September 26, 2005


Former rival helps Hu solidify grip on China (Joseph Kahn, SEPTEMBER 25, 2005, The New York Times)

Three years after becoming China's top leader, Hu Jintao has solidified his grip on power and intimidated critics inside and outside the Communist Party with the help of the man once seen as his most potent rival.

Hu, China's president and Communist Party chief, and Zeng Qinghong, vice president and the man in charge of the party's organizational affairs, have tackled the most delicate domestic and foreign policy issues as a team, governing as hard-liners with a deft political touch, former Chinese officials and scholars with leadership connections said.

Their bond is a surprise because Zeng was the longtime right-hand man of the previous No. 1 leader, Jiang Zemin. A skillful back-room political operator considered to have strong military ties, Zeng was long viewed as the only person capable of challenging Hu for power.

Instead, Zeng and Hu joined forces last year to push Jiang to retire and to give up his position as leader of China's military, party insiders said. That cleared the way for Hu to become military chief and weakened the formidable political network Jiang had constructed in his 13 years at the helm.

Their alliance has shored up the Communist Party as it faces enormous stresses, including simmering social unrest and an uphill struggle to curtail corruption. They have quieted talk of serious factional splits and paved the way for Hu to impose his orthodox, repressive stamp on Chinese politics.

Realists and econocons always think the next communist is going to be the reformist one....

China's leaders launch smokeless war against internet and media dissent (Benjamin Joffe-Walt, September 26, 2005, Guardian

China announced a fresh crackdown yesterday on the internet amid further revelations of a plan by Hu Jintao, the president, to suppress dissent.

"The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest," said a statement from Xinhua, the official news agency. The announcement called for blogs and personal web pages to "be directed towards serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests".

The statement was just one of a series of initiatives by the government to root out politically sensitive news from domestic and foreign media. [...]

Providing further evidence of an organised national crackdown, the New York Times reported yesterday that Mr Hu called for a "smokeless war" against "liberal elements" in China during a secret leadership meeting in May

Where there's smokeless there's fear.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2005 8:53 AM

When are you going to realize that China and the former USSR were "communist" only by name? That our government engages in some policies that equally if not more "communist" than the two previous regimes? Its hard for some people to rid themselves of a certain type of name calling that exists only for the convenience of certain interests, which I guess you haven't realized are not your own.

Posted by: Maoist at September 26, 2005 9:16 AM

China's lesson from the fall of the Soviet Union was basically throw the people some money and it will work like a pressure valve -- at least for a while.

The Soviets never really tried any type of economic reform until it was too late, which is why Reagan's military build-up and the effort the Soviets had to put in to try and keep up basically bankrupted the country. China adopted a repressive state-owned system of industry, in which they could give their people a little money while getting their own coffers filled to keep their own bogus jobs by preventing the overall demand for political and economic freedom from getting too strong a foothold.

All that works, as long as China remains the low-cost provider for cheap goods that Western businesses want (barring trade export restrictions put on China by the U.S.). However, there are still a lot of basket-case economies out there that in the future could undercut China's position as low-cost provider, which would put pressure on wages there. If they have to start cutting pay to maintain their economic position, workers and those seeking a freer society could end up joining forces again the way it appeared they were about to do 15 years ago.

Posted by: John at September 26, 2005 9:30 AM


Communist is as communists do.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 9:33 AM

Well, I don't really consider myself a Maoist, but thanks for the cute gesture.
China should have been more of an enemy to the Bush administration than any other country in the world. They have probably done more damage to the American economy than any other country in the world. Meanwhile, Democrats and Republican sit around, scratch their heads, and say, "I wonder how long we are going to be able to make boat loads of money off of this screwed up country."
So i guess blowing up Iraq will have to do now until we finally stick it to the Chinese.

Posted by: Maoist at September 26, 2005 9:41 AM


Providing us with virtual slave labor so that things like clothes cost us almost nothing is the act of a vassal state. However, it needs to reform its politics along Western lines or it will fall apart and we'll move on to the next source of cheap labor. In the meantime, we should get rid of its nukes.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 9:47 AM

It so humerous how you can reconcile your Christian self with policies that are so hideously immoral than most conservatives don't even like to talk about them. Slave labor is cool, isn't it?

Posted by: Maoist at September 26, 2005 9:55 AM

It's awfully good for the folks who provide it.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 10:00 AM

Worked wonders for Africa and its people.

Posted by: at September 26, 2005 10:16 AM

It did--the wealthiest population of blacks on Earth is mainly descendants of American slaves--and it will--as African nations are likely to take over much of the manufacturing from China in the coming decades.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 10:36 AM

Maoist - Are you Chinese? you write like it ... America doesn't have enemies, except such as make themselves our enemies by evildoing. No one can become our enemy by their economic success, or trading with us.

Posted by: pj at September 26, 2005 10:37 AM

Hey, didn't we use to trade with Iraq?
Yeah, the weren't the Nazi's our trading partners? Along with Germany before WWI? Howabout the South before the Civil War the trading partner of the North? Wait, weren't the Brits our trading partners?
Think about it before you speak: There are obvious winners (like the Bush family and everyone who shops at Walmart) to the kind of trading that's done with various despicable nations (like the Nazis) in history.
And there are obvious losers, like the millions of people who've lost good jobs in America, small towns with small businesses; everyone as far as I am concerned.
And while we make them richer we only set them up as a stronger opponent for the day when we actually go to war.

Posted by: at September 26, 2005 10:46 AM

Then why do we have such an easy time winning those wars?

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 10:50 AM

"for the day when we actually go to war."

