【新唐人2012年12月2日訊】【世事關心】(238) 淫照門與《紐時》報導顯「後18大」權鬥模式:探討中共新領導人掀起反腐聲浪背後的用意。(English Script included below)

The Post-18th Congress Power Struggle Pattern Revealed in the Sex Tape Scandal and Wen Jiabao’s Exposure by NY Times

主持人:從今年的11月下旬開始,中共進入了「後十八大」時代,這個時代的特徵是中共的領導層無意在近期內就基本政治制度做任何改變、也不願開放權力系統讓更多元的社會力量參與。然而,他們卻不得不面對嚴峻的貧富分化、腐敗、政權信任危機等一系列問題,而且得拿出一個應對方法,對社會有所交待。隨著黨代會的落幕,政治改革的話題漸漸歸於沉寂;「反腐敗」的調門兒在中共官方媒體上卻陡然拔高,似乎成了本屆中央領導上任後的頭把火。在中共新領導人掀起的這一輪反腐聲浪背後有怎樣的用心,又體現出了權力系統內怎樣的狀況,這一期《世事關心》讓我們來關注這一話題。

旁白:2012年11月17日上午,履新的中共第十八屆中央政治局舉行了第一次集體學習,習近平在他作為總書記首次主持的政治局活動中,談到的第一個具體難題就是腐敗。他表示「物必先腐,而後蟲生」,隨後用很強烈的語氣警告各位政治局委員「大量事實證明,腐敗問題愈演愈烈,最終必然會亡黨亡國」。在這簡短的幾句話中,習近平一方面間接地否認了中共近期不斷自我標榜的所謂「反腐倡廉」的成就,承認了「腐敗問題愈演愈烈」的客觀現實;另一方面也是表達了危機感——中共如果不想讓亡黨的命運降臨到自己頭上,就必須得反腐敗。同時也是暗示了,在現有體制內反腐敗、而不是變更這個體制本身是他這個總書記當前的著手之處。

旁白:習近平的這一番反腐宣言話音未落,頗具中國特色的互聯網反腐敗戰場就波瀾乍現,向中共新領導人獻上了第一枚「碩果」。11月20日,新浪微博上開始流傳一段不雅視頻的截圖和舉報材料,其男主角疑似重慶市北碚區黨委書記雷政富。事發後雷政富對媒體表示,視頻是造假,並非是他本人。但事隔僅一天,重慶市紀委就表示已經注意到了這段淫亂視頻的內容。又一天后,11月22日,重慶市紀委就確認該視頻並非造假;23日,更進一步確認視頻中的男主角確系雷政富本人;中共重慶市委隨即決定對雷政富免職並立案調查。從微博曝料到雷政富落馬不到三天,而11月20日也正是孫政才接替張德江擔任重慶市委書記的時候,孫政才上任僅三天,就在重慶貫徹了習近平在首次政治局集體學習上的講話精神,用反腐敗的名義拿下了一名薄熙來時代的區黨委書記。

旁白:中國大陸的媒體也對此事件迅速作出了反應,《環球時報》23日發表文章稱,重慶官方的反應緊追微博速度,值得表揚;《中國青年報》下屬的《中國青年網》則將雷政富的落馬稱為十八大後「中國反腐的第一槍」。對於痛恨貪官的中國網民來說,雷政富事件也著實讓大家興奮了一把,在互聯網上直接曝光腐敗官員的性愛視頻在中國還是頭一遭,其轟動程度堪與幾年前的陳冠希豔照門事件相比,從此中國互聯網上又多了一個流行語——「雷冠希」。

旁白:但在「雷政富視頻門」的轟動與宣囂背後,一些不同尋常的跡像仍然引起了人們的注意。11月25日新唐人電視臺專訪了「雷政富視頻門」的第一曝料人,《人民監督網》的主編朱瑞峰,朱瑞峰明確談到,在十八大前夕,他多次收到一位自稱「重慶公安局內部幹警」的電話和電子郵件,而雷政富的不雅視頻,就是來自於這位線人的提供。

(朱瑞峰:他說我就是要,馬上十八了,我想舉報,可能紀委書記都要換了,新的領導班子要成立了,我得想扳倒一個貪官、一個高官」。)

旁白:朱瑞峰透露,不雅視頻是2007年殿江縣一名建築商故意設局,在賓館中偷拍下來,用來要脅雷政富的。但雷政富主動向薄熙來報告此事,他非但沒有受到追究,反而升官,而該名建築商反而被以私刻公章罪判刑一年。朱瑞峰告訴記者,他手上還掌握著至少4名在位的正副廳級高官的淫亂視頻,都是當初從建築商的辦公室裡搜查出來,並由重慶市公安局內的線人交給他的。他會進一步確認事實後,再在網上公佈。

