Background and Research Question

在文檔中 習近平「打虎」:反貪抑或肅敵? - 政大學術集成 (頁 9-13)

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. Background and Research Question

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Chapter 1: Introduction

In the first chapter, we portray a general picture of the ongoing anticorruption campaign in the Communist Party of China (CCP) under Xi Jinping’s (習近平) command. We associate it with the acts of Xi’s two predecessors, Jiang Zemin (江澤 民) and Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), and establish a pattern that anticorruption upsurge is observed in all of their early tenures. We then raise the question of what motivate these anticorruption campaigns: a pursuit of either regime legitimacy from good governance, or personal autocracy by purging enemies.

This chapter reviews the relevant literature on corruption, especially in the context of communist China, and tries to answer it in an analytical framework provided by authoritarian politics theories. Anticorruption campaign brings about an environment that a new autocrat needs for the purpose of breaking the power-sharing arrangements that cage him. The last section of this chapter lays out the research design of this thesis, including its unit of analysis, time scope, empirical evidence to be examined and strategies to do that, and source of data.

1.1. Background and Research Question

Why do all the three paramount leaders of CCP in the post-Deng era begin their tenures by a furious anticorruption campaign? It seems an established pattern that the coronation of a new autocrat is followed by the downfall of high-ranking cadres for corruption. Jiang Zemin took the office of the General Secretary of CCP in 1989, yet he lived in the shadow of party elders like Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) and Chen Yun (陳 雲) and military strongmen like the Yang Brothers (楊家將, yang jia jiang). It was not

that Jiang truly ruled the party-state in name and in reality (Kou, 2010a). Soon after that, Chen Xitong (陳希同), the Party Chief of Beijing Municipality who had been for long rumored as a major challenger of Jiang’s authority, was put under inspection by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in July 1995 and finally sentenced to imprisonment in 1998. Chen was the only member of the Political Bureau of CCP Central Committee (Politburo) who was investigated and put in jail for corruption during Jiang’s rule.

A similar drama was put on show in the early stage of Hu Jintao’s tenure. According to the annual reports of Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the number of senior state officials – either defined as those at or above vice-divisional level or as those at or above vice-provincial/ministerial level2 – who are prosecuted for corruption reaches its peak of Hu Jintao’s entire tenure in 2004 (Chang, 2014). The year of 2004 is the second full year after Hu became General Secretary and he fully took over the supreme power no earlier than the September of this year when he was elected the Chairmen of Central Military Commission (CMC)3 at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee. Two years later, his Politburo decided to investigate into Chen Liangyu (陳良宇), the Party Chief of Shanghai Municipality and a Politburo member, for reasons of corruption in September 2006.

Xi Jinping, like his predecessors, began his rule with an iron fist punch against corruption. The scale of his campaign has gone beyond expectations of most Chinese

1 In this thesis, “Central Committee” refers to the CCP Central Committee unless specified otherwise.

2 The full-/vice-provincial level is alternatively and equally known as full-/vice-ministerial level. The usage of these two alternatives depends on the administrative context of discussion. This thesis uses “full-/vice-provincial level” to refer to either of them.

3 There are two bodies sharing the same name of CMC in China: one as a party organ and the other as a state organ. The party CMC and state CMC are institutionally parallel in the sense that they are exactly the same organ composed of the same leadership, supported by the same staff and exercising the same powers. The tenures of two CMCs do not completely coincide: the party CMC is elected in party congresses, usually in the autumn or winter of a year, while the state CMC is re-elected accordingly in the following National People’s Congress in the next March. During the brief periods of different leaderships, the party CMC is in actual military command. Therefore,

“CMC” in this thesis refers to the party organ unless specified otherwise.

retired national leaders, 4 full members of Central Committee, 10 alternative members of Central Committee and 2 CCDI members. Even retirement5 is no longer a safe exit.

Zhou Yongkang (周永康), the former security tsar and a Standing Member of the 17th Politburo, and Xu Caihou (徐才厚), a retired Vice-Chairman of CMC, are often referred to as the two symbolic figures down in the campaign to prove the seriousness of Xi Jinping in combatting corruption. Zhou is the first and so far the only full-state-level leader that has ever been taken down for corruption in CCP history and Xu was the highest-ranking military officer on this 90-year long list by the time of his downfall.6

What makes Xi’s campaign different from the precedents of Jiang and Hu is its massive scale. The number of tigers in the early stage of Xi’s tenure far exceeds that of the same periods of Jiang and Hu. In his first two years from 2002 to 2004, Hu Jintao brought down only 19 tigers, while Xi Jinping put down 82 tigers from 2012 to 2014, more than 4 times the number of Hu. In fact, before the 18th Party Congress, the total number of CCP cadres at or above vice-provincial level who are punished because of corruption is merely 133 in the entire history of the party (Yang, 2013).7 It takes Xi 29 months to strike down almost as many tigers as all his predecessors did in total.