Somehow, I don't think me and you are going to be on the same side.

Posted by: AllenS [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 26, 2005 10:51 AM

for the day when we actually go to war

Ask the average Chinese. Many are actually excited about the idea. A charming naivete, but no less suicidal than the Islamic version.

Posted by: Gideon at September 26, 2005 11:46 AM

Maoist, you don't understand that right now China is our manufacturing sector. They make things we want and we pay next to nothing for them. Not only that, but the products are remarkably well made, far better than our own factories could ever produce at any price.

Our economy is not has not been damaged by China nor any other country. Only our home grown moonbats can damage our economy and we're trying our best to neutralize them.

It's very unlikely that China will go to war with us since wealth today comes from trade, not capture of slaves and gold from other nations. Freedom and free trade is in everyone's best interests -- even yours.

Posted by: erp at September 26, 2005 12:18 PM


I do understand that China is our manufacturing sector.
Freedom and Free Trade is not in everyones best interest. There is no such thing as Free Trade; its a myth, just like the myth that we live in a free society, have free elections, fight for freedom.
The funny thing about the word "freedom" is that it is free to be defined in even the most oppressively brutal ways, like being free to work in any one of several sweat shops owned by transnational corporations, free to pay money for necessities that should be available to all, free to work for someone else's luxury for your entire life.
Homegrown Moonbats damaging the economy? Yeah, the collective force of whiners around the US has reached a decibel level so as to throw a wrench into the machines that keep our business running? Or maybe we have a lot of sell-out in the political and corporate world. You tell me which sounds more realistic.
It is unlikely now that we will go to war with China. But things over there have changed much over the past decade, and still are changing. So are you ignoring or denying my previous post on trading partners that the US would later go to war with?

Posted by: at September 26, 2005 1:12 PM

This article is particularly pertinent to these posts.....

"Meet the "China Price" or else." Remember that phrase -- "meet the China Price," because you'll be reading much more about what it means to this country, its working families and its communities.

U.S. chartered corporations are telling their suppliers that if they do not meet the "China Price", they can either lose business, cut their employees' wages and benefits further, or close down and open up their production facilities in China.

Posted by: IvanTheTerrible at September 26, 2005 1:23 PM

Every war vever fought has been fought between trading partners.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 1:25 PM


China's doomed precisely because it won't be able to meet the China price for long--there's always another cheap labor market coming along behind you.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 1:27 PM

US "chartered corporations," huh? I thought we made clear we don't care what foreigners think.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 26, 2005 1:34 PM

Just for the records, I never respond to unsigned messages. You want dialogue, identify yourself.

Posted by: erp at September 26, 2005 2:43 PM

I'm surprised at the number of intelligent people on this list who make the mistake that China is "communist." It ceased to be communist long ago.

China is fascist, and fascism, once tied to the "Nazi" model, would never seem popular enough to make a come back.

Think again. Tied to a Chinese model, it will become popular, particularly among America's ruling elites.

You don't think it can happen here? Read the KELO decision again.

Posted by: Bruno at September 27, 2005 12:55 AM

Freedom and Free Trade is not in everyones best interest.

Free trade certainly begats a few who lose, along with the many who win, but how is "freedom" not in everyone's best interest ?

Besides dictators and Nobles, of course.

There is no such thing as Free Trade; its a myth, just like the myth that we live in a free society, have free elections, fight for freedom.

Bitter and completely wrong.

NAFTA involves totally free trade, meaning no quotas or tariffs.
Americans are free to go anywhere within their borders, do anything legal that they please, when they please...
Where's the lack of freedom ?
Americans "fight for freedom" because we always set up democracies to replace the governments of those nations that we've smashed.
See Afghanistan, Germany, Iraq, and Japan - all much more free after getting stomped by the good ol' U.S. of A.

The funny thing about the word "freedom" is that it is free to be defined in even the most oppressively brutal ways, like being free to work in any one of several sweat shops owned by transnational corporations, free to pay money for necessities that should be available to all, free to work for someone else's luxury for your entire life.

Or they could starve.

You act as though the alternative to working in a third-world sweatshop was living an American middle class lifestyle.

It's not. They can work, or die.
Unsurprisingly, most choose to work.

Further, 19th century America wasn't much different than 21st century China. Both examples have large rural populations, mostly agricultural, and teeming urban areas, with a lot of child labor and long hours for adults, six days a week.

It's just a phase of development... But, if you've figured out a way to skip it, get your best suit pressed and head to Stockholm to accept your award.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 27, 2005 12:56 AM

Kelo is specifically allowed for in the Constitution, making it an odd sort of fascism. Then again, fascism has been drained of any meaning by now.

Posted by: oj at September 27, 2005 7:15 AM

Even wierder is that Kelo simply announces what anyone who was involved in this area has thought the law is for the last 30 or 40 years.

Urban renewal is the process of having government condemn "blighted areas" and sell them to private developers. So, in fact, if we accept the dubious proposition that Kelo is evidence of a fascist tendency, we see that the big government programs of the misnamed War on Poverty were fascist and that Americans are now taking back their freedom, and are doing so by acting politically rather than judicially, which is, itself, another blow for freedom.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 27, 2005 8:24 AM

So, freedom isn't free? Does that mean that "Cogito, ergo sum" is meaningless? Does it mean that Camus was right when he said that the only true (valid) philosophical question was the matter of suicide?

Bitter and completely wrong is correct, as Michael put it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 27, 2005 2:20 PM

Obviously cogito ergo sum is meaningless. Where does he derive the "I" in the first place?

But we don't have freedom--we have liberty.

Posted by: oj at September 27, 2005 2:25 PM