Hong Kong: La montagne est haute et l’empereur est loin (Think local, blame national: countering Beijing’s strategy, Hong Kong protesters blame not the deviant but the too-obedient local servant)

 L’ordre public doit à tout prix être maintenu, non seulement à Hong Kong mais aussi partout sur la planète. Xi Jinping
Gouverner par la loi est un pilier fondamental pour la stabilité et la prospérité à long terme de Hongkong, a dit le secrétaire général du Parti communiste, cité par l’agence de presse officielle Chine nouvelle. Le gouvernement central soutient entièrement le chef de l’exécutif et son gouvernement pour gouverner, en particulier pour assurer l’autorité de la loi et l’ordre civil.  Xi Jinping
Vous ne montrez pas tant de nouveautés si vous ne voulez pas faire passer un message fort. Je visite des salons d’armement dans le monde entier et vous ne voyez pas ce genre de choses en libre accès. Cela n’arrive pas. Cela ne se passe pas comme ça normalement. (…) C’est comme si nous avions deux réalités – ou une réalité et un spectre. Le sommet de coopération est le spectre, tandis que le salon de Zhuahi est la réalité concrète et matérielle. William Triplett (ancien premier conseiller du Comité américain des relations internationales du Sénat et expert en sécurité nationale)
He wanted to present himself as someone from the grassroots, not linked to the tycoons… but people have been terribly disappointed. Joseph Cheng (City University of Hong Kong)
He is in daily communication with Beijing. C.Y. is a very obedient cadre. (…) Beijing would … lose face if they were to sack Leung in the near future, [but] it’s a foregone conclusion that C.Y. Leung has to go because he is a very divisive and very unpopular figure. Willy Lam (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
One of his nicknames is « 689 » — a sarcastic reference to the number of votes he obtained from the city’s 1,200-strong election committee, a group of people selected from the largely pro-Beijing elite. And Leung, a former surveyor and real estate consultant, has done little to dispel the prevailing view that he is Beijing’s lackey. A day after being elected as chief executive he paid a visit to the central government liaison office, Beijing’s outpost in the city and he was the first leader to make his inauguration speech in Mandarin — rather than the Cantonese that is spoken by most people in this former British colony. Despite this, Leung was not in fact Beijing’s first choice to become chief executive. The early favorite was Henry Tang, a bumbling former financial secretary best known for his penchant for red wine. But revelations that Tang’s home had an enormous basement which hadn’t been approved for planning permission, dubbed an underground palace, derailed his campaign. However, it was later discovered that Leung’s home in the city’s exclusive Peak neighborhood also had an illegal structure. Leung declared ignorance but it undermined trust in the city’s new leader from the get-go and helped earn him another nickname — « wolf. » The moniker sounds similar in Cantonese to his family name but also suggests a cunning political operator.His approval ratings have plummeted since 2012 and a plush toy wolf made by IKEA sold out across the city earlier this year as Hong Kongers, eager to use it as a tongue-in-cheek symbol of protest, snapped it up. A gigantic, enlarged effigy of Leung’s head, replete with lupine fangs, has also been a distinctive sight on the streets during the protests. For all his colorful nicknames, Harry Harrison, political cartoonist at the South China Morning Post, the city’s main English-language newspaper, says Leung is a difficult character to portray.(…) Those that do usually feature Leung sitting in his office with a picture of malevolent panda — symbolizing China — behind him. The reason, says Harrison, is that Leung is rarely out and about and has little public presence, coming across as aloof.(…) Leung has only appeared in public three times; twice for press conferences and once for a National Day flag-raising ceremony attended by dignitaries. Protest leaders have repeatedly called for him to go and refuse to negotiate with him, preferring a meeting with his number two — Carrie Lam. While Leung says he will not resign, many observers feel his days are numbered, with protesters setting up a makeshift tomb at the protest site. « Beijing would … lose face if they were to sack Leung in the near future, » says Lam at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. But « it’s a foregone conclusion that C.Y. Leung has to go because he is a very divisive and very unpopular figure. CNN
The compiled tweets (…) highlight a unique aspect of this protest compared to others across China. Many protests on the mainland condemn local officials for problems — including land seizures, environmental pollution, corruption, and employment discrimination — that citizens may perceive as stemming from noncompliance with central government policies. In contrast, the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong erupted in late September in response to a central government edict circumscribing universal suffrage in the 2017 local elections for chief executive. Not surprisingly, some Hong Kongers view Leung not as a local official improperly implementing Beijing’s directives, but as the opposite: Beijing’s obedient servant. For example, one tweet reads, « We don’t care if [the] thief executive steps down, he is just Xi Jinping’s puppet. » Several tweets referenced a CNN article that cast Leung as « Beijing’s lackey. » This sentiment is further reflected in the graffiti depicted below, which shows Xi, dressed in Mao-era attire, guiding Leung (as represented by the wolf, the Cantonese word for which sounds similar to Leung’s name) on a leash toward a crowd of yellow umbrella-wielding protesters. Thus while netizens call for Leung to step down, their opposition may ultimately be directed toward Beijing. (…) Of course, this comparison of sentiment toward the two leaders explores merely one aspect of the overall discussion surrounding the Hong Kong protests, much of which may not have been captured on Twitter. Moreover, the discussion on Twitter may have omitted or amplified certain voices; it is possible that a few key individuals may have disproportionately driven conversation targeting either Xi or Leung. In addition, the findings may reflect strategic calculations on the part of protesters who may have sought to avoid direct confrontation with Beijing by purposefully refraining from directly criticizing Xi. Still, when Hong Kong netizens took to Twitter to share their ideas and mobilize support, they revealed the profound disconnect that separates elements of Hong Kong society from their mainland counterparts. These netizens turned « think national, blame local » on its head by blaming « local » for appeasing « national. » For Beijing, that’s worrisome. Douglas Yeung, Astrid Stuth Cevallos

Et si, avec sa  culture propre, Hong Kong  arrivait à contrer Pékin sur son propre terrain ?

A l’heure où, Forum Apec oblige et à coup de décrets de jours de congé (pour réduire la pollution) et de déclarations apaisantes envers ses voisins, la Chine a mis temporairement en veilleuse son incroyable volonté de puissance …

Tout en lançant, au nez et à la barbe du prétendu chef du Monde libre, son propre projet de coopération économique régionale et un nouvel avion furtif

Et rappelant, au nom du « respect du droit » s’il vous plait, son soutien à son pantin de Hong Kong …

Faut-il, avec la revue américaine Foreign policy, voir dans l’insistance des manifestants de Hong Kong à dialoguer directement avec le pouvoir central  …

La subversion de la stratégie chinoise, jusqu’ici particulièrement efficace, de « pensez national et de blamez local »?

