Recently a show was hosted by CNN called “On China” where Kristie Lu Stout asked questions from experts on China that the whole wants an answer to. The timing of the show was perfect as America is waiting to decisive moments in its presidential election 2012 and with each candidate talked about his strategy during the presidential debates it may help undecided voters America making a decision as to which side to they want to be sailing this time around.
The panelists in the session included Victor Gao, Hung Huang and John Pomfret. To begin with Victor Gao had served as a member of the Chinese Foreign Services in the past and also donned the hat of being a translator to the late Deng Xiaoping.
Hung Huang on the other hand is a Chinese blogger, Publisher, Author, TV Personality with her stepfather being a former foreign minister of China. John Pomfret is an American Journalist who was among the first students to land in America for higher studies and has written the book, “Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China.”
The questions were varied and included perception from panelists on issues like factions at the top of Communist Party of China to what does the young population of China thinks about the situation within the country and their aspirations? The expectations of these experts from upcoming president Xi Jinping who is about to take charge of President’s office soon was also discussed on the show.
Though it was agreed by the panelists that there are factions existing at the top of Communist Party and dissent is also present within the party. Though, Pomfret said that every opinion expressed by experts on the show comes out from guesswork and cannot be relied upon solely upon it. Pomfret said, So much of this stuff is based on guess work, because of the lack of transparency about the internal functions of China. But you’ll see it; these struggles manifest themselves in policy statements. And that’s done actually relatively publicly.
Hung put across her thoughts on existence of faction at the top of Communist Party saying “I think its true there is diversity within the Party, but it is not the Party’s intention to make it transparent to people who are not in the Party or to anyone who is not part of the very political elite. If there is conflict, the first reaction of the Party tends to be “close the doors, shut it off, don’t let the public see it.” So that’s why its public image seems to be secretive, and a bit closed off and monolithic, but there is dissension within the party for sure.”
Gao said on the same question, “Many people from outside China tend to look at the Communist Party of China as a monolithic group of people. But in reality, it is not. First of all, personalities do matter. Secondly, these so-called political camps do exist. You have these people in higher positions, which belong to different traditions. You have different mentors, you have different associations. So this is what we call intra-party democracy in China.”
On the question of Xi Jinping, Gao said that he has vast exposure of working in the public domain and has worked in four provinces of Hebei, Fujian, Zhejiang, and Shanghai. His experience at the Central Military Commission was viewed as his added advantage. Gao pointed at the fact that even when Jinping was assigned to civilian positions he would somehow keep his contact with the military and would continue lending his services at reserve forces.
Hung responded by saying, “I think him having the pedigree is actually a plus; that gives him a lot more leeway in terms of bringing about changes.” However she also deliberated upon the fear of Jinping not taking the leap that he’s presumed to have taken or the politics at higher rungs of government may prevent him from doing so. Pomfret on the other hand underlined that Jinping is a leader with strong personality and whether or not he does something that’s really in favor of China’s interest is for the people to see.
On the question asked by Kristie about the emotions among the young stakeholders in China, Huang made answered her clearly. Kristie framed the question exhaustively saying, “Is it freedom, democracy, political reform, or apartment, car and economic stability?” Huang said that they want both.
The last question of the conversation was about the fate of Communist Party of China in the future to which Gao responded saying that with increasing number of democratic procedures within the party, Communist Party is going to continue ruling for many years if not for decades to come. Both Hung and Pomfret also conceded their opinion that Communist Party’s reign is not going to end soon in China but they have to start counting in the opinion of the people of China also and start acting upon it.
Source: CNN/ Kristie Lu Stout