旁白:朱瑞峰還表示,在他調查核實舉報材料的過程中,確實受到了雷政富所動員的各種關係的阻撓。但是如果將朱瑞峰的遭遇與十八大之前的「跨省銷毀報紙」事件相對比,朱瑞峰的工作過程還是相當順利的,在那次事件中,由於雲南的《都市時報》報道了福建省交通廳長佩戴豪華手錶,幾十萬份報紙竟在壓力下被跨省銷毀。而朱瑞峰在明確宣告掌握有其他現任高官淫亂視頻的情況下,目前人身安全還沒有受到威脅。而幾乎在同時,曝光貴州五名兒童在垃圾箱中取暖被悶死的異議作家李元龍卻被強制旅遊。

蕭茗:關於雷政富事件的一些不同尋常的跡像,是否折射出中共權力黑箱中的特殊情況,我們聽一下橫河的看法。

蕭茗:雷政富的不雅視頻曝光後迅速落馬,材料是公安內部流出的、新上任的重慶市委書記快速作出反應;曝料人也沒有像往常一樣立即被禁聲或受到打擊報復,事情又恰好發生在薄熙來管轄過的重慶,你認為這件事僅僅是貫徹習近平反腐敗的號召,還是另有用意在其中?

蕭茗:最近還有未經證實的傳言說,習近平有意明年春天以反腐為名北京搞「整風」,你認為類似于重慶處理雷政富的做法,是否會在許多地方出現?

蕭茗:關於中共新領導人反腐敗的這把火,是否真能燒掉腐敗這個痼疾,我們再來聽一下文昭的看法

蕭茗:在雷政富事件上,你認為中共是否體現出了什麼新的做法和思路,是否真能有效抑制住腐敗呢?

文昭:我認為雷政富事件不是一起單純的反腐敗案件,是有選擇地挑出一些官員的劣跡,不用路線清算的名義,作派別上的清洗。這樣是一石二鳥,一方面打擊與薄熙來有關的勢力,同時也用反腐敗安撫民間輿論,回避了尖銳的政改議題。將本來應該由制度化、常態化的監督體系、法律體系來解決的反腐問題,用來服務於具體的政治派系鬥爭,這反而是中共宮庭政治的一種常態,從這一點上講沒有任何新意。但這次事件中,我們發現當局已經非常有意識、並且嫺熟地利用民間輿論來服務於這個目的。先放料給民間人士,讓網民自己去轉發,再以民意壓力為名去懲辦這個官員。這本身也是給其他潛在的被打擊對象一個警告,如果你不合作,我不僅會搞倒你們,而且會讓你倒得很恥辱、很難看。說這種權爭手段能不能真的抑制腐敗呢?我看習近平決心再大、手段再狠也狠不過朱元璋,朱元璋對貪污60兩白銀的官員的處罰是殺了以後還剝皮實草,剝下皮填上稻草示眾。可是也沒有杜絕腐敗。絕對權力導致腐敗這是社會的一條基本規律。

蕭茗:與雷政富視頻門事件一起震撼登場的,還有在中國轟動一時的「李莊案」突然出現了翻案的轉機。這方面的情況,我們先聽一下雪莉的綜合介紹。

雪莉:謝謝蕭茗。「李莊案」又被稱為「李莊偽證案」,主要當事人李莊是一名刑事案辯護律師。2009年,在薄熙來所發起的重慶打黑運動中,他擔任所謂黑社會犯罪團夥嫌疑人的辯護律師。但是他被當地的檢察院指控,說他唆使犯罪嫌疑人謊稱被警方刑訊逼供;還指控他毀滅證據、偽造證據、妨礙作證。在2010年李莊被判有期徒刑一年六個月。這一案件在中國的法律界和海內外引起強烈爭議。許多人認為,李莊被當成重慶打黑運動的對立面來羅織罪名加以打擊,他的入獄是薄熙來的一手構陷。

雪莉:就在孫政才剛剛接管重慶、雷政富剛剛落馬之後,11月24日《新華網》突然發出一條簡訊,說李莊到最高人民檢察院控告檢察廳來訪接待室遞交了信訪材料,高檢將按照規定程序辦理。此外,bbc更詳細地報道說,最高檢察院有兩名檢查官約見了李莊、他的律師王誓華、以及被定罪為重慶「黑老大」之一的龔剛模的兩名親屬。高檢的工作人員聽取了他們的陳述,並作了筆錄。而國內的《瀟湘晨報》則說重慶的第一中級法院也會在11月底跟李莊就申訴案談話。北京每天奔走於最高檢察院、最高法院和國家信訪局的訪民成千上萬,像李莊這樣得到迅速受理和處理的案子怕是絕無僅有。

雪莉:另外《齊魯晚報》11月23日也發表文章,指當初李莊為之辯護的龔剛模在遞交給高檢的控告書裡說,當初是重慶的專案組逼他背下文字稿,作偽證來陷害李莊。這篇文章也被中央級的喉舌媒體新華網所轉發了。儘管還沒有確定消息,但是在國內的互聯網論壇和博客上,對李莊的翻案普遍感到樂觀。另外李莊曾向媒體透露,打黑運動中被查抄、罰沒的大筆資金去向不明。僅他自己代理申訴的那些涉黑案,90億、900億的資產也不止,就龔剛模一案就幾十個億,而國庫顯示入庫才9.3個億。李莊的翻案跡象,是否會拔起蘿蔔帶起泥,使得打黑運動中的一些內幕也隨之曝光呢?不少評論對此抱有期待。蕭茗。

蕭茗:謝謝雪莉。關於李莊案的新進展所折射出的訊信,我們聽一下文昭的看法。

蕭茗:您之前曾發表過評論,指李莊翻案和雷政富下臺有直接的聯繫,都是與薄熙來案的後續清算有關。那你認為習近平他們真有意否定打黑運動嗎?