Où, loin de menacer les autorités de Pékin, la dénonciation des dirigeants locaux sert à les conforter au contraire.

Sauf que face à une région ayant sa culture propre et notamment sa langue et sa cuisine mais aussi son siècle et demi d’acculturation britannique (où nombre d’adultes « n’y parlent que difficilement le mandarin à tel point que les Chinois du continent doivent parfois leur parler en anglais ») …

Et comme le montre l’analyse par Foreign policy des twits émis à Hong Kong lors des récentes manifestations …

Le dirigeant local n’y est cette fois pas montré du doigt pour son non-respect de la loi nationale …

Mais au contraire pour sa trop grande obéissance !

Tea Leaf Nation
The Mountains Are High and the Emperor Is Far Away
Who do Hong Kong’s netizens blame for the city’s distress?
Douglas Yeung , Astrid Stuth Cevallos
Foreign policy
November 11, 2014

Shan gao, huangdi yuan — « The mountains are high, and the emperor is far away. »

This traditional Chinese saying alludes to local officials’ tendency to disregard the wishes of central authorities in distant Beijing. Indeed, many Chinese believe that social unrest in China occurs when corrupt or incompetent local officials fail to implement well-intentioned central government directives. Eager to deflect citizens’ complaints away from the regime and toward local officials, Chinese leaders have exploited this perception, adopting a strategy that Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution calls « think national, blame local. »

Does this conventional wisdom hold for the recent Hong Kong protest movement? Since Sept. 22, tens of thousands of protesters have flooded the streets, calling for universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election and the resignation of current Hong Kong Chief Executive Chun-ying Leung. According to Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the mini-constitution set in place when sovereignty of the former British colony transferred back to mainland China in 1997, Hong Kong must establish « universal suffrage » by 2017. But on Sept. 4, the central government in Beijing, under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s leadership, issued an edict declaring that candidates must be vetted by a Hong Kong committee stacked with pro-Beijing interests — effectively guaranteeing that pro-democracy candidates would not make the ballot. This move ignited the protests that have now roiled the Asian financial center for over six weeks, though Hong Kong authorities now seem to be making plans to clear out the protesters. A court injunction on Nov. 10 granted police the power to arrest protesters who do not cooperate, and on Nov. 11 Hong Kong’s number two Carrie Lam called on demonstrators to end the sit-in. The pro-Beijing Leung’s staunch support of China’s official position, as well as his alternately heavy-handed and evasive approach to the protesters, has vilified him among many of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters.

Which political leader — the local Leung or more distant Xi — appears to be the foremost target of protesters’ discontent?

Measuring sentiment toward these two leaders in netizens’ Twitter posts can help answer this question. Many Hong Kong protesters have used social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to organize demonstrations and mobilize international support. Facebook and Twitter are blocked on the mainland, but these sites can be accessed freely in Hong Kong. (Although Hong Kongers also use Weibo, the mainland equivalent of Twitter, Weibo is less useful as a means of analyzing popular sentiment in this case because Weibo posts, especially those about sensitive topics like the Hong Kong protests, are subject to censorship.)

From Sept. 10 to Oct. 8, 38,000 tweets were tagged with the hashtags #UmbrellaRevolution or #OccupyCentral, and sent by users who either claimed to be located in Hong Kong or whose posts were geotagged within Hong Kong. Tweets were separated according to mentions of Xi or Leung (or Leung’s nickname, 689, a reference to the number of votes he received from Hong Kong’s 1,200 member election committee). This resulted in just fewer than 1,000 tweets mentioning either leader, with seven times as many tweets about Leung as about Xi. Tweets were processed using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), an automated content analysis software designed to link word usage to psychological states.

Nearly five times as many tweets about Leung conveyed negative sentiment as tweets about Xi. However, tweets about Xi were more negative in tone than those about Leung. As a percentage of total tweets about each leader, more tweets about Xi contained words conveying negative emotion (e.g., « angry, » « foolish, » « harm, » « lose, » « protesting, » « stupid, » « resign, » « thief ») than those about Leung. Moreover, compared to tweets about Leung, tweets about Xi on average contained a greater proportion of negative emotion words. In particular, words conveying anger (a subset of negative emotion words that includes swearing and words like « hate, » « liar, » and « suck ») were more prevalent in tweets about Xi than in tweets about Leung. (Note: A few hundred of these tweets were written in Chinese. When analyzed, the results appeared similar to those for tweets in English. Because LIWC was not designed to process Cantonese grammar and vocabulary, this analysis focuses on the English-language tweets.)
Hong Kong Twitter users discussing the protests may also have felt more distressed when writing about Leung and more disconnected when writing about Xi. Psychological research has found that use of first-person singular pronouns (e.g., « I, » « my ») is related to self-reflection, while use of third-person pronouns (e.g., « he, » « she, » « they ») suggests that those being referred to are somehow separate or different from oneself and one’s group — that is, they are seen as « others. » As shown above, tweets about Leung used higher rates of first-person singular pronouns than tweets about Xi. Along the same lines, tweets about Xi contained proportionally more third-person pronouns than tweets about Leung.

It is intuitive that Hong Kongers would feel more detached when writing about Xi and more personally affected when writing about Leung, who is both geographically and culturally closer to the protesters. Yet while negative opinion towards Xi may be more strongly felt, the disparity in number of posts about each leader suggests that disapproval of Leung is more widespread than disapproval of Xi. The « othering » of Xi in these tweets parallels a tendency among Hong Kongers to identify less as « Chinese » and more with their city.

The compiled tweets also highlight a unique aspect of this protest compared to others across China. Many protests on the mainland condemn local officials for problems — including land seizures, environmental pollution, corruption, and employment discrimination — that citizens may perceive as stemming from noncompliance with central government policies. In contrast, the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong erupted in late September in response to a central government edict circumscribing universal suffrage in the 2017 local elections for chief executive.

Not surprisingly, some Hong Kongers view Leung not as a local official improperly implementing Beijing’s directives, but as the opposite: Beijing’s obedient servant. For example, one tweet reads, « We don’t care if [the] thief executive steps down, he is just Xi Jinping’s puppet. » Several tweets referenced a CNN article that cast Leung as « Beijing’s lackey. » This sentiment is further reflected in the graffiti depicted below, which shows Xi, dressed in Mao-era attire, guiding Leung (as represented by the wolf, the Cantonese word for which sounds similar to Leung’s name) on a leash toward a crowd of yellow umbrella-wielding protesters. Thus while netizens call for Leung to step down, their opposition may ultimately be directed toward Beijing.

Of course, this comparison of sentiment toward the two leaders explores merely one aspect of the overall discussion surrounding the Hong Kong protests, much of which may not have been captured on Twitter. Moreover, the discussion on Twitter may have omitted or amplified certain voices; it is possible that a few key individuals may have disproportionately driven conversation targeting either Xi or Leung. In addition, the findings may reflect strategic calculations on the part of protesters who may have sought to avoid direct confrontation with Beijing by purposefully refraining from directly criticizing Xi.

