Author Topic: China: Xi's limits laid bare as labour camps stay open  (Read 323 times)

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Offline flowers

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China: Xi's limits laid bare as labour camps stay open
« on: November 07, 2013, 02:19:47 PM »

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping has been blocked in efforts to dismantle the country's labour camp system in a clear sign that he has yet to cement his grip on the ruling Communist Party a year after gaining power, leadership sources said.

Xi, whose father was sacked as vice-premier and then imprisoned for seven years during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, is deeply opposed to the use of labour camps for arbitrary detention and his failure to close them suggests he is not as strong as he appears, the sources said.

"Xi Jinping loathes re-education through labour," a source who has known Xi since the 1990s told Reuters. Xi had approved a proposal by domestic security chief Meng Jianzhu to eradicate the system but was thwarted by conservative sections of the party, two other sources said.

There are several other instances of Xi being unable to push through his decisions. Despite holding the three top posts in the country — president, party chief and head of the military — he is not as strong as he seems, said at least half a dozen sources in the party and government.

His two immediate predecessors as president, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, wield considerable clout through allies and proteges they promoted, as do powerful factions within the Communist Party. Xi must keep the two former presidents on his side, but this means an erosion of his power.

Xi's choice of General Zhang Youxia as one of two vice-chairmen of the Central Military Commission was vetoed by Jiang and Hu, who got two of their loyalists into the jobs, two sources said. Zhang was named a member of the commission and is currently director of the People's Liberation Army's General Armament Department.

Xi also failed to promote another political ally, He Yiting, to become the party's top researcher, the sources said. He settled for executive vice president of the Central Party School, which grooms up-and-coming cadres. Wang Huning, who has served both Jiang and Hu, held on to the researcher job.

"Jiang and Hu have veto power and some say in major political and economic decisions," said a retired policy official.

But despite being obstructed on major political and social change, Xi has implemented considerable economic reform in recent months — on interest rate policy, the banking system and converting Shanghai into a free trade zone — in the face of opposition from powerful ministries and state banks, two of the sources said.

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