An Over-Reaction to the 'Missing' of Jia Qinglin

2006-10-23 - Absurdfool

On October 22, after watching CCTV's All-China News Broadcast, I found Jia Qinglin didn't show up at the meeting to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Chinese Communist Party's (CPC) successful Long March in 1936, in which many prominent political figures attended. All members of the 9-member Politburo Standing Committee of the CPC except Jia showed. Party chief Hu Jintao has delivered a speech to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Long March.

At the meeting, several old-time political figures unexpectedly appeared on the chairman panel, they are Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji and Li Ruihuan. Before the meeting the four presbyters have made a high profile appearance in a visit to the Long March exhibition in Beijing, followed by a 2-minute news featuring their visit at the All-China News Broadcast via CCTV.

I sensed that Jiang and Zhu's sudden appearance and Jia's disappearance might indicate another round of anticorruption probe and political power reshuffle is underway. So, I went check the English section of '' and '' for Jia's latest official activities. Both showed that his last official show-up was with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Douglas Williams from UK. Then I wrote a piece titled, 'Jia Qinglin Can Escape No More'.

After I have finished writing it, I checked again at '' Chinese version to verify once again if Jia did really vanish. Of course, I was totally wrong. He was on a four-nation Europe tour the same day when the meeting was held. I have made myself a stupid fool. Although it is a worth-doing exercise, I have to drop my essay all to the garbage bin.

Jia Qinglin has been under great pressure whilst China's biggest smuggling case was exposed in Fujian in 1999. The 'Yuanhua Group' scandal involved a scheme of over US$10 billion. Sprawling syndicate smuggled billions of dollars worth of cars, oil and industrial materials through Xiamen in 1980's and 1990's. Former prime minister Zhu Rongji was the architect of the crackdown on Xiamen-centred smuggling. However, the key person, Lai Changxing - the smuggling kingpin and his family fled to Canada in 1999.

Rumour has been raging about Jia's wife's (Lin Youfang) involvement in the case, which Chinese official once denied in 2000. Jia was pivotal in dealing with the Xiamen smuggling cases at that time as the province's party chief. Before the case was uncovered, he was picked by former President Jiang Zemin in 1996 to act as party chief and government head of Beijing, and later a member of the Politburo Standing Committee in 2002.

As the scandal case closed in 2001, dozen of provincial and central government officials were charged and were either put into jail or sentenced to death, among which the highest ranking official involved was Li Jizhou, former vice-minister of Public Security. Jia being one of Jiang's trusted allies and protege is suspected being protected by the latter in order to save ass and face.

Today, I've done a bit web readings about Lai Changxing's case. I read one piece of information from 'Details of Xiamen Smuggling Case Exposed' published in 2001, which definitely is a manipulation of facts done by China's legal departments in order to free Jia. Lai's smuggling activities began in 1980s, but the charges on him relate only activities between 1996 and the first half of 1999. Jia was posted to Beijing by Jiang in 1996.

People believe that the case is far from being wound-up, as the smuggling mastermind, Lai Changxing, "China's most wanted fugitive" and his wife Tsang Mingna are still to be extradited from Canada. Lai has repeatedly been denied political refugee status in Canada. If Lai is successfully extradited, the scandal might unveil more corrupted top government officials than those that had been disclosed.

On March 11, 2004, senior public security official reiterated that the country is confident of having Lai Changxing extradited. Early this year, Zhu Entao, former assistant to China's minister of public security said in an interview with Xinhua that it's optimistic about extradition of Lai Changxing. He cited several other foreign-fled cases of corrupted official to back up his point.

Meanwhile, Lai has exhausted all of his appeals. His case is judged as a common criminal fugitive from justice. Ruled by Canadian court, he is now under house arrest in Vancouver waiting to be deported, according to Xinhua News Agency from Ottawa on June 1, 2006. Lai is certainly not just under the surveillance of the Canadian Government. However, he is still trying all possible means to defend his poltical refugee status, such as writing a memoir and going to talk shows. According to Chinese in Vancouver, a Chinese Canadian, Tony Toe of DAT Films is making a documentary on Lai, which supposedly will hit road block sometime later. Several episodes of the unfinished documentary is now on a pay channel set up by Tony Toe ( He is right now busy selling Lai's shows to local TV stations.

Another show is waiting for Lai back in China. The Chinese Government has promised to the Canadian Government that Lai Changxing and his wife Tsang Mingna will not be subject to the death penalty. The laws of many countries throughout the world including Canada stipulate that criminals subject to the death penalty or political prisoners cannot be extradited, which is a guideline for international judicial cooperation. It shows that China is trying to find a solution that can be accepted by the two different legal systems. (Beijing Review, June 30, 2006 Issue)

It seems that the fugitive's home return will not be long. Both suspects, Lai and Jia might not be able to escape this time. The Chinese audience are eager to see the finale of this political soap-opera after seven years of waiting.

18 Apr18:45

good observation Submitted by

By hoidick

good observation
Submitted by chong on Tue, 2006-10-24 11:26.

You notice how the government manipulated our memory of a scandal and how it's related to current politics. It's a great job. That should be the responsiblity of our media, including independent media, to see through the smoke screen made by the government. Thanks Absurdfool.
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I still believe in our media's professionalism
Submitted by Absurdfool on Tue, 2006-10-24 14:51.

I believe the Hu-Wen duo could be some reformists, but not opportunists.
The regime is going more transparant under their rule.
But I also believe that the merry-go-round tradition of communist party politics is something that have deep root.
The duo might not seem as consolidated in their rule of the party as western media believe.
The four old men's show-up could mean differently if we add more bits-and-pieces into the yet-to-be-finished picture.
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chinese politics
Submitted by oiwan on Tue, 2006-10-24 10:26.

When i first entered the newspapers company, my supervisor was from mainland china. the first thing he taught me was how to read from photos taken by official news agencies. who is at the centered, who is sidelined, who is missing.

The chinese politics is still centering around people, which is sad to see.

From what i read and heard, and are backing different political sectors up (this is rather new).

And recently the internet polices are also giving some hints for political issues by censoring key words, such as huang zu 黃菊 after the shanghai anti corruption case.

This is funny, because they think they are keeping the pandora box from opening, in fact, they are telling people, hey, here is the box! i am keeping it away from it.
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i see that too
Submitted by Absurdfool on Tue, 2006-10-24 10:44.

reading chinese news between the lines might find hints that could possibily open the pandora box of chinese politics.
it's a kind of scrabble game