Still, when Hong Kong netizens took to Twitter to share their ideas and mobilize support, they revealed the profound disconnect that separates elements of Hong Kong society from their mainland counterparts. These netizens turned « think national, blame local » on its head by blaming « local » for appeasing « national. » For Beijing, that’s worrisome.

 Voir aussi:

C.Y. Leung: Hong Kong’s unloved leader
Katie Hunt
CNN
October 3, 2014

Hong Kong (CNN) — Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist?

C.Y. Leung, the Hong Kong leader whose resignation has become a rallying cry for the protesters that have filled the city’s streets this week, was a relative unknown before he took the top job in 2012.

As the son of a policeman who has used the same briefcase since his student days, his supporters said he would improve the lot of ordinary people in a city that has one of the world’s widest wealth gaps.

« He wanted to present himself as someone from the grassroots, not linked to the tycoons… but people have been terribly disappointed, » says Joseph Cheng, a professor of political science at City University of Hong Kong.

Beijing lackey?

One of his nicknames is « 689 » — a sarcastic reference to the number of votes he obtained from the city’s 1,200-strong election committee, a group of people selected from the largely pro-Beijing elite.

And Leung, a former surveyor and real estate consultant, has done little to dispel the prevailing view that he is Beijing’s lackey.

A day after being elected as chief executive he paid a visit to the central government liaison office, Beijing’s outpost in the city and he was the first leader to make his inauguration speech in Mandarin — rather than the Cantonese that is spoken by most people in this former British colony.

« He is in daily communication with Beijing, » says Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. « C.Y. is a very obedient cadre. »

Despite this, Leung was not in fact Beijing’s first choice to become chief executive. The early favorite was Henry Tang, a bumbling former financial secretary best known for his penchant for red wine.

But revelations that Tang’s home had an enormous basement which hadn’t been approved for planning permission, dubbed an underground palace, derailed his campaign.

However, it was later discovered that Leung’s home in the city’s exclusive Peak neighborhood also had an illegal structure.

Leung declared ignorance but it undermined trust in the city’s new leader from the get-go and helped earn him another nickname — « wolf. »

The moniker sounds similar in Cantonese to his family name but also suggests a cunning political operator.

His approval ratings have plummeted since 2012 and a plush toy wolf made by IKEA sold out across the city earlier this year as Hong Kongers, eager to use it as a tongue-in-cheek symbol of protest, snapped it up.

Villain?

For all his colorful nicknames, Harry Harrison, political cartoonist at the South China Morning Post, the city’s main English-language newspaper, says Leung is a difficult character to portray.

« C.Y., despite his pantomime villain appearance, hasn’t really turned out to be all that cartoonable, » he told CNN. « I’ve hardly featured him in any cartoons for months now. »

Those that do usually feature Leung sitting in his office with a picture of malevolent panda — symbolizing China — behind him.

The reason, says Harrison, is that Leung is rarely out and about and has little public presence, coming across as aloof.

His unease with ordinary members of the public has been on display this week.

Leung has only appeared in public three times; twice for press conferences and once for a National Day flag-raising ceremony attended by dignitaries.

Protest leaders have repeatedly called for him to go and refuse to negotiate with him, preferring a meeting with his number two — Carrie Lam.

While Leung says he will not resign, many observers feel his days are numbered, with protesters setting up a makeshift tomb at the protest site.

« Beijing would … lose face if they were to sack Leung in the near future, » says Lam at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

But « it’s a foregone conclusion that C.Y. Leung has to go because he is a very divisive and very unpopular figure. »

Voir également:

Pékin gonfle les muscles en arrière-plan du Sommet de coopération économique
Joshua Philipp

Epoch Times
11.11.2014

10 novembre 2014: le président américain Barack Obama écoute le Premier ministre australien Tony Abbott lors d’une rencontre bilatérale à Pékin. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Enlarge
10 novembre 2014: le président américain Barack Obama écoute le Premier ministre australien Tony Abbott lors d’une rencontre bilatérale à Pékin. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Analyse de l’actualité

Robert Gates, ancien Secrétaire américain à la défense de l’administration Obama,pourrait très certainement analyser pour le Président ce qui est en train de se passer cette semaine à Pékin, tandis que les représentants des armées du monde se sont rassemblés dans la ville méridionale de Zhuhai.

M. Gates avait rencontré les dirigeants militaires en Chine en janvier 2010 pour ce qu’il pensait être un dialogue amical et nécessaire. Près de 6 mois avant son voyage, il avait minimisé la menace de l’avion furtif J-20, en déclarant que la Chine ne le mettrait pas en service avant 2020.

Alors que Robert Gates se trouvait en Chine en 2010, le régime chinois avait procédé au premier vol d’essai du J-20.

La communauté de la défense internationale avait reçu ce geste comme un message à l’agressivité clairement marquée.

Le régime chinois semble vouloir reproduire le même jeu. Alors que l’attention du public et des médias du monde est tournée vers le sommet de Coopération économique de la région Asie Pacifique (CEAP) qui s’est tenu cette année à Pékin, le régime chinois a également organisé son salon aéronautique de Zhuhai qui a attiré tous les dirigeants d’armée et les patrons de la sécurité du monde entier.

Les médias officiels chinois répètent tous la même chanson: ce sommet de Coopération économique représente une étape importante et souligne le plus grand rôle joué par la Chine dans la politique mondiale. De Xinhua au Quotidien du Peuple en passant par le Global Times, le régime chinois est présenté comme un État puissant et pacifique prêt à étendre son influence. Les États-Unis, quant à eux, sont décrits comme un pays trouble-fête essayant d’empêcher la Chine d’atteindre ses objectifs légitimes.

Le régime chinois utilise donc le sommet de la CEAP pour présenter une image de paix mondiale et de prospérité tout en envoyant plus clairement que jamais un message d’agression et de puissance militaire à travers l’édition 2014 du salon aéronautique de Zhuhai.

«Vous ne montrez pas tant de nouveautés si vous ne voulez pas faire passer un message fort,» a commenté lors d’un entretien par téléphone William Triplett, ancien premier conseiller du Comité américain des relations internationales du Sénat et expert en sécurité nationale.

À Zhuhai, le régime chinois semble ne rien vouloir garder pour lui. Il a dévoilé plus d’une douzaine de systèmes d’armes à la pointe de la technologie qui pourraient défier la domination militaire américaine, y compris des armes que les spécialistes de la défense pensaient que la Chine était loin de pouvoir développer.

