China's New Leader Wants Officials To Cut Back On Extravagance

The Sinocism newsletter is compiled by Bill Bishop, and republished here with permission. Be Informed About China. The Sinocism China Newsletter. Free.

Bo Xilai did not go on trial Monday, frustrating the many foreign reporters went to Guiyang on the basis of thin reporting, as Reuters writes in dead end trail to Bo trial in China’s south:

A report last week in a Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper prompted dozens of reporters to travel to the sleepy city of Guiyang expecting to cover the trial of the man who was once considered a contender for China’s top leadership. The paper has been known to reliably report news Chinese state media won’t touch.

Reuters, the first Western newswire to run with the Ta Kung Pao story, did not mention its claim the previous day that “a third source, who has ties to the leadership, said the trial would in fact begin on Monday in Guiyang.” Those nebulous “ties to the leadership” sources have been the downfall of many a story about Chinese politics…

Is this source who has “ties to the leadership” now on an “unreliable source” list inside Reuters, and did his/her information contribute to previous stories?

The Guiyang court now says it will provide 3 days advance notice of any Bo Xilai trial it may or may not hold–贵阳中院:薄熙来案开审会提前3天公示_网易新闻. Given the high-profile of the Bo case it is highly unlikely the government will not announce a trial date in advance, even if all or part of the proceedings are held in secret, as they were in the Wang Lijun trial.

Bloomberg reports that Bo Xilai’s supporters demonstrated outside the Guiyang courthouse:

“Secretary Bo, corrupt and incompetent officials envy you, the people love you,” said the red banner with gold letters, held by a man and a woman outside the Guiyang Intermediate People’s Court in the southern province of Guizhou. The two folded up the banner and left after about a minute.

The Bloomberg story is a bit ambiguous, but it sounds like there were just two demonstrators. I guess the reporters had to write something after going all the way to Guiyang on a wild goose hotpot chase?

Xi Jinping is urging a fight against extravagance (Xinhua, People’s Daily page one 人民日报-习近平作出批示要求 厉行节约 反对浪费 浪费之风务必狠刹!要加大宣传引导力度,大力弘扬中华民族勤俭节约的优秀传统。各级领导干部都要率先垂范,坚决杜绝公款浪费现象 批示) and has “urged all official organs to keep a frugal lifestyle and resolutely oppose extravagance.”

Today’s People’s Daily has a page one commentary about fighting waste as a political task–人民日报-“反浪费”是一项政治任务 本报评论员. Last Friday’s edition of Sinocism noted the growing propaganda push around fighting waste and “Operation Clean Plate”. If this campaign is implemented, and we should expect it to be for at least a couple of months, expect some unhappy restaurants, liquor makers and luxury goods firms.

Today’s Links:


Caterpillar Considers ‘All Options’ as Probe Continues – Bloomberg – The company is also seeing how it can hold those responsible to account for the “multiyear, coordinated accounting misconduct,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman said yesterday. “We are not done,” Oberhelman said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call with analysts. “We are putting in more effort to finish our investigation.

Ex-chairman of firm linked to Caterpillar fraud dismayed | Reuters – “We were shocked and dismayed to learn, from press reports, about the very significant goodwill impairment that Caterpillar is taking in relation to the acquisition of ERA’s subsidiary Siwei,” Emory Williams Jr said in a statement.

设局卡特彼勒 – 经济观察网  Economic Observer story on the Caterpillar-ERA deal. EO reports that a person who participated in the acquisition negotiations told the paper that a member of the Caterpillar team was bribed by someone from Siwei, in a high end entertainment venue on Zhengzhou. Will post English translation when available, Caterpillar can not be happy about this story// 虽然卡特彼勒官方始终表示”坚信我们的(尽职调查)程序是严谨和稳健的”,但一位参与收购谈判的人士告诉经济观察报记者,收购团队中有人接受了四维机电方面的贿赂。”地点在郑州市的一家高档娱乐场所内。”这位参与收购的人士认为,并购团队中有人事前已经注意到四维机电的财务存在问题。不过,该人士的指述并未得到卡特彼勒方面的证实。

