By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 9, 2007
Below Beijing’s leadership, who runs China’s sprawling bureaucracy? The cadre of loyal communist worthless stooges.
Yesterday The Washington Times published an article I wrote entitled “China: Less than the Whole Truth.” I pointed out that after more than seven months of bad news concerning Chinese food, drug and other product safety, the vice minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China said, “We can guarantee food safety.”
Anyone who could read knew that not to be true: both in China and everywhere else in the world.
In another possible case of the bureaucrats talking beyond their understanding and ability, The Telegraph newspaper in the UK reported today that “Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning – for the first time – that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.”
The Telegraph’s report continues, “Described as China’s ‘nuclear option’ in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.”
One source the British newspaper cited is Xia Bin, finance chief at the Development Research Centre (which has cabinet rank).
The second source is He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
A British friend in Beijing said to us, “Here is the problem. Because so many party member, even of fairly high rank, make unsubstantiated remarks, it is hard to extract truth and reality from all the other rubbish one hears. That makes these party members and their remarks very dangerous”
Presto: exactly the problem. China’s communist party members are at the least undisciplined and badly directed. Or some see the scheming evil hand at play. Consider Hu Jintao telling the functionaries to get the word out, and then reserving denial for himself.
However you figure things, there is always a layer of deceit when dealing with the Chinese. Even at the top of the government.
In the case of the food safety controversy, why would a seemingly high but certainly not elite member of the communist party and government bureaucracy say something in public that was so patently wrong? Why would a member of the government of China make a statement so obviously wrong that journalists like me laughed at the red meat provided by such a preposterous statement?
I thought I knew the answers but many others helped out by sending me email. Several sources are British, European or American expatriates living and working inside China so it is better not to disclose their names.
One asked, “Don’t you know that this is an indictment of communism and the communist system everywhere? When jobs are doled out because of party loyalty instead of experience and competence, you end up with the village idiot running the local government.”
I did know. And in my email back to this Brit Expat (he won’t mind my slang) I said, the tiers of government starting just below the elite that run China are filled with “worthless stooges.”
My friend agreed wholeheartedly.
In the case of the two party members making threatening noises about U.S. financial system, President Bush had the right answer: he doubted the report was based on sources from the office of Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was just in China last week said Wednesday that fear of such an action was “absurd” and that the top officials he had met in China had not indicated such plans.
The fact is, too many issues have to be cleared up at the very top of China’s government. And the further you get from Beijing and other major metropolitan areas, the more worthless the stooges seem to become.
Especially now that China’s economy is boiling, the smart college educated and competent youngsters want to get real jobs, make money, buy a condo and drive a Mercedes Benz.
They also don’t want to obey all of the communist rules meant to govern their lives.
One sign of this is the fact that more and more affluent young couples are choosing to have more than one child, in defiance of Beijing’s “One Child Policy.” But the affluent young couples tell me, “We can afford to have the family we want, just like an American couple. We can also afford to send our children to college — maybe even to a college in the United States.”
All this makes me wonder about the government bureaucracy running another communist country: Vietnam. The Vietnamese economy is also off the charts — so why would anyone think the government of communist Vietnam is attracting “the best and brightest”?
My belief is that in Vietnam the situation is even worse than in China. In China, at least, the top level of the government is well educated, poised, adroit, suave, sometimes worldly and knowledgeable.
Consider Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪), China’s former ambassador to the United Staes. He speaks English fluently and now serves as Foreign Minister. Yang, 57, studied at the internationally well-known London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom from 1973 to 1975.
In Vietnam, there is a slightly different story.
When President Triet of Vietnam visited the U.S. last June, he demonstrated by several ham handed actions and pronouncements that he was, let us say, naïve to the ways of the west and almost completely unschooled in how helpful or damaging the western media can be.
After Mr. Triet returned home to Vietnam, his government sent to The Washington Times a commentary piece, in the form of a letter, under President Triet’s name, extolling the fine attributes of doing business in Vietnam.
Former Hanoi Hilton guest-resident (prisoner) Mike Benge noticed immediately that the letter was almost word for word from a document that was months old. The letter claimed to be the president’s personal reflections on his trip to the United States. In fact, the letter was an old formulaic communist pronouncement that had seemingly, to Hanoi, “worked before so it will work again.”
When the U.S. was recently seeking more assistance from China in dealing with North Korea, Senator John McCain pointed out the necessity of China exerting its influence.
Senator McCain also said he didn’t understand China’s hesitation towards North Korea “unless they are immature and do not understand the consequences of their failure to exercise a beneficial influence,” adding that their actions could have been a result of “a degree of naiveté on the part of the new Chinese leadership.”
We agree with Senator McCain on these statements.
Most U.S. “leaders” choose their words so carefully or just lie to keep themselves “politically correct” so often that governments in Beijing and Hanoi misunderstand U.S. intent.
So we stand by our not-so-politically-correct assertions. Below the elite in China the government is largely run by worthless stooges. Many (even most) are immature, naïve, and not very worldly. In Vietnam the situation is worse. Many of the leaders there are infantile in their inability to conduct foreign affairs and internal government in a polished, articulate and appropriate manner.
Postscript: When we first drafted this essay, the title was merely “Wothless Stooges.” But an email from an experienced American government watcher in Los Angeles said, “When I read that headline I thought you were writing about the U.S. Congress. Better add ‘China’ to that headline!”
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich would probably almost go as far as calling the current congress “worthless stooges.” In his National Press Club address on Tuesday, August 7, 2007, he said our U.S. Congress had become detached from the beliefs of the founders, too reliant on lobbyists and focus groups, and had become an example of how to fail. He said FedEx was a good example of how to succeed. He said there was more computing power in every FedEx truck than in Apollo 13.
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On August 11, 2007:
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