[EN] CA – Law and Power in Xi’s China – Dec 2013
– LAW AND POWER IN XI’S CHINA –
1. The constitutional government controversy (Hugo Winkler)
2. Xi Jinping and the Princelings (Jérôme Doyon)
3. Reviewing Party discipline in the shadow of shuanggui (Marc Julienne)
4. Democracy, influence, and political infighting in Taiwan (Tanguy Lepesant)
In China, official party statements tell only half the story. The power of China’s preeminent leader, Xi Jinping, relies on a mix of strong personalistic ties where the scions of ruling families play a large role, and an increased emphasis on rules, top-down management and anti-corruption struggle. Constitutionalism and rule of law are out and the Party dominates the scene. It is political power that decides on the limits of law, and not the other way around.
The latest issue of China Analysis published by ECFR and Asia Centre focuses on how formal rules and arbitrary power coexist in China.
- Corruption: In 2013 China’s politics, already shaken by foreign disclosures of some leaders’ wealth, has been rocked byan anti-corruption campaign under Xi Jinping and his chief Party whip, Wang Qishan. . The trials of the Bo Xilai clan and of former railway minister Liu Zhijun made world headlines, as do on-going investigations into senior Party officials. “Shuanggui”, a special process outside any legal framework, has become an anti-corruption process within the Communist Party that is applauded by some, and feared by many others.
- The role of XI Jinping: There is an intense debate about the role of Xi Jinping in Chinese politics. A media onslaught against constitutional rule has raised questions: is he a target of this because he is leading a harsh anti-corruption movement, or, more likely, is he quietly backing the conservatives? And is he doing that out of genuine belief, or as a ploy to move more freely in the direction of economic reform? He will be watched at home and abroad on this tightrope act between authority and change.
- The influence of the princelings: Xi Jinping belongs to the group of heirs from the families of the first generations of PRC leaders. Is this a unified faction, does it have its conflicts, and how does President Xi use this basis as a douce of his influence?
“Absolute power destroys legality, but even limited power challenges it from time to time (…) Xi Jinping does not see a contradiction between authoritarian Party rule from the top and market-driven developments. “