文昭:否定打黑是一件遲早要做的事,這是徹底打垮薄熙來的一個必要步驟,因為打黑是薄熙來積累民望、獲得社會聲譽的一個主要渠道。問題在於多大程度上否定它。中共對自己的歷史問題也有過多次翻案,但處理手法各不相同。對待文革是徹底否定,但把責任推到四個幫和林彪等個別人身上;對待大躍進也是完全否定,但絕口不提大饑荒餓死幾千萬人的慘禍。對待反右運動是只承認犯了擴大化錯誤,並給絕大部分右派平了反,但不否定反右本身。也就是說全方位地、無保留否定某一次歷史運動中共還沒有做過。所以我想在處理打黑運動上也會是同樣的心態。因為打黑不僅存在著刑訊逼供、栽贓陷害、貪腐的具體個案,「黑打」能夠廣泛地以運動方式展開,就證明在中國權力要以肆意地踐踏法律。如果平反的冤案太多的話,又會給社會一種聯想,好象中共比起文革也沒什麼進步;曝光的涉及資金太大的話也會加深人們對共產黨的厭惡感。所以我想他們會在這當中找個平衡點。

蕭茗:中共以往每一次「平反冤假錯案」都能換來一些人的感激、和一段時間的穩定,你認為這次還能像以往一樣達到這個作用嗎?

文昭:以往中共平反冤假錯案之所以能成為一種政治資產是因為平反的範圍比較大,也是因為這些運動波及的人分佈很廣,這些動動成為一個時期中國人所面對的主要的迫害。如果要平反打黑中的冤案,要真能深挖、把大部分案件都平反了的話,當然會得到這些涉案人員的感激。但是僅僅平反打黑動動的冤案是不足以平衡這個社會上的呼聲的。因為打黑只是當今中國人權迫害的一小部分,維權群體、信仰群體、異議知識分子、少數民族群眾、還有官員出於個人利益去侵害的民眾,各種群體的冤屈都沒有昭雪,就算把打黑反平反了,也平衡不了社會的呼聲。更何況能在多大程度上否定打黑還有待觀察。

旁白:就在雷政富視頻門和李莊翻案事件吸引了國內民眾注意力的時刻,另一件與中共領導人有關的事在國際上再度激起波瀾。11月23日,《紐約時報》再次發力,把矛頭指向中共總理溫家寶。

旁白:在這篇由《紐約時報》駐上海記者張大衛撰寫的第二篇長篇報道中,把焦點放在追蹤平安保險公司與溫家寶家人的關係上。報道說,在1999年平安保險面臨解體時,平安老總馬明哲給時任國務院副總理的溫家寶寫信求助,結果在後者的斡旋下,平安保險不僅安然度過劫難,而且到香港上市。其後一段時間,溫家寶的家人獲得平安保險的大量股票。

旁白:在10月份《紐約時報》發表第一篇所謂曝光溫家寶家族財富的報道之後,溫的家人就委託律師,在香港的《南華早報》發表了六點聲明,否認所謂「秘密財產」的存在,保留追究《紐約時報》法律責任的權利。值得注意的是聲明的第六點說「我們將繼續澄清《紐約時報》的不實報道」,對於這個「繼續澄清」衍生出許多傳聞,甚至有消息指溫家寶在中共高層公開提出對他的家庭進行調查。《紐約時報》的第二篇報道問世之後,海外的「明鏡新聞網」說溫家寶將採取「大動作」回應,自證清白。

蕭茗:關於《紐約時報》二度曝料溫家寶家族的財產,與中國官場驟然刮起的反腐風之間的關係,我們先聽一下文昭的看法

蕭茗:《紐約時報》發表第二篇針對溫家寶家族的報道,正值習近平誓言要以反腐治黨之時。你認為這僅僅是一種時間上的巧合,還是有一種內在的關聯?