Parmi ces nouvelles armes se trouvent un missile supersonique anti-navire, des obus d’artillerie guidés par GPS, de nouveaux lasers tactiques, une nouvelle version d’exportation de son avion furtif et ses avions cargo qui pourraient aider le régime à étendre sa portée militaire.

«Je visite des salons d’armement dans le monde entier et vous ne voyez pas ce genre de choses en libre accès», s’est étonné M. Triplett. «Cela n’arrive pas. Cela ne se passe pas comme ça normalement.»

Selon M. Triplett, dans la même perspective que le vol d’essai du J-20 pendant sa visite en Chine en 2010, la présentation de tous ces nouveaux systèmes d’armes pendant que les dirigeants du monde se trouvent au sommet de la CEAP à Pékin envoie un message très clair.

«C’est comme si nous avions deux réalités – ou une réalité et un spectre», a analysé M. Triplett. Le sommet de coopération est le spectre, tandis que le salon de Zhuahi est la réalité concrète et matérielle.»

Comment interpréter Zhuhai

Pour démêler la réalité de la vitrine superficielle, il faudra que les États-Unis souhaitent comprendre le message adressé par le salon de Zhuhai.

Selon Richard Fisher Junior, membre éminent du Centre international de stratégie et d’évaluation, interpréter un événement comme Zhuhai a un certain prix pour le gouvernement américain.

Le Navy Times a révélé il y a quelques jours qu’un éminent dirigeant des renseignements de la Marine américaine avait été démis de ses fonctions pour avoir averti les dirigeants américains d’une menace militaire provenant de Chine. Le Capitaine James Fanell était directeur des opérations de renseignement et d’information de la Flotte américaine dans le Pacifique.

«En résumé, il a été averti que dire la vérité est une erreur», a expliqué M. Fisher, avant d’ajouter que le timing de cette décision a été perçue dans l’armée comme un signe que les pressions exercées par la Chine peuvent atteindre l’armée américaine.

«James Fanell est un analyste très respecté», a poursuivi M. Fisher. «La façon dont il est traité représente les risques auxquels sont exposés tous les Américains portant la responsabilité de dire la vérité au sujet de la Chine. Beaucoup d’entre nous avons souffert professionnellement parce que nous avons dit la vérité au sujet de la Chine.»

Dans l’ensemble, le régime chinois a donc présenté deux visages au cours du sommet de Coopération économique de la région Asie Pacifique qui vient de se dérouler à Pékin – un visage tourné vers le public et l’autre vers la communauté mondiale de la défense.

«Ces événements ne sont pas dus au hasard», a conclu M. Fisher. «Le régime chinois est très habile pour combiner plusieurs messages pour des audiences multiples. Cela est une pratique usitée dans l’histoire de la guerre psychologique.»

Version originale: While World Watches APEC, China Sends a Message

La montagne est haute et l’empereur est loin : introduction au Guangdong
Benoit Geffroy

Cette phrase est la traduction d’une maxime chinoise exprimant ce qu’on pourrait appeler « le paradoxe chinois » – ou au moins « un » paradoxe chinois. Pour dire les choses de manières douces, l’Etat chinois a une longue tradition autoritaire et centralisatrice. Il a toujours cherché à imposer son ordre jusque dans les marches les plus reculées de l’empire. Malgré tout, l’immensité du territoire a permis aux communautés locales de conserver une certaine autonomie. Ce proverbe signifie donc que malgré ses velléités dirigistes, la cour n’a pas toujours le bras assez long pour imposer sa loi sur l’ensemble du territoire. Ne prenez toutefois pas ces mots au pied de la lettre : il ne s’agit pas tant d’échapper à la loi que d’instaurer un équilibre tacite entre les directives nationales et les réalités locales.

Ces considérations sont particulièrement vraies en ce qui concerne le Guangdong. Le Guangdong est la province dans laquelle se trouve Guangzhou, plus connue à l’Ouest sous le nom de Canton. Pour ne pas trop vous dépayser, j’appellerai par la suite la province « cantonais ». De par son statue de Région Administrative Spéciale, Hong Kong n’appartient pas au cantonais. Elle se situe néanmoins sur ses côtes. Le nom de Shenzhen est peut-être familier à certains d’entre vous ; cette ville se situe aussi dans le cantonais. Elle est d’ailleurs collée au territoire hong-kongais.

Bien que d’un point de vue administratif Hong Kong n’appartienne pas au cantonais, elle en est en fait très proche, et ce pour des raisons culturelles. Pour oser une rapprochement hasardeux, on pourrait comparer le cantonais à la Bretagne. Les deux régions possèdent chacune une culture propre, à commencer par la langue et la cuisine. Elles ont enduré une phase de « colonisation » par la « métropole », qui leur a imposé sa langue et son identité nationale. J’arrête ici les frais en même temps que les déclarations discutables, mais l’idée est là.

Au premier rang des particularités de la province se trouve la langue. Je zappe la conférence sur les grandes familles de dialecte chinois, retenez juste que la langue cantonaise est plus éloignée du mandarin, la lingua franca imposée par les communistes, que le français ne l’est de l’espagnol. Parmi les autres différences, on peut noter la cuisine (mais chaque province chinoise a ses spécialités) ou l’architecture (je parle de l’architecture traditionnelle : à Canton comme dans les autres villes chinoises l’immeuble a gagné par K.O.).
La dichotomie qui sépare traditionellement le Nord et le Sud de la Chine joue aussi à plein. Ce sont les clans guerriers du Nord, habitués à un environnement rude, proches des nomades de la steppe mongole, qui ont fait l’unité de la Chine. Les peuples de Chine du Sud, commerçants dans l’âme, à la culture plus raffinée, admettent mal la tutelle du gouvernement central. Ce n’est pas un hasard si toutes les capitales dynastiques de la Chine se sont toujours trouvées dans la moitié nord du pays (à l’exception de celles des Song du Sud, chassés du Nord par les Jurchens puis par les Mongols).

Le cantonais étant la province cotière chinoise la plus méridionale, c’est naturellement là que les navigateurs européens débarquèrent au XVIème siècle. Ils furent accueillis par des commerçants plus qu’enclin au négoce, ce qui ne fit qu’accentuer l’ouverture au monde extérieur de la province. Au XIXème siècle, les Cantonais furent ainsi le fer de lance de l’immigration chinoise aux Etats-Unis. C’est aussi dans cette province qu’est né Sun Yat-Sen, l’homme qui abolit l’empire et proclama la république au début du siècle dernier. Autant de faits qui renforcent la réputation frondeuse de la région.