Police pressure sex-tape whistle-blower in corruption scandal | South China Morning Post– A whistle-blower who holds sex tapes of senior officials was interrogated by Chongqing police for about seven hours in Beijing yesterday after he said more incriminating items could be released. It was the latest development in a scandal that has cost 11 Chongqing officials their jobs for allegedly appearing in secretly filmed sex videos. Zhu Ruifeng, a citizen journalist who reports official corruption, addressed a small gathering of media representatives in front of a police station in Xicheng district after being questioned, alleging that Chongqing police were not interested in protecting whistle-blowers, just capturing them. And he defiantly said he would continue to expose official malfeasance.

人民日报-中共中央政治局召开会议 研究部署加强新形势下党员发展和管理工作 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议 Politiburo meeting 1.28, Xi continues to push hard on Party Construction

江泽民引退内情:习近平巧借”江风”平老人干政_多维新闻网 duowei on how Xi maneuvered to get Jiang Zemin to step back// 习近平在胡锦涛全退的支持下,也借势巧妙地消解江泽民的干政。尤其是习近平上任之后在第一次政治局会议上就提出了约束高官行为的”新八项注意”,如果现任官员都在党风上做出改变,那已经退任的政治老人再出面干预”朝政”就”很难说的过去”。此后,习近平携手中纪委书记王岐山,在执政不足百天时间里六次在公开场合谈及”贪腐”,一次比一次强硬,彻底将”第一把火”烧向反腐领域。而在此前,”反腐亡党,不反亡国”的论调一直喧嚣尘上,如何反贪、怎样反贪对于中共领导者来说一直是烫手山芋,不仅江、胡二人,就是邓小平本人也很难对贪腐有如此大的决心去彻底根除。习近平敢于直面贪腐,一则是中共保有执政生命的必然选择,二则是他在迅速剔除老人政治制肘后,加之本身根红苗正的身份,他有充足能量在决策层达成共识后立刻行动,而不必过多的考虑是否会波及各方势力的利益。 基于对现阶段中国政坛的观察,强势的习近平巧借一个”退”字,迅速扫除可能碍其施政的历史羁绊,中共的老人政治痼疾或许可以真正走进历史,”老人干政”也再难以左右中国政治。对于现任领导人而言,这样情势下其个人对中共政坛的影响力势必会被放大许多,这为习近平打造自己的时代与他高调提出的”民族复兴”奠定了良好的政治基础。

强势习近平力压李克强 “习李体制”或成”习体制”_多维新闻网 – 【多维新闻】北京时间1月23日,李克强主持召开国务院食品安全委员会第五次全体会议。李克强在讲话中着重突出了民生与转变政府职能。而在此前一天,习近平在中纪委第二次全体会议上发表了强硬讲话,对2013年的反腐工作做出进一步指示。与习近平讲话和表态引起的海内外媒体和民众的关注和热议相比,李克强的讲话显得微不足道。实际上,这只是习李上台后的一个缩影。外界在他们上台之初曾给予”习李新政”的期许,然而现在来看,习近平的气势和风头以及未来将要扮演角色的重要性,俨然已经完全盖过了李克强,其他常委更不必说。习近平成为了不容质疑的中国最高权力的拥有者。”习李体制”或许将会变成”习体制”。

In Beijing, No Tears Over Clinton’s Departure –– Jin Canrong, an international affairs professor at Renmin University of China, said Mr. Kerry would be less aggressive toward China than Mrs. Clinton has been, according to China Daily. China disliked Mrs. Clinton’s central role in the Obama administration’s turn toward Asia, which has been interpreted by many here as an effort to contain China. Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution said Mrs. Clinton’s role in the administration’s “pivot to Asia” and her tough stance toward China were arguably “her greatest and most memorable contribution” as secretary of state, as my colleague David Rohde reported.

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