Tag Archives: corruption

Bo Xilai and the Jets of Power

29 Aug

bo xilaiThe local press over here has been dominated during the past few days by the sensational trial of Bo Xilai – former Chongqing party secretary and charismatic womaniser, whose estranged wife was recently convicted of murdering British business man Neil Heywood.

Whether you believe, as many Chinese do, that Bo was a victim of a vindictive wife and party rivals who didn’t care for his brand of populist Mao 2.0 politics or, as many other Chinese do, that he ran a Mafia-like operation for decades, swindling, extorting, embezzling and intimidating, it doesn’t really matter.

His trial was all for show – a show of power for Xi Jinping and the rest of the new Politburo who are trying to put clear red water between themselves and the previous administration with a well-publicised crack down on Party corruption.

The unfortunate truth for them – neatly suppressed by the Great Firewall and China’s ubiquitous Public Security Bureau – is that for every Bo there are thousands of others. Some are little Bo’s, others are probably Bo-sized in their corruption, but all share his greed, opportunism and insane Hungry Hippo-like grab for power and wealth.

This, to be brutally honest, is what happens when one political party remains in power for over 60 years. Where’s the alternative?

Well, they drove over it with tanks in 1989, or put it under house arrest till it died.

Corruption is so endemic there’s even a story knocking around that it’s the reason why the government refuses to issue any banknotes larger than 100 yuan – because that would make it easier to physically hand over large sums as bribes.

That said, Bo wasn’t the biggest news story of the week for me in China. Oh no.

Hubei’s Chutian City paper had a corker of a story about a young boy who was hurled two metres in the air by one of those annoying multi-coloured fountains that have started appearing in city centres everywhere.

The kid was apparently playing in the fountain when a high pressure jet blasted him into the stratosphere before gravity brought the unfortunate crashing down to earth (concrete) with a bloodied nose.

I for one am hoping this incident is publicised as widely as possible. Not only to stop lazy urban planners across the friggin’ planet from installing these depressing aqua features in public places, but from stopping screaming little shits turning city centres everywhere into de facto chav-infested leisure centres.

hubei fountain

You can just make out the boy flying through the air upside down in this first pic, and there he is all beaten up in the second. Ouch.

Being as this is China, some unscrupulous fountain manufacturing company with little regard for heath and safety has no doubt signed a nationwide deal for  the fucking things after lobbing a sackful of yuan at the right Party cadre.

As Beijing Cream reports, China has previous when it comes to overly aggressive water features.

In 2006 a 19-year-old Henan lassie had her stomach rearranged by an angry water jet, and just a fortnight ago an eight-year-old in Shandong had to undergo emergency surgery after fountain literally ruptured his rectum.

Parents of China take note: if you don’t want your children subjected to an impromptu colonic, keep them well clear.

Can you hear the little piggies? Oh no, they’re all dead…

14 Mar

xi jinpingSome breaking news just in from China. Xi Jinping, already anointed general secretary of the Communist Party last November and PLA chief, has won a nail-biting contest which went right down to the wire after he saw off no-comers to claim the presidency of his country.

Cocky Xi, 59, said “I thought I had a chance when the only political party in the country elected me unanimously as its leader that I might just be able to squeeze over the line and I’m glad to say that all my hard work campaigning door-to-door has paid off. I’m dedicating this one to the PEOPLE!”

Now, of course that’s not what Xi said. It was a simple lampoon. But I hope it’s at least partially successful in expressing a tiny bit of cynicism at today’s ‘election’, during which national broadcaster CCTV actually reported that the National People’s Congress (aka China’s annual ‘parliament’) took a break to count the votes. A break to count the votes. Yeah, and make sure you do it carefully people because every…vote…counts. If that isn’t democracy in action, I don’t know what is.

In the end Xi secured 2,952 votes, with one brave soul voting against and three abstensions. Seriously, did someone lose their fucking marbles? They voted against? Before you have a pop at the Chinese presidential elections, though, check out the voter turnout. President Xi now has a 99.86 per cent mandate to do whatever he and his seven-man Politburo team, and of course all the shadowy factional power string-pullers, put their mind to. In your face Obama.

So while that one poor soul who didn’t vote for Xi can expect a swift exit from front-line politics, what can the rest of us look forward to from Xi’s China?  Well, less ostentatious displays of wealth from cadres for sure – in fact, the austerity/corruption crackdown has already begun, primarily because it makes central government look good. Hopefully that will also mean fewer instances of spoilt princelings wrapping their Ferraris around motorway bridges whilst getting sucked off by high class hookers. Actually, no, I’d quite like that to continue, if it keeps the general population of these arrogant little runts down.

We can certainly expect to see more effort to turn the whole smog thing round. The pollution levels in Beijing and other cities regularly go off the scale. I mean literally, they don’t even have measurements for how fucked people’s lungs are getting. Fujian province has even marketed itself to tourists on the back of its supposedly superior air quality with Partridge-esque slogans such as: “Welcome to a breath of fresh air”, and, “Take a deep breath. You’re in Fujian”. This interesting campaign was only curtailed recently when hundreds of dead piglets were found in a ditch in the province, contaminating the water and turning the air rather sour. Nice one Fujian.

Yes. Dead pigs. We can certainly expect a whole heap more public health scandals of this kind. In fact, over 6,000 of the oinky critters have been fished out of Shanghai’s  Huangpu river in recent days. In response to concerns that the water, which is processed into drinking H2O, was contaminated, President Xi remarked that a good “citizen test” to see if a river’s water is safe is to get the local mayor to go for a swim in it. Fancy a punt on the Huangpu Xi? Thought not.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it seems that the reason for the mass porcine disaster-cide is that diseased pigs were being killed and dumped in the river upstream after a local government crackdown meant they could no longer be slaughtered for eventual sale as processed pork-style products. Yes, diseased and dying pigs slaughtered for meat on an as-yet-unknowable scale. Forget randy monkeys, this is probably how AIDS started.