation in Shanghai, the analysts said. In foreign, domestic and military affairs, he has moved decisively to distinguish himself from the old government, led by Jiang Zemin. And Hu has accomplished these feats by avoiding, so far, the mistake made by two fallen Communist Party chiefs: He is carrying out this political rise without slighting Jiang.

"We used to be worried that Hu would not succeed as a politician," said Shi Yinhong, a professor of political science at People's University. "We are not worried anymore."

Hu's rise has been so smooth that it has led some intellectuals in Beijing to hope that he will push significant political reforms of the communist system.

He has backed experiments in limited political change, the first such experimentation in years. He has established a group to revise the constitution, possibly to protect private property. In May, he became the first Chinese leader to attend a meeting of the Group of Eight industrial countries, shelving his predecessors' contention that it was a "rich man's club" and that China's interests lay solidly within the developing world. And, despite a recent crackdown on the tightly controlled media, Hu has directed propaganda chiefs to prepare the media for greater foreign investment and told them to dismantle the antiquated system of publishing permits, sources close to the government said.

"There are huge expectations of Hu," Shi said, "for political reform, economic reform and foreign policy reform."

However, many of the expectations, Shi and other analysts agreed, appear to be wishful thinking. Nothing in the biography of Hu, who is 60 and was trained as a hydrologist, points to a man ready to dismantle Communist Party rule. Hu is interested not in creating a democracy, but in "improving the efficiency of the state," Shi said.

Nonetheless, the analysts said, Hu's rise has helped broaden the terms of political discourse here. For the first time in years, normally conservative Communist Party publications are writing about the need for significant political openness. Hu is expected to float several plans for limited political restructuring in a speech on Tuesday marking the 82nd anniversary of the Communist Party.

A trial balloon was floated in the weekly magazine Seeking Truth, which published an article on democracy inside the party. The lesson of the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, the article said, is that "the failure to develop the economy and improve people's livelihood is a dead end and the failure to reform the political system is also a dead end." Political change, it said, is the only "practical choice" of the party.

The essay proposed experiments in increasing internal party democracy, including holding competitive elections for some important positions and opening certain decisions to more participation from rank-and-file party members -- not exactly popular democracy, but small steps toward opening China's system.

Du Gangjian, a professor at the National School of Administration whose students have included current government officials, predicted Hu will push ahead with a revision of the constitution, expansion of democracy inside the Communist Party and some loosening of controls on the China's media.

Hu was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party following its 16th Congress in November. He became president in March. Jiang, Hu's predecessor in both positions, stacked the nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo, the party's most powerful body, with at least five allies. Jiang also retained his job as head of the Central Military Commission.

In the party, Hu was surrounded by Jiang's allies. Many observers and Chinese officials predicted that it would take Hu years to win power. Hu was especially vulnerable in the first months of his tenure, said Wu Guoguang, a former government official now at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Wu said Jiang would have been able to remove Hu easily and replace him with an ally.

"But that's not the case anymore," Wu said. "Hu has very quickly consolidated his position and as time passes his power will grow."

Indeed, Hu now heads three of the country's most important "leading groups" within the party, dealing with U.S.-China relations, Taiwan and the economy, party sources said. In May, Hu also chaired a meeting of the Politburo on military reorganization, the first major meeting on the military not attended by Jiang.

2003 The Washington Post Company

Afghan china { January 24 2002 }
America helped restrict freedoms in china
Beijing crushes a student group
Beijing world threat
Bush says the spirit of the lord is strong in china
Bush taiwan
Carlyle group financially invades asia { February 14 2005 }
China and india cooperate on securing oil { January 12 2006 }
China assembles missiles facing taiwan
China boosts military spending
China buildup against us { May 16 2003 }
China cities scramble to manage mass migration { April 28 2006 }
China coul rule clothes market after 2005 { August 12 2004 }
China creating unprecedented pollution { August 25 2007 }
China criticizes US human rights
China detains 3 who criticized government { December 14 2004 }
China exports hurt by tainted products { June 28 2007 }
China has billionaire boom { September 2007 }
China land grab causes popular unrest { October 5 2004 }
China launches manned space mission { October 14 2003 }
China legislates force if taiwan declares independence
China military seeks comfort from high technology { August 1 2004 }
China orders probe on forced slave labor { May 2007 }
China prepared to use nukes if attacked over taiwan { July 14 2005 }
China president meets iran leader
China protests japan bid for security council status
China ramps up warnings to us about honk kong
China sets up riot police units { August 18 2005 }
China sets up squads to combat anti terrorism { August 18 2005 }
China stern warning { August 5 2002 }
China taiwan
China tests balliestic missile submarine
China threatens military force on taiwan { March 8 2005 }
China tightens political freedoms { April 24 2005 }
China to accept foreign private equity buyouts { June 6 2007 }
China to buy Kazakhstan oil { August 22 2005 }
China to privitize collectively owned land { March 8 2007 }
China trade surplus hits 80 billion in 2005
China unable to quench thirst for oil { January 20 2004 }
China unocal deal curbed by chevron { July 20 2005 }
China US rift after bush meets dalai lama { September 2007 }
China warns of military clash with taiwan { July 30 2004 }
China warship { March 26 2002 }
China wtc { September 11 2001 }
Chinese crackdown on tibet protests { February 2008 }
Chinese demand better english for olympics { April 11 2007 }
Chinese leader solidifies power { June 28 2003 }
Chinese police fire into village protest { December 9 2005 }
Chinese premier defends 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre { March 14 2004 }
CIA issues warning on china military effort { February 16 2005 }
Defense minister warned crush taiwan independence army day
Ehtnic clashes eupt in china 150 dead { October 31 2004 }
EU considering dropping arms ban { December 8 2004 }
EU to challenge US on china
General motors invests 3b in china { June 7 2004 }
Hong kong from british rule
Honk kong protests anti subversion law { July 1 2003 }
Honk kong residents spied for mi6
Honk kong stages massive march
Houses of china poor demolished by government { March 9 2006 }
Hu warns us { May 2 2002 }
Income gap widens in china
Iran urges china intervene palestinians
Japan prepares for china attack { November 8 2004 }
Joint china russia war games seen as message { August 17 2005 }
Millions join anti china protest in taiwan
Mugabe envisages world order header by china { December 3 2003 }
Oil and mercantilism for china { April 19 2006 }
Pentagon report concerned over china military rise { July 20 2005 }
Police raid china newspaper that reported sars { January 8 2004 }
Rupert murdoch business success in china { June 26 2007 }
Rural chinese leave home in search of better life { May 17 2006 }
Senior chinese ready for necessary casualties over taiwan
South industrial china town explodes with violence { January 17 2006 }
Starbucks wins china trademark lawsuit { January 2 2006 }
Taiwan china begin historic direct commercial flights
Taiwan president shot wounded before elections
Taiwan protesters riot police clash
Taiwan referendum could lead to war { December 3 2003 }
Taiwan says vote despite bush warning
Taiwan warned by us not to provoke china { December 9 2003 }
Thousands join anti japan protests in east china
Twice missile range { November 20 2002 }
Us penalizes iran missile aid { May 23 2003 }
US plans huge show of force in Pacific { June 30 2004 }

Files Listed: 85


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple