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Video commentaries: 18th Party Congress Watch

July 3, 2012

What is happening at the highest level of Chinese politics as the Party prepares for the most important leadership transition in a decade? HRIC senior policy advisor Gao Wenqian sheds some light on this usually opaque blackbox.


13. Dancing in Shackles: On Xi Jinping and the 18th Party Congress


December 29, 2012

Gao Wenqian: "It should be said that Xi Jinping has some tough days ahead. The first thing he faces is the mess that Hu Jintao has left him—one could say it is a tough situation both domestically and externally. Additionally, he is faced with a fairly bad political environment. Above him are his two mothers-in-law: Jiang Zeming and Hu Jintao. And inside the CPC ancestral hall there are two shrines—for Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping—which he has to make offerings to. You can say he is stuck. Metaphorically speaking, Xi Jinping has to dance in shackles. In particular, Hu Jintao's "not taking the old path or evil path" declaration at the 18th Party Congress was tantamount to putting Xi in a political straitjacket."

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12. Zhongnanhai Abandons Bo Xilai to Protect the Party

September 28, 2012

After more than six months of deliberation and bargaining, top officials in the Communist Party of China have finally reached a decision on how to deal with the Bo Xilai problem: charge him with abuse of power and taking enormous bribes in connection with the Wang Lijun incident and the Gu Kailai murder case; punish him with “double expulsion” (from both the Party and his official positions); and hand over his case to judicial authorities to deal with. At this time, it appears that the great power-struggle drama on Beijing’s political stage has finally come to an end, clearing the way for the 18th Party Congress to convene. It is safe to say that if there are no significant changes, Bo will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.






11. What is next for Bo Xilai?


September 27, 2012

In this new segment, Gao Wenqian provides his view on the meaning of Wang Lijun’s 15-year sentence and its implication for how the Party will deal with Bo Xilai’s case.

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10. Gu Kailai’s Indictment


July 26, 2012

In the July 26, 2012 Xinhua report of the “intentional homicide” indictment of Gu Kailai—wife of Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Party leader of Chongqing—HRIC Senior Policy Advisor Gao Wenqian observes two new aspects in the authorities’ handling of her case. Gao also offers his view on how the indictment relates to the Party’s disciplinary actions against Bo Xilai himself and to Party politics in the lead up to the 18th Party Congress.






9. Chen Guangcheng’s Escape Highlights the Bankruptcy of Beijing’s Stability Maintenance Model


April 28, 2012

“The authorities have expended vast amounts to construct this big net of stability maintenance, yet it is full of flaws, with holes so large that they were unable to keep a blind man from escaping. This is a major blow to the stability maintenance faction within the system, and is bound to open fierce debate in the higher echelons of the CPC regarding the path and method of China’s development from this point forward.”

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8. Beijing Is Doomed to Lose the War of the Internet

April 25, 2012

“[T]he emergence of Internet presented a new problem for the old revolutionaries. The authorities have spent a great deal of money and manpower all these years to control public opinion online, but got little in return except a severe headache. “






7. Hu Jintao Intends No Fresh Start in Bringing Down Bo Xilai


April 20, 2012

“Ai Weiwei said it well: ’Bo’s ouster was not a judicial victory, nor did it achieve justice. Instead, it is proof that the Party is above the law.’”

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6. Bo Xilai’s Ouster: Implications for the Country


March 20, 2012

“[T]he future for Chinese politics following Bo’s removal from power is not very optimistic. Although Bo’s ouster has created a rift in a party that had abidingly held together in the aftermath of the 1989 June Fourth crackdown, what is worrisome is that it could mean a return to a stagnant state.”

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5. Two Congresses: A New Mark on History’s Pillar of Shame


March 16, 2012

“The annual Two Congresses have become the political version of an extravagant Spring Festival Gala, an occasion that allows the rich and powerful to flaunt their wealth. It was truer this year than ever before, as representatives rode up in their BMWs, decked out in furs, jewels, 240,000-yuan watches, and 10,000-yuan belts. This fact stands in sharp contrast with the increasingly difficult circumstances facing regular people and has led to intense criticism from the public. … But Beijing did this because they had no choice: they needed to create a picture of peace and prosperity in order to conceal the social crises threatening to explode… .”

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4. On the Wang Lijun Incident: Who’s the Biggest Loser?

February 16, 2012

In fact, the biggest loser in the Wang Lijun incident is not Bo Xilai, but the current one-party system in China. This incident has caused the complete bankruptcy of the ‘core socialist values’ which have been carefully-crafted and vigorously-promoted by the authorities. … Think: a high-sounding senior government official from a ‘red Chongqing’ had to seek help from the U.S. Consulate! Who would still believe in these ‘core values?’”

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3. Xi Jinping’s U.S. Visit: Sino-American Relations Need a New Start

February 8, 2012

Low human rights have given China an unbeatable competitive advantage in the world market. While that advantage feeds cheap goods to the American people, it also hurt them, along with the people in China. On the eve of Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S., HRIC Senior Policy Advisor Gao Wenqian urges American leaders to stand firm on human rights and universal values, and explains why that is important to the wellbeing of the people in both countries.

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2. Who is the Current Target of What Deng Xiaoping Said 20 Years Ago?

February 6, 2012

“[W]hat is even more noteworthy than who is using Deng’s words to attack whom is what the attack implies about the political fight behind the scenes. That is, the infighting surrounding the power transition is so fierce and hard to settle that one could only use ‘the dead to crush the living’—use what remains of Deng Xiaoping's cachet to suppress one’s opponents. “

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1. What is Behind Hu Jintao’s Caution Against “Western Cultural Infiltration”?

January 26, 2012

“Currently, China’s reform has reached a dead end, and the authorities are unable to offer up any halfway decent reform proposal prior to the 18th Party Congress slated to take place in October 2012. … In this situation, the Chinese authorities can only take the path of least resistance and make an issue of cultural system reform, which is just cosmetic. “

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