As the MacroPolo Institute explains in its introduction to the upcoming leadership shuffle at the 19th Party Congress later this month (see here for SupChina’s coverage of the Institute’s take on predicted leadership changes), “China’s quinquennial ‘selectoral cycle’ deserves as much attention as the U.S. presidential election typically commands. That is because it will profoundly influence the world’s second-largest economy and China’s relationship with the world.”
At SupChina, we wholly agree that the congress deserves close attention from media — though the attention it gets in China is quite different from the attention we are giving it. That’s because the primary ways that China’s authorities prepare for these all-important political events are to stifle public conversation of sensitive subjects and ramp up security to maximum levels in Beijing and beyond (see this roundup of the lock-down from CNBC).
Here are two interesting events in the lead-up to the congress:
- As Pang-Chieh Ho writes in a column for SupChina today, it has become increasingly clear that China’s censors revoked their previous approval of the premiere of a movie by famed director Feng Xiaogang 冯小刚, Youth (芳华 fānghuá). Apparently, authorities feared that the movie, which depicts a military dance troupe during the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War, could have sparked public conversation about sensitive subjects in international relations as well as the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).
- Fugitive billionaire Guo Wengui 郭文贵 has, from Washington, D.C., lobbed another round of sensational claims of corruption and conspiracy among China’s ruling elite, CNBC reports. At an event at the National Press Club, he said that China’s leaders were a “tiny group of Mafia, pure and simple,” and made a rhetorical flourish of Trumpian proportions by claiming a network of Chinese spies in the U.S. posed “100 times, or even 1,000 times” as great a threat to Americans as the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- As in the past, Guo provided little evidence for many of his claims, particularly the most outlandish ones (watch this point in the press conference where Guo appears to claim to know Kim Jong-un personally). Nevertheless, this spectacle is one that Beijing has also rushed to prevent, apparently succeeding earlier this week in pressuring the Hudson Institute to not host an event with Guo.
U.S. confronts China over suspected cyberattack as fugitive Guo Wengui appears in Washington / WSJ (paywall)
A dozen more Chongqing officials could be caught up in Sun Zhengcai corruption probe, sources say / SCMP
13 Chinese killed after fishing boat hits Hong Kong tanker off Japan / SCMP
Vatican insists it will continue to recognize Taiwan / SCMP
Hong Kong football fans boo China national anthem / BBC
Guess what Chinese travelers are bringing back home: VPNs / SCMP
Chinese state media report bloated battery in Apple’s iPhone 8 / Reuters
Will dockless share bikes, a Chinese innovation, be successful in D.C.? / CSIS
Microcredit lenders spin new business in China’s cashmere capital / Caixin