Did Hu sell his soul?

I’ve been holding off writing about Jiang’s long-awaited resignation and Hu’s ascension to absolute power because it’s obviously way too early to determine what it really means. But I did want to direct readers to an interesting post over at China Digital News. It cites an opinion piece in the unlinkable Wall Street Journal that claims Hu made a bargain with the devil, and that the terms of the deal eliminate the possibility for true reform:

For over 20 years, Mr. Hu has enjoyed a widespread reputation as a moderate reformist. But to get his latest promotion, Mr. Hu struck a devil’s bargain with Mr. Jiang that will dim the prospects for political reform.”

“For 78-year-old Mr. Jiang, the new arrangement is a sweet one. In his new position as retired senior statesman, he is now formally ensconced, incongruous as it may seem, in the Communist Party pantheon as the co-equal of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping…..

In return, Mr. Hu gets to take over Mr. Jiang’s powerful military position. But it is unlikely that this promotion will have much of a policy impact. Mr. Hu’s Faustian bargain with Mr. Jiang means that he has accepted the program set by his predecessor and by Mr. Jiang’s right-hand man, Vice President Zeng Qinghong.”

Doesn’t it seem kind of early to come to such a sweeping conclusion? Sure, I’m skeptical about Hu but I’m willing to give him at least a little time to prove himself. (Keep in mind, the WSJ doesn’t always feature the most open-minded of intellects.)

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Keep in mind Tkacik’s current employer is the Heritage Foundation. As I’ve noted Jiang’s protege, VP Zeng Qinghong didn’t get placed on the CMC, but the promotions on the CMC were all military men and all mentioned in a 3 or 4 page span in a section of Andrew Nathan’s China’s New Rulers.

September 21, 2004 @ 5:40 pm | Comment

I think the problem is that Hu’s soul is not so different from his predecessor soul. And, in any case, Party’s soul (if it has one) won’t change.


September 22, 2004 @ 8:43 am | Comment

I can’t believe you’d actually take anything written about China from John “the appratchik” Tkacik seriously. The man is completly worthless as far as information regarding China is involved, you may as well hire Tom Clancy to comment on Chinese politics and the laws of probability would be more in your favour to get something right eventually.

September 22, 2004 @ 6:41 pm | Comment

I said I was taking it with a grain of salt.

September 22, 2004 @ 6:53 pm | Comment

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