Retenez donc que le cantonais est une province à part en Chine, et ce par bien des aspects. Certains vont même jusqu’à affirmer qu’en cas de démocratisation de la Chine, un mouvement indépendantiste pourrait apparaître. Sans en arriver jusque là, il est indéniable que le Chinois cantonais n’est pas un Chinois comme les autres. Ces particularités ont été quelque peu nivellées par le régime central de Pékin. Les communistes ayant notamment imposer le mandarin à l’école, tous les Cantonais parlent aujourd’hui la langue commune. Ce qui ne les empêche pas de continuer à communiquer entre eux en cantonais.

C’est beaucoup moins vrai pour Hong Kong, qui n’est soumise aux oukases de Pékin que depuis dix ans : la majorité des adultes n’y parlent que difficilement le mandarin (à tel point que les Chinois du continent doivent parfois leur parler en anglais). Cependant il est difficile de tracer le contour de l’identité cantonaise des Hong Kongais, tant ceux-ci ont le regard tourné vers l’Occident.

Voir enfin:

Think National, Blame Local: Central-Provincial Dynamics in the Hu Era
Cheng Li
Leadership Monitor, No. 17
2007

The alarming statistics on public protests recently released by the Chinese authorities have led some analysts to conclude that the Chinese regime is sitting atop a volcano of mass social unrest. But these statistics can also reaffirm the foresight and wisdom of Hu Jintao, especially his recent policy initiatives that place emphasis on social justice rather than GDP growth. The occurrence of these mass protests could actually consolidate, rather than weaken, Hu’s power in the Chinese political establishment. Although Hu’s populist policy shift seems to be timely and necessary, it may lead to a situation in which the public demand for government accountability undermines the stability of the country. Under this circumstance, Hu’s strategy is to localize the social unrests and blame local leaders. This strategy is particularly evident in the case of Guangdong, which recently experienced some major public protests. An analysis of the formation of the current Chinese provincial leadership, including the backgrounds of 616 senior provincial leaders in the country, reveals both the validity and limitations of this strategy.

The ever-growing number of social protests in China has attracted a great deal of attention from those who study Chinese politics.1 Any comprehensive assessment of the political and socioeconomic conditions in present-day China has usually—and rightly so—cited Chinese official statistics on “mass incidents.” The annual number of these mass incidents in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including protests, riots and group petitioning, rose from 58,000 in 2003 to 74,000 in 2004, and to 87,000 in 2005— almost 240 incidents per day!
These protests were often sparked by local official misdeeds such as uncompensated land seizures, poor response to industrial accidents, arbitrary taxes, and failure to pay wages. The frequency and number of deaths caused by coal mine accidents in the country, for example, were shamefully astonishing. Despite the recent shutdown of a large number of mines by the central government, in 2005 China’s coal-mining industry still suffered 3,341 accidents, which resulted in 5,986 deaths.2 Not surprisingly, these alarming statistics have led some China analysts to conclude that the current Chinese regime is sitting atop a volcano of mass social unrest.3
The issue here is not whether the Chinese government has been beset by mass disturbances and public grievances; it has, of course. The real question is whether thenew administration under the leadership of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao will be able to prevent the country from spinning out of control. Two unusual phenomena have occurred since Hu and Wen assumed the top leadership posts in the spring of 2003. These two developments are extraordinarily important, but have been largely overlooked by overseas China analysts.
The Crisis Mode and the Need for a Policy Shift
The first development relates to the release of these statistics and the resulting crisis mode (weiji yishi). Hu and Wen intend to show both the Chinese public and the political establishment that there exists an urgent need for a major policy shift. It is crucial to note that all of these incidents and statistics made headlines in the Chinese official media during the past two or three years. Issues of governmental accountability, economic equality, and social justice have recently dominated political and intellectual discourse in the country. This was inconceivable only a few years ago when some of these statistics would have been classified as “state secrets.”
In direct contrast to his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, who was more interested in demonstrating achievements than admitting problems, Hu Jintao is willing to address challenging topics. More importantly, Hu has already changed China’s course of development in three significant ways: from obsession with GDP growth to greater concern about social justice; from the single-minded emphasis on coastal development to a more balanced regional development strategy;4 and from a policy in favor of entrepreneurs and other elites to a populist approach that protects the interests of farmers, migrant workers, the urban unemployed, and other vulnerable social groups.