文昭:我認為研究中國的政治,首先要排除「巧合」的想法,特別是關鍵人物的大消息,為什麼這個時候出、而不是那個時候出,都不會有巧合。也就是說都不會有無目的的行為。但是如果你要確鑿地證明是某種目的的話,通常很難。因為黑箱之外的人總是難以獲得足夠的消息來支持某個判斷。關於《紐約時報》對溫家寶的兩篇報導也是這。當然《紐約時報》否認了自己捲入中共的政治鬥爭。但從客觀效果上來講,作為一家有影響力的新聞機構,它的報道出現的時機都在敏感時刻產生了相當的政治影響。第一篇報道出現在10月底,在中共十八大前人事安排的最後角力階段給溫家寶很的打擊,而溫家寶作為總理是對下屆人事安排有相當發言權的人。而第二篇報道則是出現在十八大剛剛結束之後,習近平要新官上任燒第一把火的時候,給我的印象這好象是在將習近平一軍,你不是要反腐敗嗎,不是要從嚴治黨嗎,如果你不是借反腐搞派系清算的話,那溫家寶家族這事你反不反呢,你要不要管呢?這是我個人的主觀感受。

蕭茗:最後來聽一下橫河的看法。
蕭茗:由於《紐約時報》的聲譽,它的這兩篇關於溫家寶的報道顯然已經造成了很大影響,你認為溫家寶能有什麼「大動作」來自證清白呢?他嘗試自我辯白又會給中共政界帶來怎樣的影響?

蕭茗(結語):中共的十八大落幕,解開了權力換屆人事安排這個謎團,但隨即又製造了新的謎團,中共的權力角鬥場上的刀光劍影,從一個黑箱又轉到另一個黑箱中,變換的是具體的場景、情節和領導人的姓名,至於宮庭政治戲這種戲劇類型則幾十年從沒有變過。恐怕只要共產黨存在一天,神秘詭異、加危險驚悚就將是中國官場文化的基調。一些西方媒體在分析中國問題時用「中南海占星術」來比喻,以自嘲對這套黑箱系統要作出準確分析是如何的困難,大概只有西方的占星術、中國的《周易》才能夠勝任。然而客觀現實是,黑箱裡的鬥爭算計的結果卻與每個中國人的命運息息相關;缺少規則的環境裡,任何手段和渠道也可以被政治化。對那些忌諱、甚至回避政治話題的中國人來講,卻恰恰生活在一個無處不政治的環境中。這恐怕真是現實的一大反諷。謝謝收看這期的《世事關心》,下期再見。

=====================

Title: The Post-18th Congress Power Struggle Pattern Revealed in the Sex Tape Scandal and Wen Jiabao’s Exposure by NY Times

Simone Gao: Starting in late November 2012, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has entered into the “post-18th National Congress era”. This era is characterized by the CCP’s leadership having no intention of making any fundamental changes to their political system in the near future and being unwilling to open the power system to allow more social forces to participate. However, they are now faced with a series of problems, including the polarization between the rich and the poor, corruption and the crisis of confidence in the regime. They also have to come up with a way to deal with these issues as well as responding to the public’s concerns. With the conclusion of the CCP’s National Congress, the topic of political reform has gradually fallen silent. The tone of “anti-corruption" in news coverage has suddenly become prominent in the CCP’s official media. It seems to have become the first major action of the current CCP central leadership after taking office. What is the intention behind the new CCP leadership’s new round of anti-corruption wave? What does it demonstrate, regarding the situation within the regime’s system? In this episode of Zooming In, let’s focus on this topic.

Narration: On the morning of November 17, 2012, the new 18th CCP Central Political Bureau held its first group learning session. In the first Politburo event presided over by Xi Jinping as the CCP’s general secretary, the first problem he mentioned was corruption within the Communist Party. He said, “Things must have first been rotten, before breeding worms". Then he used a very strong tone to warn all Politburo members that, “there is considerable evidence to show that the problem of corruption has been intensifying and it will eventually lead to the ruin of the Party.” In these several short sentences, on one hand, Xi Jinping indirectly denied the so-called recent “anti-corruption" achievements touted by the CCP, and acknowledged the growing problem of corruption. On the other hand, Xi expressed his sense of crisis – if the CCP doesn’t want to see the Party’s demise, it’s officials must fight corruption. At the same time, he implied that he would fight corruption within the existing system, rather than change the system itself.

Narration: Immediately after Xi Jinping made his anti-corruption declaration, the Internet anti-corruption battlefield “with Chinese characteristics” presented its first “great achievement" to the CCP’s new leaders. On November 20, screenshots and reports about an obscene video started circulating on Sina micro-blog. The “leading actor” in this video was thought to be Lei Zhengfu, the Party secretary of Beibei District in Chongqing. Immediately afterwards, Lei Zhengfu told the media that the video was a fake, and he was not the man in it. However, only one day later, the Chongqing Municipal Commission for Discipline and Inspection said that it had noticed the contents of the video depicting promiscuous behavior. However, on November 22, Chongqing Municipal Commission for Discipline and Inspection confirmed that the video was not fake. On November 23, the commission further confirmed that the man in the video was indeed Lei Zhengfu. The Chongqing municipal government immediately decided to remove Lei from office and started an investigation. From the video first being exposed on the micro-blog to Lei being sacked, only three days had passed. It was also on November 20 that Sun Zhengcai succeeded Zhang Dejiang as the Party secretary of Chongqing municipal government. After being in office for only three days, Sun Zhengcai had implemented in Chongqing the guiding principles of Xi Jinping’s first speech on the Politburo’s group learning session. And, in the name of anti-corruption, Sun Zhangcai took down a district Party secretary from Bo Xilai’s era in Chongqing.

