Where, in China, does political power come from? - TECH BLOG

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Friday, 21 September 2018

Where, in China, does political power come from?

If a government office, like the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, has no public address, no website, and no external telephone number, does it exist? Does its leader wield political power? In the case of Yang Wiemin, former head of the Central Leading Group, the answer is yes. Another example of guanxi at work?

Do Yang's remarks illuminate a political fault line in the Chinese leadership?

Former top Chinese officials call for better protection of human rights and justice for all
Former top Chinese finance officials have called for better enforcement of the law and protection of human rights in China at a top forum to mark the 40th anniversary of the country’s market reforms.

Yang
Addressing the elite Chinese Economists 50 Forum on Sunday, Yang Weimin, who stepped down earlier this year from the secretariat of the Communist Party’s top economic policy panel, said Chinese people now demanded better protection of human rights, rather than just pursuit of economic development.

“We need to build and improve the institutions that protect the people’s democratic rights, protect human rights, are based on law, and have a fair judiciary,” said Yang, a former deputy director of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs.

“What people want for a good life is more about this, rather than pure economic issues.”

The forum is a club of serving and former financial officials, as well as top policy advisers and economists, and mainly discusses economic matters…

Critics have said the present administration, in power since 2012, has stalled necessary overhauls of state-owned enterprises, and even pushed back on the mild gains in political liberalisation made over the past four decades.

Yang’s call for better legal protections was echoed by Wu Xiaoling, a former vice-governor of the People’s Bank of China.

Wu said a sound justice system was needed more than ever to help settle disputes as China moved into the next stage of reforms. That system would in turn lead to sustainable social stability, he said…

“Only when we respect a lawyer’s right to mount a defence, a judge’s right to make an independent ruling, and the public and mass media’s right to monitor [the government], will we be able to continue to improve our laws and regulations,” Wu said…

Wu’s remarks contrast with Beijing’s tightening grip on lawyers in recent years, including a government crackdown on rights lawyers and legal activists, as well as an expanded party presence in law firms…

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