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2013年8月28日 (水)

薄煕来被告公判 中国権力闘争の危険な火種だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 28, 2013
Bo trial may become genesis of power struggle in China
薄煕来被告公判 中国権力闘争の危険な火種だ(8月27日付・読売社説)

The administration of Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping has faced a problem, the settlement of which can never be forgotten in consolidating Xi’s power base.

Of course, we are speaking of the case in which Bo Xilai, the former top official of the southwestern megacity of Chongqing and former member of the Communist Party’s Politburo, was charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

In the public hearing of the case held in Shandong Province, Bo thoroughly dismissed all accusations, bringing the five-day trial to an end on Monday, and maintaining his showdown with the Xi administration.

The Xi administration, having made a crackdown on corruption a focus of its first year, appears to be attempting to condemn Bo as the embodiment of corruption.

In China’s one-party system the judiciary is controlled by the Communist Party.

The first public hearing of the Bo trial was set following a key conference this summer of party elders, following Xi’s official inauguration in March.

Apparently in a bid to emphasize the “fairness” of the trial, Beijing took the extraordinary step of allowing the court proceedings to be reported live on China’s Weibo microblogging service.

The trial, in the eyes of the Xi administration, should have been a scrupulously prepared “political show.”

In the public hearing, however, Bo, who had admitted his culpability on some of the charges during investigations by the Communist Party, changed his stance. A factor behind this may be the strong support for Bo that remains among left-wingers within the Communist Party.

The development may be a major miscalculation by Xi, who appeared to have intended to use the trial to unify different views in the party by making clear Bo’s malfeasance in going against the party leadership.

Indignation over disparity

Bo used to be an influential figure among the “princelings,” as high-ranking party officials’ offspring are known. When he was the party secretary in the top post in Chongqing, he achieved fame through such acts as cracking down on the city’s business leaders and branding them “crime syndicate members.” He also used public money to provide the poor with low-priced housing.

His apparent goal was to assume one of the seats on the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee. Bo’s political style is designed to appeal to the masses who are indignant at economic disparities between rich and poor and at how those with power are able to obtain spoils of office and wealth. His ideas however, came to be seen at odds with the government, resulting in a conflict with the then administration of Hu Jintao.

Bo himself is far from being called a person of integrity.

In the wake of an incident in which his close associate ran into the U.S. consulate general in Chengdu in February 2012 in a defection attempt, a case in which Bo’s wife allegedly murdered a British businessman was brought to light. The incidents demonstrated the corruption-prone propensities of the China’s ruling class.

However, people are supporting Bo on China’s Internet. This can be considered representing the reality of China, where discontent over disparities has been smoldering across the country.

Bo is almost certain to be subject to heavy punishment. The Xi administration, however, appears to fear public criticism if the punishment is deemed too lenient or too harsh. This is because the political style taken by Xi is similar to that of Bo.

A mistake in dealing with the situation could lead to a full-scale power struggle in China.

Confusion in China’s political arena could have major consequences and possibly destabilize the global economy. We are concerned the Xi administration, in an attempt at deflecting public dissatisfaction, might seek to strengthen its leadership by ratcheting up its intimidatory diplomatic approach to Japan.

We cannot help but keep a close watch on what consequences will eventually come from this trial.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 27, 2013)
(2013年8月27日02時03分  読売新聞)


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