Narration: The mainland Chinese media also quickly reacted to this incident. The Global Times published an article on November 23, praising the speedy response of the Chongqing government. The China Youth Daily’s China Youth Network called Lei’s downfall “China’s anti-corruption first gunshot” after the CCP’s 18th National Congress. The Lei Zhengfu incident has also greatly excited Chinese netizens, who’ve expressed their resentment for corrupt officials. This is the first time in China that a sex video of a corrupt official was directly exposed on the Internet. The sensation is almost comparable to actor Edison Chen’s sex photo scandal a few years ago. Now there’s a new Internet buzzword in China – “Lei Guanxi".

Narration: However, behind the sensation and uproar surrounding the “Lei Zhengfu sex video gate", some unusual signs attracted people’s attention. On November 25, NTDTV interviewed first whistleblower Zhu Ruifeng, who is the editor-in-chief of www.jdwsy.com (People’s Supervision Website). Zhu Ruifeng mentioned that prior to the 18th National Congress, he repeatedly received phone calls and e-mails from someone identifying themselves as a “police officer within the Chongqing Public Security Bureau". Lei Zhengfu’s indecent video was provided by this informant.

(Zhu Ruifeng: He told me that the 18th National Congress was going to be held soon, and he would like to report Lei. The secretary of the Discipline Committee might be replaced, and a new municipal leadership team was going to be established. He wanted to topple a corrupt official and a senior one, too.)

Narration: Zhu Ruifeng also revealed that the indecent video was filmed in a setup by a builder in Dian Jiang County in 2007. The video was filmed in secret to be used to threaten Le Zhengfu later. However, Lei Zhengfu reported the incident to Bo Xilai of his own accord. However, instead of being held responsible, Lei was even promoted. The builder was sentenced to one year in prison for the crime of fabricating public office seals. Zhu Ruifeng also told the reporter that his is in possession of the sex videos of at least four deputy departmental level officials. All of the videos were obtained by searching the builder’s office and handed over by the informant within the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau. After confirming the facts, Zhu Ruifeng plans to post them on the Internet in the future.

Narration: Zhu Ruifeng also said that during his investigation and verification of the report, he was obstructed by various forces mobilized by Lei Zhengfu. However, in comparison with the “interprovincial destruction of newspapers” incident which took place before the 18th National Congress, Zhu Ruifeng’s investigation was relatively smooth. In this incident, Yunnan’s City Times reported on the luxury watches worn by Fujian Province’s transportation minister. As a result, under pressure, hundreds of thousands of newspapers were destroyed. Because he possessed sex videos of other incumbent senior officials, Zhu Ruifeng’s personal safety was threatened. Almost at the same time, dissident writer Li Yuanlong, who exposed the case of five homeless children in Guizhou being suffocated when lighting a fire in a trash can, was forced to “take a trip”.

Simone Gao: Let’s hear Heng He’s view on whether the unusual signs in the Lei Zhengfu Incident reflect the special circumstances within the CCP’s power black box or not.

Simone Gao: Once his indecent video was exposed on the Internet Lei Zhengfu was quickly sacked. The video was leaked out from the Chonqging Public Security Bureau. The newly appointed Chongqing Municipal government Party secretary responded quickly. The whistleblower did not have his speeches banned immediately or receive any retaliation, unlike the usual handling of such cases in the past. The incident happened to take place in Chongqing under Bo Xilai’s rule. Do you think that this event is just the implementation of Xi Jinping’s call for anti-corruption, or there are other purposes involved?

Heng He: This is not quite like a call for anti-corruption. If anti-corruption is being carried out as a movement, then they would have some specific arrangements. Also, to consistently implement it from the top to the bottom, step by step, the process takes time. Some framework for reactions at the bottom also need to be set first. For example, who can be touched when fighting corruption, who cannot be touched, etc. This is because if they indeed want to combat corruption, too many people would be implicated. Therefore, they cannot fight corruption based on real corruption cases. From this incident, we can see that their response was swift. It took less time than any process that places a case on file for investigation. From Lei Zhengfu’s sex video being discovered, to it being exposed, and to Lei Zhengfu being investigated and dealt with, the entire process had already been arranged and prepared. On the other hand, before the CCP’s 18th National Congress was held, Bo Xilai had been dealt with. Between the 18th National Congress and next year’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), before the power transfer within the national institutions, the Bo Xilai problem will have been solved. In this process, (the CCP’s top leadership) might create some public opinion and come up with some typical cases to show people that Bo Xilai needs to be taken down. In this way, some of the remnants of Bo’s scandal can be cleansed.
Simone Gao: If this is cleansing some of Bo Xilai’s remnants, it reminds us of some recent unconfirmed rumors. It is said that Xi Jinping intends to launch a “rectification movement" in the spring of 2013 in Beijing, in the name of anti-corruption. Do you think that similar practices used by the Chongqing government in the treatment of Lei Zhengfu will appear in many other places?