These policy shifts are not just lip service. They have already brought about some important progress. For example, one can reasonably argue that Hu and Wen, more than any other leaders in contemporary China, are implementing the so-called western development strategy (xibu kaifa zhanlue) effectively. During the past five years, 60 major construction projects have been undertaken in the western region with a total investment of 850 billion yuan (US$105.7 billion).5 Additionally, a new industrial renovation project in Chongqing will have a fixed asset investment of 350 billion yuan (US$43.5 billion) in the next five years.6 Meanwhile, the so-called “northeastern rejuvenation” (dongbei zhenxin) and the “take-off of the central provinces” (zhongyuan jueqi), with direct input from Premier Wen, have also made impressive strides.7
During the past few years, Hu and Wen have taken many popular actions: reducing the tax burden on farmers, abolishing discriminatory regulations against migrants, ordering business firms and local governments to pay their debts to migrant workers, restricting land lease for commercial and industrial uses, shaking hands with AIDS patients, visiting the families of coal mine explosion victims, and launching a nationwide donation campaign to help those in need.8 These policy changes and public gestures by Hu and Wen suggest that current top Chinese leaders are not only aware of the tensions and problems confronting the country, but also are willing to respond to them in a timely, and sometimes proactive, fashion.
To a certain extent, the large number of social protests occurring in China today reaffirms the foresight and wisdom of the new leadership, especially its sound policy shift. In an interesting way, the occurrence of these mass protects could actually consolidate, rather than undermine, Hu and Wen’s power in the Chinese political establishment. This, of course, does not mean that the Hu-Wen leadership is interested in enhancing social tensions in the country. On the contrary, their basic strategy is to promote a “harmonious society.” In their judgment, the Chinese public awareness of the frequency of mass unrest and the potential for a national crisis actually highlights the pressing need for social stability in this rapidly changing country.
Localization of Social Protests and the Blame Game
The second interesting new phenomenon in the Hu era is that a majority, if not all, of these mass protests were made against local officials, government agencies, or business firms rather than the central government. During the past few years, there has been an absence of unified nationwide protests against the central authorities.9 This does not mean that the country has been immune from major crises on a national scale. In the spring of 2003, for example, China experienced a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, a devastating health crisis that paralyzed the urban life and economic state of the country for several months. The regime survived this “China’s Chernobyl” largely because new top leaders like Hu, Wen, and Vice Premier Wu Yi effectively took charge and confronted the challenge.
It is not a coincidence that protesters often state that their petitions are very much in line with Hu and Wen’s appeal for social justice and governmental accountability. The Chinese public, including public intellectuals, believe that the new national leadership has made an important policy shift to improve the lives of weaker social groups.10 In the eyes of the public, mass protests against local officials are well justified because these local officials refused to implement policy changes made in Zhongnanhai. In Heilongjiang’s Jixi City, for example, the municipal government delayed payment to a construction company for years; consequently, migrant workers employed by the company did not receive their wages. When Premier Wen learned of the situation in Jixi, he requested that the municipal government solve the problem immediately. However, the local officials sent a false report to the State Council, claiming the issue was resolved even though migrant workers remained unpaid. Only after both the Jixi protests and Wen’s request were widely reported by the Chinese media did the municipal government begin to pay migrant workers.11 A recent article published in China Youth Daily used the term “policies decided at Zhongnanhai not making it out of Zhongnanhai” to characterize this prevalent phenomenon of local resistance to the directives of the central government.12
In recent years, the Chinese public, especially vulnerable social groups, seem to hold the assumption that the “bad local officials” often refuse to carry out the right policies of the “good national leaders.” Apparently due to this assumption, mass protests often occur shortly after top leaders visit a region; protesters frequently demand the implementation of the socioeconomic policies initiated by the central government.13 To a great extent, the increasing number of protests in China today can be seen as a result of the growing public consciousness about protecting the rights and interests of vulnerable social groups. Additionally, a multitude of Chinese lawyers who devote their careers to protecting the interests of such groups have recently emerged in the country. They have earned themselves a new Chinese name, “the lawyers of human rights protection” (weiquan lushi).14
Chinese journalists have also become increasingly bold in revealing various economic, sociopolitical, and environmental problems in the country. To a certain extent, the Chinese central authorities encourage the official media to serve as a watchdog over various lower levels of governments. For over a decade, local officials have been anxious when reporters from China’s leading investigative television news programs such as Focus (Jiaodian fangtan) visited their localities. Many local leaders were fired because the media revealed either serious problems in their jurisdiction or outrageous wrongdoings by the officials themselves.
The Hu-Wen leadership’s appeal for transparency of information has provided an opportunity for liberal Chinese journalists to search for real progress in media freedom throughout the country. The Chinese regime under Hu Jintao is apparently not ready to lift the ban on freedom of the press just yet. In recent years, several editors of newspapers and magazines have been fired, their media outlets banned, and several journalists have been jailed.15 But at the same time, some Chinese scholars and journalists such as Jiao Guobiao, a journalism professor at Beijing University, and Li Datong, an editor of China Youth Daily, continue to voice their dissent, and have even sued the top officials of the Propaganda Department of the CCP Central Committee.16
An interesting recent phenomenon in the Chinese media is that some media outlets based in one city or province are often inclined to report the problems and misconducts of leaders in other cities or provinces. Some local officials have banned the media’s negative coverage of their own jurisdiction. But meanwhile, they have actually encouraged the practice of “cross-region media supervision” (meiti yidi jiandu). It isin their interest to have their potential rivals in other regions being criticized by the media, because any damage to their potential rivals’ career could enhance their own chance for promotion. This practice evidently damaged the interests of too many provincial leaders. In the fall of 2005, the authorities of 17 provinces, including Hebei and Guangdong, jointly submitted a petition to the central government, asking to ban the “cross-region media supervision.”17
The dilemma for Hu and his colleagues in the central leadership is that their populist policy shift seems to be timely and necessary on the one hand, but on the other hand it can lead to public demand for social justice, economic equality, and government accountability, all of which can undermine the political stability of the regime. Because of this dilemma, Hu’s strategy has been to localize the social unrest. For the sake of maintaining the vital national interest of political stability, local governments should assume responsibility and accountability for the problems in their jurisdictions. If there is social unrest or other crises, local leaders will be blamed. One may call this strategy of the Chinese central leadership “think national, blame local.”
An important component of this scheme is the new regulations on complaint letters and petition visits that were adopted by the State Council in May 2005. The new regulations emphasize “territorial jurisdiction” and the “responsibility of the departments in charge.”18 Chinese citizens who have complaints and petitions are not encouraged to come to the central government in Beijing. Instead, they are told to go through a step-bystep procedure, submitting their complaints and petitions to the appropriate local government level. In the words of an official of the State Letters and Visits Bureau, the new regulations aim to not only protect “the lawful rights of people with legitimate complaints,” but also to make “local authorities more accountable.”19 This new procedure will place political pressure on local leaders while enabling the central leadership to avoid blame.
The central leadership’s “blame game” has also been facilitated by an allocation of non-economic quotas for provincial governments. In February 2006, Li Yizhong, chair of the State Administration of Work Safety, announced that in order to reduce the number of coal mine explosions and other industrial incidents in the country, the central government would evaluate the performance of provincial governments not only by economic growth, but by four additional indicators: the industrial death rate per 100 million yuan of the GDP, the death rate of work accidents per 100,000 employees in commercial businesses, the death rate per 10,000 automobiles, and the death rate per one million tons produced by coal mines.20
The populist approach of the Hu-Wen leadership has generated or reinforced the public assumption that social protests occurred because local leaders did not comply with the policies of the central government, some officials were notoriously corrupt, and/or these local bosses were incompetent. In the eyes of many people in China, “blaming local” is well justified. Some local governments have constantly resisted the directives of the central government and violated national laws and regulations.
This phenomenon of local resistance to the central authorities is certainly not new to China. The Chinese saying, “The mountain is high and the Emperor is far away,” vividly epitomizes this enduring Chinese trend of local administration. However, the abuse of power by local officials for economic gain has increased during China’s market transition, especially since the mid-1990s when the land lease for commercial and industrial uses spread throughout the country.
A “Wicked Coalition” between Real Estate Firms and Local Governments
It has been widely reported in the Chinese media that business interest groups have routinely bribed local officials and formed a “wicked coalition” (hei tongmeng) with local governments.21 Some Chinese observers believe that various players associated with the property development have emerged as one of the most powerful interest groups in present-day China.22 According to Sun Liping, a sociology professor at Qinghua University, the real estate interest group has accumulated tremendous economic and social capital during the past decade.23 Ever since the real estate bubble in Hainan in the early 1990s, this interest group has consistently attempted to influence governmental policy and public opinion. The group includes not only property developers, real estate agents, bankers, and housing market speculators, but also some local officials and public intellectuals (economists and journalists) who behave or speak in the interest of that group.

