Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Fate Of Princelings

The disgraced Bo Xilai was the fourth child and second son of prominent Communist Party leader Bo Yibo, one of the Eight Great Eminent Officials (Chinese: 八大元老; pinyin: Bā dà yuánlǎo), a group of elderly members of the Communist Party of China who held substantial power during the 1980s and 1990s. Bo's fall from grace exposed disunity within Communist Party ranks, and some observers opined that it was because he posed a threat to Xi Jinping, current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Much of the intrigue and inside stories about Chinese politicians, past and present, are covered in "A Death In The Lucky Holiday Hotel" by Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang, a thrilling documentation of the downfall of Bo Xilai and the personalities involved. Most fascinating of all, is the insight into a unique coterie of favoured sons known as "the princelings".

Following the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989, Deng Xiaoping was quoted as saying, "Nobody is more reliable than our own children. We need our children to protect the red China that we have established." At that gathering to discuss leadership succession, veterans including Bo Xilai's father agreed in a secret deal that the government should pick one child from the family of each veteran leader who had fought with Mao during the 1940s revolution and gradually elevate him to the equivalent of a vice minister or higher in the government and the military:
"This special group of senior leaders' children were the original princelings. Over the next two decades, the princeling definition was expanded to include children of all senior leaders, national and regional, and the princelings have emerged as a formidable political faction. At the recently concluded Party Congress in November 2011, three have made it to the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the highest decision-making body." (page 93)

We don't know what Goh Chok Tong was alluding to when he said succession planning has long been a part of the Government's DNA. Maybe it was just a poor choice of words, like his recent phrase about "dropping the ball" after someone had his prostate gland removed. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms, solid  fuel for the nature versus nurture argument. The White Horse special treatment during national service has not been forgotten. Makes you wonder what other secret deals are under wraps.


    Dont know if they are valid nowadays, especially in so-called democratic societies.
    Nevertheless, the Practice is rampant in many countries.


  2. After regaining 4% of votes and recovering 2 lost seats in GE1997, GCT said it was defining moment for him. In an interview with Asiaweek he said it was a defining moment.

    "I felt bonded with the people. I'd shown I was a prime minister in my own right, not a prime minister because I'd been given it on a silver platter."

    Then on his handover to PM Lee many years later, he added

    "Singapore is like this piece of priceless porcelain. It is our common heirloom which we must hand over in good condition from one generation to another,"

    In PAP speaks, the family heirloom of porcelain was placed on a silver platter to the current Lee. The next one will be no different. All in the family DNA, truly.

  3. The dying supremo was fond of saying that the Pope appoints the Cardinals who then appoint the Pope to justify his shenanigans. It is time they followed the Roman Catholic church's practice of celibacy, a move started in the reform movement to prevent the evil of simony, etc.

    1. And the selling of indulgences......