Heng He: I’ve always believed that Chongqing is likely to be used by the Chinese Communist Party to accumulate some experiences in their future cleansing, “rectification” or “anti-corruption” movements. The Chinese Communist Party has always been like this, doing things in all areas by drawing upon the experience gained on key points. It happens to have many representative cases under the rule of Bo Xilai. They may accumulate experiences through processing these typical cases, because the “rectification” and anti-corruption movements are very difficult. In the last dozen years, the system had already been set up. This is to say that previously, they (the CCP) not only encouraged corruption, they even made corruption mandatory. This was Jiang Zemin’s ruling method during his reign. After corrupting all officials, Jiang used anti-corruption means to combat his opponents, in order to build up his authority. Now Xi Jinping is faced with a problem: If he indeed fights corruption, he will be unable to move a single step. This is because all of his anti-corruption CCP officials are corrupt themselves. No one is clean, so how can Xi fight corruption? If Xi uses anti-corruption to establish his authority, then he will have to choose. How can he choose? I think that the experiences gained in Chongqing can be possibly used for his future reference. However, one thing is certain. If he wants to save the Communist Party with anti-corruption, he may work for nothing. This is because as long as he initiates the anti-corruption movement, he immediately will find himself unable to move a single step. It is impossible to fight corruption. Of course, he may select one or two “unlucky corrupt officials” to take down. This is possible. However, when you think about it, in the past dozen years, haven’t they always been doing this? Now, the social grievance in China has become so large that it cannot be resolved by only selecting a few people as scapegoats. However, a full-scale anti-corruption movement will immediately face a problem. That is, the entire Chinese Communist Party cadre system, from the top to the bottom, will entirely collapse.

Simone Gao: Regarding whether the anti-corruption remedy can really cure the chronic illness, let’s hear Wen Zhao’s opinion.

Simone Gao: In the Lei Zhengfu sex sandal, can you identify any new tactics or strategies by the Chinese government? Would such strategies be effective in fighting corruption?

Wen Zhao: From my point of view the Lei Zhengfu sex scandal is no simple anti-corruption case. The government handpicked certain corrupt officials to work on, not in the name of power struggle or factional fight (but in the name of anti-corruption). It is like a stone killing two birds, one bird is the suppressing factions represented by Bo Xilai, and the other to calm the public discontent with anti-corruption gestures, while avoiding getting into the crux of political reform. Excessive powers and corruptions should be reigned in by a healthy political system and rule of law; but not in China. The Chinese utilized anti-corruption in the service of factional fight, which is a typical example of Chinese (royal) court politicking. There’s nothing new in that regard. But, as far as we can see, the Chinese government has grown quite apt in leveraging public opinions (for their inner factional fights): They leak the news to the public, let the netizens spread the news on their own, and then punish the officials in the name of the people. This method is a warning sign to potential opponents: You need to cooperate with us. Otherwise you will be both fired from your posts and smeared up publicly. Can such a strategy be effective in fighting corruption? In my opinion, despite Xi JinPing’s anti-corruption determination, he might not get what he wants. Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang is Xi’s predecessor. Zhu is known for his harsh rule: He would skin those corrupt officials, gut them out, and stuff their human skins with straw. But ruthless as emperor Zhu Yuanzhang was, corruption was still prevalent in his court. So I do not think Xi Jinping’s method would be any better. It is an undeniable rule: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Simone Gao: At the same time the scandal concerning Lei Zhengfu’s video was revealed, an opportunity to reverse the verdict on the sensational “Li Zhuang case” suddenly emerged. Regarding this case, let’s hear Sherry’s comprehensive account.

Sherry: Thank you, Xiao Ming. The Li Zhuang case is also known as the “Li Zhuang Perjury Case”. The litigant Li Zhuang is a criminal defense lawyer. In 2009, amid the “cracking down on the underground criminals” campaign initiated by Bo Xilai in Chongqing, Li Zhuang served as the defense lawyer for one member of a so-called underground gang. However, Li Zhuang was later accused by the local procuratorate of instigating the suspect to falsely claim to have been tortured by the police. Li was also accused of destroying and falsifying evidence, as well as obstructing justice. In 2010, Li Zhuang was sentenced to one year and a half in prison. This case raised a great controversy within the Chinese legal field and abroad. Many people believe that Li Zhuang was seen as the antithesis of Chongqing’s campaign to crack down on organized crimes, and his charges were cooked up to incriminate him. Also, people believe that his imprisonment was single-handedly caused by Bo Xilai.

