China Feature: Week in Review --- A Senior Official on Trial, "Stability" in Tibet, and a Porn Star Turned Politician (Lin)
Isabel Yin reviews developments in China for EA:
Confusion over Fate of Senior Official Bo Xilai
The Communist Party appears to be in some internal conflict over the handling of the case of senior official Bo Xilai, charged with "violating discipline".
According to Hong Kong-based Takungpao, Bo's trial was to held on last Friday. It would last three days, with the official's fate determined before the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March.
However, the trial was not opened, and the Rarty's outlet Global Times said reports about it were “denied rumours”. The site said, from a source “close to the country's top judicial body”, that the trial will be held after the Congress and Conference and will last 10 days “due to the complexity" of the allegations.
Bo’s case erupted last spring, after the death of a British citizen, Neil Haywood. His wife was eventually sentenced to a suspended death penalty, and an official investigation in early November confirmed that Bo had been expelled from the party, amid accusations of abuse of power, bribe-taking, and improper relationships with women.
Other observers believe the proceeding against Bo --- former Chongqing Party Secretary, Minister of Commerce, and son of revolutionary hero Bo Yibo --- is tied to his failure in a power struggle.
China's Diplomatic Manoeuvres with Africa and Russia
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, speaking at the 20th Summit for the African Union in Ethiopia, has said:
As Africa's good friend and partner, China will continue to support Africa's integration process and concerted efforts for common development, implement the outcomes of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and advance the new type of Sino-African strategic partnership.
Beijing also promoted ties with Russia on Monday, as top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo and senior Russian parliamentarian Valentina Matvienko pledged to strengthen bilateral ties.
Wu remarked that the current partnership was “stable and mature with a high level of strategic coordination".
The new Chinese leadership attaches great importance to China-Russia relations and has made it a priority of diplomacy, Wu said.
Matvienko praised the two countries' strategic partnership, which she said has been facilitating their development and helping safeguard international and regional peace, stability, and prosperity. Enterprise and local governments on both sides should enhance mutually-beneficial cooperation in high-tech initiatives, infrastructur, energy, and resources.
"Reform and Stability" in Tibet
Losang Jamcan, elected new chairman of Tibet on Tuesday, declared, "Without reform and opening up, there will be no today's Tibet, nor the prosperity and development of tomorrow's Tibet." He declared that the regional government will pursue reform and "opening up" for the cause of "socialism with Chinese characteristics".
The chairman emphasised the impartance of "harmony and stability”, seeing it as “an essential guarantee for Tibet's development and prosperity".
Losang Jamcan then urged maintaining vigilance and a firs stand "against the 14th Dalai Lama clique", safeguarding the unification of the motherland.
The Dalai Lama went into exile in 1959 as China claimed sovereignty over Tibet. Beijing has asserted that the religious leader is an "inciter of violence and bloodshed".
Porn Star Turned Politician "Judge Me on My Future Performance"
Peng Dan, famous for her acting in many Hong Kong soft porn movies, has been given a seat at the ongoing Gansu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Facing on-line criticism, Peng has asked the public to judge her future performance rather than her past career.
Some critics worried about Peng’s lack of knowledge of the province, doubting that she can give voice to the needs. Peng responded that she has had close ties to Gansu since 1999, "I've visited cities across the province like Lanzhou, Wuwei, and Tianshui, and I'm familiar with local culture and customs."
The Gansu Party Committee hsa announced that the allocation of a seat to Peng, who has recently turned to "patriotic" movies, was carried out under proper procedures. Others at the Conference said her contribution was “very serious”.
Public Debate over a New Year's Ticket-Selling Case
The New Year and the Spring Festival brings family reunions, with students taking a holiday and relatives traveling great distances. However, the mass movement also brings tensions.
According to Southern Weekly, a couple in Foshan in Guangdong Province has been detained for ordering on-line rail tickets for migrant workers, making a profit of 10 yuan (about $1.60) for each one. Some people have expressed sympathety, saying that 10 yuan is not a large margin, compared with those of other illegal ticket-traders, and that the couple did a favour to those migrant workers who are not familiar with the on-line ordering system. Others, however, say there is no excuse for any illegal behaviour and the government should protect disadvantaged groups.
The couple were released after 10 days in detention.