24
This explains why the central government’s macroeconomic control policy (hongguan tiaokong) has failed to achieve its intended objectives. A survey of 200 Chinese officials and scholars conducted in 2005 showed that 50 percent believed that China’s socioeconomic reforms have been constrained by “some elite groups with vested economic interests” (jide liyi jituan).25 In the first 10 months of 2005, for example, the real estate sector remained overheated with a 20% increase in the rate of investment despite the central government’s repeated call for cooling investment in this area.26 In the same year, the State Council sent four inspection teams to eight provinces and cities to evaluate the implementation of the central government’s macroeconomic control policy in the real estate sector. According to the Chinese media, most of these provincial and municipal governments did nothing but organize study sessions of the State Council’s policy initiatives.27
In 2004, the central government ordered a reduction in land leases for commercial and industrial uses as well as a reduction in the number of special economic zones that were particularly favorable to land leases. As a result, a total of 4,735 special economic zones were abolished, reducing by 70.2 percent the total number of special economic zones in the country.28 But some local officials violated the orders and regulations of the central government pertaining to land leases. According to one Chinese study conducted in 2004, about 80 percent of illegal land use cases were attributed to the wrongdoings of local governments.29 According to an official of the Ministry of Land Resources, about 50 percent of commercial land lease cases (xieyi churang tudi) contracted by the Beijing municipal government and business firms in 2003 were deemed violations of the central government regulations.30
Not surprisingly, a large number of corruption cases are related to land leases and real estate development. For example, among the 13 total provincial and ministerial level leaders who were arrested in 2003, 11 were primarily accused of illegal pursuits in landrelated decisions.31 Meanwhile, a large portion of mass protests directly resulted from inappropriate compensation for land confiscations and other disputes associated with commercial and industrial land use. According to a recent study by the Institute of Rural Development of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, two-thirds of peasant protests since 2004 were caused by local officials’ misdeeds in the handling of land leases.32
It is of course unfair to assume that the local governments’ enthusiasm for property development in their localities is purely driven by the personal interests of corrupt officials. Conflicting views regarding the issue of land leases between the central authorities and local governments are largely a product of asymmetrical priorities and concerns. As a Chinese analyst recently asserted, “the interests of the local governments are not aligned with [those of] the central government.”33 At present, the central government is apparently more concerned about the “overheat” of the Chinese economy, especially the financial bubble of real estate in coastal cities. In contrast, local governments are more worried about the “coldness” in local investment, foreign trade, consumption, and domestic demand—this is what Zhao Xiao, a scholar at the Research Center of the Chinese Economy of Beijing University, calls the “four coldnesses,” which can be devastating for local economies.34
Since 1994, China has adopted a tax-sharing system (fenshuizhi) in which tax revenue is divided by both the central and local governments. This tax-sharing system is supposed to better define fiscal relations between the central and local governments, promote market competition among various players, stabilize the regular income of the local authorities, and provide an incentive for local governments to collect taxes.35 As a result of this taxation reform, 65 percent of state expenditure now comes from local governments. The economic status of China’s provinces differs enormously from one to the next. Generally, local governments, especially at their lower levels, have been delegated more obligations and responsibilities and less power in allocating economic resources than in the early years of the reform era.
The heavy financial burden on local governments has inevitably driven local leaders to place priority on GDP growth and other methods of creating revenue. The best short cut for local governments to make up for this fiscal deficiency, as some Chinese scholars observe, is to sell or lease land.36 Although local governments’ reservations about the macroeconomic control policy and other regulations adopted by the Hu-Wen leadership may be valid, top local officials are expected to demonstrate their ability to handle various kinds of crises on their own turf. The central authorities’ strategy of “blaming local,” the growing public awareness of rights and interests, and the increasing transparency of media coverage of disasters (both natural and man-made) all place the local leaders on the spot.
Troubled Guangdong in the Spotlight: Blaming Zheng Dejiang?
Perhaps the most noticeable case of the growing central-provincial tension is Guangdong under the leadership of Zhang Dejiang. Zhang, a native of Liaoning, was a protégé of Jiang Zemin and is currently a member of the 25-member Politburo. Born in 1946, he worked as a “sent-down youth” in the countryside of Wangqing County in Jilin Province between 1968 and 1970. He joined the CCP in 1971 and attended Yanbian University to study the Korean language in the early 1970s. After graduation he remained at the university as a party official. In 1978, Zhang was sent by the Chinese government to study in the economics department at Kim Il Sung University in North Korea. He returned to China in 1980 and served as vice president of Yanbian University. He later served as deputy party secretary of Yanji City, Jilin from 1983 to 1986, and vice minister of social welfare in the central government from 1986 to 1990.
According to some China analysts, Zhang Dejiang made a very favorable impression on Jiang Zemin when Zhang escorted him on a visit to North Korea in 1990.37 Two years later, at the age of 44, Zhang became an alternate member of the CCP Central Committee. Since the early 1990s, he has served as the party boss in three provinces, first in Jilin, then Zhejiang, and now Guangdong. As the second youngest member of the current Politburo, Zhang seems poised to play an even more important role in the years to come, especially counterbalancing the growing power of Hu Jintao. However, Zhang’s poor performance in Guangdong may jeopardize his chance for a membership in the standing committee of the next Politburo.
Ever since he assumed the post of Guangdong party secretary in the fall of 2002, what was once the wealthiest province in the country and the frontier of China’s economic reform has turned into a disaster area. When SARS erupted in Guangdong in the fall of 2002, Zhang and his colleagues in the Guangdong government denied its occurrence and thereby enabled the epidemic to spread throughout the public. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most of the 8,422 cases and 916 deaths in 29 countries (excluding those in the PRC) can be traced to one infected Guangdong doctor who traveled to Hong Kong.38
Additionally, several major episodes of social unrest and contentious events in Guangdong received national or international attention during the past four years. The police brutality that led to the death of a migrant worker named Sun Zhigang in Guangzhou in the spring of 2003 caused outrage among China’s legal scholars and its public. As a result, the State Council abolished the urban detention regulations that discriminated against migrants.
Prior to Zhang’s 2002 arrival in Guangdong, the province hosted several of the most liberal and outspoken newspapers in the country, including the famous Southern Metropolis Daily, which later courageously broke the SARS cover-up in Guangdong and the police brutality case of Sun Zhigang. Four years later, these outstanding editors and journalists were either in jail or moved elsewhere. Under Zhang Dejiang’s watch, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Cheng Yizhong, and its general manager, Yu Huafeng, were arrested on corruption charges. Guangdong Province has become notorious for governmental crackdown on media freedom.
In 2005, Guangdong’s disasters frequently made headlines in China and/or abroad. Examples include two coal mine explosions in Meizhou that killed 139 miners, and an excessive discharge of hazardous chemicals from a state firm that contaminated the Beijiang River. The public was not promptly informed about the water contamination. Most seriously, peasant protests in Taishi Village in Guangzhou and Dongzhou Village in Shanwei resulted in violent conflicts between armed police and villagers. Local government officials sent hundreds of armed police to crack down on protesters during the Dongzhou riot. The police fired at the protesters and killed at least three people, injuring at least eight others.39
All these incidents and crises apparently damaged the public image of the Guangdong government, especially that of party boss Zhang Dejiang. It was widely reported in the Hong Kong and overseas media that Zhang admitted his mistakes and took responsibility in his report on the shootings of the Dongzhou riot and other incidents in Guangdong at a recent Politburo meeting.40 In addition, Zhang made a well-publicized speech in a provincial party committee meeting in January 2006, outlining the so-called three red lines.41 According to Zhang, three types of wrongdoing in the acquisition of rural land for construction are usually the triggering factors for social unrests. He requested that no construction could start if: it has not completely fulfilled the central government’s regulation, it has not reached an agreement with peasants on their compensation, or the compensation has not been delivered to the peasants. Any officials who crossed any one of these “three red lines” should be fired, according to Zhang.
Despite these policy prescriptions, social unrest and riots continued to occur in Guangdong in 2006. As an example, in early February, several hundred residents of two opposing villages in Zhanjiang used homemade guns and other weapons to fight against each other because of a land dispute. The local government sent one hundred armed police to crack down on the violent riot. Twenty-nine villagers were reportedly injured.42 According to some Hong Kong and overseas media sources, the frequency of the disasters in the province has led people in Guangdong to engage in a “campaign to cast out Zhang.”43 They argued that lower-level local officials as well as provincial chief Zhang should be held responsible and accountable for these incidents.
Some other Hong Kong–based Chinese newspapers, however, reported that it was unfair to place all the blame on Zhang’s shoulders. According to these newspapers, socioeconomic development in Guangdong under the leadership of Zhang has been very much in line with the policies of the central government. During his visits to Guangdong in 2004 and 2005, Hu Jintao endorsed both the development plan of Guangdong and the performance of Zhang.44 Although it is difficult to verify these rumors and speculations, conflicting reports highlight the tensions between various political players who have a stake in this important province. The complicated nature of central-provincial relations in the case of Guangdong has further clouded the situation.
Politics and Leadership in Guangdong: Past and Present
Guangdong Province has long been known for its demands for autonomy, which are based on its strong economic status and dialectic distinction. During the Nationalist era, Guangdong produced a significant number of political and military elites. However, since the founding of the PRC, there have been only a handful of national leaders who are native Cantonese. Furthermore, to prevent the formation of a “Cantonese separatist movement,” the central government often appointed non-Cantonese leaders to head the province. If a Cantonese leader became too powerful, the central authorities likely “promoted” that leader to the central government in order to constrain local power. For instance, Ye Xuanping, son of the late marshal Ye Jianying, built a solid power base in Guangdong when he served as the party boss in the 1980s. The growing economic and cultural autonomy of Guangdong made the central authorities nervous. After some negotiation, the central authorities promoted Ye to senior vice chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
It was also reported that in preliminary meetings before the 15th Party Congress in 1997, central authorities intended to replace the sitting party secretary Xie Fei, a Cantonese native, with a non-Cantonese Politburo member as the new party secretary of Guangdong. Local officials in Guangdong rejected that proposal. They insisted that top officials in Guangdong should be Cantonese even if they lost their representation in the Politburo.45 As a result of their stand, Xie Fei has remained in both Guangdong and the Politburo. It took almost a year for local officials to accept Li Changchun, a native of Liaoning and a Politburo member. Their eventual acceptance was largely the result of pressure from the central authorities as well as negotiation between the local and central governments. While serving as provincial leaders in Guangdong, Li Changchun and other non-Cantonese officials such as Wang Qishan (then executive vice governor of Guangdong), repeatedly claimed that they would continue to rely on local officials rather than bringing a large group of leaders from other regions to replace them.46
The fact that Zhang’s predecessor Li Changchun later moved to Beijing where he became a standing committee member of the Politburo seems to suggest that Zhang might also have a chance for further promotion. This, however, depends on whether Zhang will be able to control the province as effectively as his predecessor did.47 One of the most important tasks for Zhang as party boss of Guangdong, as Jiang Zemin told him bluntly, was to prevent Cantonese localism.48 The factional politics in the provincial leadership of Guangdong at present are arguably far more complicated than in the Li Changchun era. This further undermines Zhang’s power and authority in running the province.
Table 1 shows the backgrounds of the 24 most important provincial leaders currently in Guangdong. They include 1) all the Guangdong-based leaders who also hold membership on the 16th Central Committee of the CCP or the 16th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CMDI), 2) all the standing members of the Guangdong provincial party committee, and 3) all vice governors. Table 1 demonstrates that all of them were appointed to their current positions within the last eight years, and 19 (79 percent) of them were appointed after 2002. All of these leaders are now between 50 and 61 years old.
Of these 24 leaders, 12 are native Cantonese, while four others began to work in Guangdong over three decades ago and can thus be considered locals (among them Head of Propaganda Department Zhu Xiaodan and Vice Governor You Ningfeng). Some of the remaining eight provincial leaders who were transferred from elsewhere have worked in the province for over a decade. As an example, Shenzhen Party Secretary Li Hongzhong, a native of Shandong who grew up in Liaoning, began to serve as a vice mayor of Huizhou, Guangdong, in 1988. Similarly, Chair of Guangdong Provincial Congress Huang Liman, a native of Liaoning, started to work as deputy chief of staff of the Shenzhen Party Committee in 1992.
Li, China Leadership Monitor, No. 17