Sherry: After Sun Zhengcai took office in Chongqing, and Lei Zhengfu was sacked, on November 24, the CCP’s mouthpiece Xinhua Net suddenly issued a newsletter, stating that Li Zhuang had submitted a petition and relevant materials to the Prosecutor’s Office reception office, to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and that the Supreme Procuratorate would process the petition in accordance with prescribed procedures. In addition, the BBC reported in more detail that two prosecutors from the Supreme Procuratorate had met with Li Zhuang, his lawyer Wang Shihua, as well as two relatives of the convicted Chongqing “top gang member” Gong Gangmo. The Supreme Procuratorate staff listened to their statements and took notes. The mainland Chinese media Xiaoxiang Morning News has reported that the First Intermediate People’s Court of Chongqing would also be talking to Li Zhuang at the end of November regarding his appeal case. Every day in Beijing, there are tens of thousands of petitioners running between the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Supreme Court and the State Bureau for Letters and Calls. However, Li Zhuang’s case, which was quickly accepted and processed, is the only one of its kind.

Sherry: According to an article published by mainland Chinese media Qilu Evening News on November 23, Gong Gangmo, who was originally Li Zhuang’s client, stated in his indictment submitted to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, that the Chongqing task force had coerced him to memorize some prepared remarks and to give false testimony to frame Li Zhuang. This article has been re-published by the CCP’s central-level mouthpiece Xinhua Net. Although there has been no confirmation, on Chinese Internet forums and blogs netizens are generally optimistic about reversing the verdict of the Li Zhuang case. In addition, Li Zhuang has revealed to the media that large sums of money confiscated during the “crackdown on underground societies” campaign had disappeared. The gang members, for whom Li Zhuang served as defense lawyer, had more than 90 billion yuan in assets. Gong Gangmo’s case involved several dozen billion yuan. However, the national treasury only received 0.93 billion yuan. Will signs of Li Zhuang’s case’s possible reversal expose some inside information of the “crackdown on underground societies” campaign? Many commentators are anticipating this. Xiao Ming.

Simone Gao: Thank you Shelly. Next Wen Zhao will update us on lawyer Li Zhuang’s case and what that case could tell us.

Simone Gao: Per your previous comments, the new twists in lawyer Li Zhuang’s case has a direct connection with the Lei Zhengfu sex scandal – both of them are part of the aftermath of Bo Xilai’s fall. Do you think Xi Jinping and his colleagues have any real plan to turn the tide on Chongqin’s dahei (gang-busting) campaign?

Wen Zhao: Sooner or later, dahei (gang-busting campaigns) in Chongqin will be de-legitimated, which is a necessary step to totally purge Bo Xilai’s influence. Dahei was a main channel for Bo Xilai to buy public approval and popularity. The only thing is to what extent Beijing will disconfirm Dahei. The Chinese have on numerous occasions revised its historical decisions; but such historical revisions came in varying forms and degrees. As far as the Great Cultural Revolution is concerned, it was later confirmed that nothing good ever came out of it, and the blame was placed on the “Gang of Four” and Linbiao –they were the scapegoats. As to the Great Leap Forward, it was later considered a bad thing, too, but the CCP’s official history does not mention the tens of millions who starved to death as a result of the ridiculous “Great Leap Forward” campaign. The third historical example coming to mind is the “Anti-right” campaign. The government later acknowledged that it became excessive in being extended to those who were not “rightist.” Some “rightists” were restored; yet the “anti-rightist” movement as a whole was not de-legitimated. In retrospect, under no circumstance has the CCP ever acknowledged its own mistakes with no strings attached. I think this thinking should also apply to how to treat the Dahei campaign. Lots of horrible things happened during Chongqing’s Dahei (gang-busting campaigns): torture, extortion, graft, etc. Dahei’s very existence and mode of operation is a testament to the CCP’s political powers’ capability to trump the law. To restore too many persons wrongfully sacked by Dahei would give off an impression that the CCP has made little progress in the rule of law — they are little better than the Cultural Revolution era. If the extorted sum turned out to be too great, popular grudge against the CCP would be flamed up once more. I think whoever works on cleaning up after Dahei should find a moderate position of not doing too much or too little.

Simone Gao: Historically, each time when the CCP reversed some its “erroneously made verdicts” it would buy itself gratitude from some and hence a period of societal stability. Do you think reversing the result of Dahei would have the same outcome?

Wen Zhao: The reason that past correctional efforts could become political capital was that those campaigns affected a large group of people and hence the “erroneously made verdicts” would affect a lot of lives. Remember, those campaigns were launched on the scope of the whole nation and thus became oppressive measures applied to every Chinese. In the matter of Dahei and correcting mistakes made during Dahei, if the government could persist and correct the majority of wrong cases, it would of course earn gratitude from those involved. But correcting mistakes pertaining to Dahei only, would not calm all discontents in society, for Dahei only concerned a relatively small group. Human rights abuses are seen everywhere in China, involving rights groups, faith groups, dissident intellectuals, ethnic minorities, and victims of individual officials who abuse their powers. All these groups harbor grudges against the CCP and hope to have their demands met. Even doing a wonderful cleanup of Dahei would not satisfy all these groups.

