Long ago and far away

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Modern China History?

I have no idea of how accurate this set of articles from The Epoch Times is however, some interesting stuff here on how Jiang Zemin rose to power and stayed there
...China’s military is different from that of nations in the West. In reality, China’s only military is of the CCP and not of the nation itself. Thus the military serves as a tool of the Party as it seeks to benefit itself. The Chinese Communist Party has always emphasized that Party branches are to be established at the level of the company. Going back some time, Mao Zedong postulated the formula that “The Party commands the gun.” In other words, he who has the upper hand in controlling the military will decidedly be the victor in any intra-Party political struggle. If military power is not within one’s grasp, one’s political future lies in the hands of others.
So it was that Jiang Zemin was deeply concerned. But Jiang had his own means to control the military...After Jiang Zemin became Chairman of the Military Commission, he took advantage of his authority and loopholes in the military enterprises so as to gain full control of the military. Jiang gave many undue benefits to soldiers, allowing the military to wantonly indulge in trading, and fostering corruption within its ranks. Jiang figured that, should these people become insatiably greedy, what with all their embezzling, they would come to rely on him, and feel grateful. Contrary to what he expected, however, problems spiraled out of control: never before was the military so corrupt. Smuggling by the navy on China’s southwestern seaboard became more rampant than pirating, while smuggling by the army in the north grew worse than that of bandits...On July 26, 1998, the North Sea Fleet of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Navy sent four artillery ships, two submarine chasers, and a four thousand ton military transport ship to escort four oil tankers that were smuggling oil from northern Europe. The oil tankers were filled with seventy thousand tons of refined oil.

Every coincidence tells a story, of course. The oil tankers crossed the path of twelve counter-smuggling patrol boats that had been sent by the Ministry of Public Security and China’s Customs General Administration. The counter-smuggling gunboat shouted to the navy, asking it to cooperate with the inspection. The navy replied, “You shouldn’t act rashly unless you have orders from the Central Military Commission and the Naval Headquarters!”

The confrontation came to a standstill for about fifteen minutes, during which the Navy, still escorting the smuggling oil tankers, urgently sought instructions from its land-based leaders. Superiors were afraid to make the decision, however, so the Naval officers sought instructions from senior military officials in Beijing. They received a simple and straightforward order, with not an ounce of ambiguity: “Fire at them, fire till they’re destroyed!”

One of the four artillery ships quickly aimed its cannons at the control vessel of the Customs and Public Security Ministry and fired several rounds of ammunition. Almost simultaneously, the Navy’s transport ship and three other artillery ships advanced at full speed towards and rammed into the Customs’s patrol boats. The battle lasted a full fifty-nine minutes. ...There was no product that the military would not smuggle. Even narcotics were not excluded. According to a March 28, 2001, BBC News account, the National Security Adviser of the Philippines, Roilo Golez, said that the Chinese military personnel were running operations producing illegal drugs in five provinces of eastern China. These plants supplied USD$1.2 billion worth of methamphetamines to the Philippines every year. Golez expressed a wish that China would cease shipments of narcotics into the Philippines. He said that if drug smuggling from China could be reduced by 50%, the Philippines would solve half of its narcotics problems. Later the government of the Philippines repeatedly sent representatives to Beijing to discuss and protest the ongoing drug smuggling and operations by China’s military...Finally, in July of 1998, in the “National Counter-¬Smuggling Working Conference,” Jiang announced that the military, paramilitary police, and judicial and public security systems were no longer allowed to engage in entrepreneurial operations. The systems were to disengage themselves by the end of December of 1998, transferring all such operations to local governments in China.

Although Jiang was taking a different stance than he initially had—no longer allowing the military to engage in business activities—his motive was the same as it always was. In his book The Man Who Changed China, Robert Kuhn makes much fanfare of Jiang’s banning of the military’s entrepreneurial activities, making it out to be something of a great accomplishment. But in so doing Kuhn turns the truth inside out.

Jiang’s initial motive for allowing the military involvement in business activities was to foster a corrupt environment in which he could more easily build a following and wantonly confer military titles. He needed a military that didn’t emphasize formal training or the strengthening of military prowess. And it was the resultant mess—a corrupt military—that gave the inexperienced CMC Chairman fertile soil for fostering his own faction...
Interesting...

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