Table 1
Backgrounds of the Provincial Leaders of Guangdong (as of February 2006)

Name
Current Position
Since
Born
Birthplace
Previous Position
16th CCM
Local/Transfer
Factional Network
Zhang Dejiang Huang Huahua Wang Huayuan Ou Guangyuan Liu Yupu Cai Dongshi Huang Liman Chen Shaoji Zhong Yangsheng Huang Longyun Li Hongzhong Hu Zejun Liang Guoju Lin Shusen Zhu Xiaodan Xiao Zhiheng Xin Rongguo Tang Bingquan Xu Deli You Ningfeng Li Ronggen Xie Qianghua Lei Yulan Song Hai
Party Secretary Governor Disciplinary Sec. Dep. Party Sec. Dep. Party Sec. Dep. Party Sec. Chair, Prov. Congress Chair, Prov. PPCC Exec. Vice Governor Foshan Party Sec. Shenzhen Party Sec, Head, Org. Dept. Head, Pub. Security Bur. Guangzhou Party Sec. Head, Propaganda Dept. Chief of staff, Party Com. Commander, Military Dist. Exe. Vice Governor Vice Governor Vice Governor Vice Governor Vice Governor Vice Governor Vice Governor
2002 2003 2002 2002 2004 2004 2005 2004 2003 2002 2005 2004 2000 2002 2004 2001 2005 2003 1998 2000 2001 2002 2003 2003
1946 1946 1948 1948 1949 1947 1945 1945 1948 1951 1956 1955 1947 1946 1953 1953 ? 1949 1945 1945 1950 1950 1952 1951

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