Narration:Just as Li Zhenfu’s viral video and Li Zhuang’s attempt to overturn verdict attracted mainland public attention, another event related to CCP leaders caused quite a disturbance around the world. On November 23, the New York Times re-tooled its efforts, and directed fire towards CCP Premier Wen Jiabao.

Narration: In the second report by New York Times reporter David Zhang at Shanghai, the focus was on tracing the relationship among Pingan Insurance Company and Wen Jiabo’s family members. According to the report Pingan CEO Ma Mingzhe wrote a letter in 1999 to then vice-premier Wen Jiaobao to ask for help when Pingan Insurace Company faced bankruptcy. Under Wen’s mediation, Pingan not only escaped bankruptcy, but also went public on the Hong Kong market. Later, Wen Jiabao’s family members obtained lots of shares of Pingan Insurance Company.

Narration: In October, the New York Times published the report exposing Wen Jiabao’s family’s wealth. Wen’s family commissioned attorneys to publish 6 statements on Nanhua Morning News at Hong Kong, which denied the existence of any so-called “secret wealth,” and reserved the right to seek legal liability from the New York Times. It is worthwhile to pay attention to the sixth statement “We will continue to clarify the untruthful report by New York Times.” The phrase, “continue to clarify” caused many rumors. Some even mentioned that Wen Jiabao suggested an investigation in his family to the CCP’s inner circle. After the New York Times second report, Mingjing News commented that Wen Jiabao would deploy a “big move” to respond, and to prove his clean record.
Simone: Was there any connection between the second expose of Wen Jiabo’s family’s wealth and the anti-corruption storm which struck Chinese officials? Let’s hear Wen Zhao’s opinion.

Simone Gao: The New York Times second expose on Wen Jiabao was released the moment Xi Jinping called to clean the Party of corruption. Is it a mere coincidence or are the two events related?

Wen Zhao: To study Chinese politics, we need to rule out any thoughts of “accident” or “coincidence,” especially in cases concerning people in high offices. To release the report at this moment versus that is not an accident – no actions are for no set purposes. Yet, to pinpoint the exact motive is always the trick of the matter. The lack of information from the closed-door practices renders all solid confirmations a difficult task. The same principle applies to the two New York Times reports, too. Of course, the Times denies any involvement in China’s inner power struggles. But the effect of the timing of the two reports meant a lot to China’s political situations. The first one was released at the end of October, 2012, a serious blow to Wen Jiabao during the final stages of personnel planning for China’s 18th Party Congress. We need to remember that Wen as premier did have a lot to say on who would ascend to the CCP’s core leadership. The second report was posted at the end of the 18th Party Congress, before Xi was ready to step into power and take over the country’s reigns. It was like a checkmate for Xi, to taunt him by saying that you should start with Wen Jiabao’s case if you are serious about your anti-corruption pledge. This is how I see it.

Simone Gao: To finish, let’s listen to Heng He’s view on this.

Simone Gao: The reputation of the New York Times has apparently been greatly impacted by two of its articles on Wen Jiabao. Do you think that Wen Jiabao may carry out some “big moves" to prove his innocence? What kind of impact would his self-defense action have on the Chinese Communist Party’s political circles?

Heng He: First, what kind of cards he holds in his hands is a very difficult question to answer. If he wants to prove his innocence, he might have some ways to do it. Such as, showing his own bank accounts transactions. However, it would be very difficult for him to prove his family’s innocence. First, in the past two or three decades of reform and opening up, all of the powerful people’s families basically had a lot of advantages. Some of these advantages were illegal, but some were supported by policies. It is difficult to draw a line between the wealth accumulated due to the supportive policies and the illegally obtained wealth. This situation is intentionally caused by the Communist Party. The efforts (of Wen Jiabao to prove his innocence) have no impact on the Communist Party, besides proving one thing. The point is that you should not expect any person, his family, his friends or relatives to be able to maintain their innocence in such a high-level position. They are not even able to control their family members. The point is that it can convince people that within the Chinese Communist Party, you cannot count on the emergence of an upright judge, and you cannot expect the emergence of an innocent official.

Simone Gaog (ending statement): The closing of the CCP 18th Congress resolved the myth about the CCP’s power shuffling. Yet, it caused new myths. In the CCP’s fierce fight for power, with one black box changing to another black box, the only real change has been the scene, details, and the leaders’ names. As for the palace politics drama, throughout the decades it has never changed. You can expect that as long as the CCP exists, myths and danger will be the hallmark of China’s official circles. Some western media used the analogy of “Zhongnanhai astrology” to analyze China, to self-deprecate how difficult it is to accurately analyze the black box’s operating system. Perhaps only western astrology, or the Chinese method of The Book of Changes can undertake such a task. But, the truth is that the outcome of the black box fight will influence every Chinese life and fortune. In the environment of CCP rule, any method or source will be politicized. For those who are afraid of or even avoided political topics, they now live in an environment where there is nowhere and nothing without politics. I am afraid the reality is rather ironic. Thank you for tuning in to World Event of Concern. See you next time.

評論