4 “Tiger” in this thesis is defined as a senior cadre at or above vice-provincial level or a military officer at or above vice-army level who is disciplined due to corruption. For a brief illustration of relevant administrative rank levels of CCP cadres, see Appendix 4.

5 “Retirement” in this thesis refers to not only full retirement but semi-retirement too, the latter of which is known as “retirement from leading posts” (退居二線, tuiju erxian). Accordingly, a retired cadre in this thesis can be completely relieved from any public service or be shifted to those “second-front” (二線, erxian) units, including but not limited to People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

6 Guo Boxiong (郭伯雄) has surpassed Xu Caihou in the military tiger ranking. Falling in April 2015, Guo was a Vice-Chairman of CMC between 2002 and 2012, but he ranked second in CMC members while Xu ranked third.

7 The original figure in Yang’s statistics is 136 but it includes 3 tigers struck down by Xi Jinping. According to another study (Zhang, 2012), there have been 76 cadres, at or above vice-provincial level, criminalized for bribery in CCP history.

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As we see from Table 1-1, 72 civilian cadres and 32 military officers were put under disciplinary inspection for corruption in the first 29 months of Xi’s rule. The only full-state-level leader among them is Zhou Yongkang. The other two vice-state-level civilian leaders are Su Rong (蘇榮) and Ling Jihua (令計劃), both as Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of CPPCC. Among the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officers, the only national leader is Xu Caihou.

Table 1-1: Number of Tigers in Xi Jinping’s Early Tenure Civilian Cadres

Rank Level1 FS VS FP VP Total

Number of Tiger 1 2 7 62 72

Military Officers

Rank Level2 VS FMR VMR FA VA Total

Number of Tiger 1 0 6 10 15 32

Note:

1. Civilian rank levels: FS: full-state level; VS: vice-state level; FP: full-provincial level; VP:

vice-provincial level.

2. Military rank levels: VS: vice-state level; FMR: full-military-regional level; VMR:

vice-military-regional level; FA: full-army level; VA: vice-army level. An army officer at full-/vice-army level is generally equal to a civilian official at full-/vice-provincial level. Full- and vice-military-regional levels in army ranking are between full-/vice-state and full-/vice-provincial levels in civilian ranking.

Against the background of this massive scale, is corruption the sole consideration when Xi Jinping’s tiger-hunting machine looks for targets? The Bo Xilai (薄熙來) scandal from early 2012 to late 2013, full of Shakespearean drama, gives us a glimpse of the fierce factional infighting going on in Beijing politics. Many suspect, quite reasonably, that Xi may need to take advantage of a political movement, e.g. in the name of cleansing corruption, to fight his enemies so that he can quickly consolidate authority. The full-scale purge of Zhou Yongkang’s followers in this anticorruption campaign seems to confirm the theory. Further, it has come to our attention that there have been no major princeling (太子黨) or member of the Shanghai Gang (上海幫)

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on the tiger list. Does this imply an element of factional politics in Xi’s corruption fighting? Is Xi Jinping actually fighting corruption, or merely fighting his enemies?

This is the question of this thesis. The cadres under study are those at or above vice-provincial level and were brought down in Xi Jinping’s tiger hunt from November 2012 to March 2015. The thesis focuses only on the most high-ranking corruption cases because they are more “political” than thousands of lower-ranking cases. A study on these tigers is expected to tell us more about the factional dynamics, if any, in anticorruption.

The time scope of this thesis serves theoretical purposes. The early stage of an autocrat’s rule is a period of uncertainties. On one hand, the new autocrat attempts to consolidate his power among regime elites and set new parameters (or as Xi himself calls them, the “New Normal”, 新常態, xin changtai) for the rest of his tenure, pointing out the direction he shall lead his country toward. On the other, the autocracy is relatively vulnerable to challenges from both regime elites and the general public.

These challenges can be legitimate – from the regime’s perspective – like formal impeachment; they can also be illegitimate, like coup d’etat of military officers or revolution by the people. It is a period of unsettled equilibrium of political dynamics and it is extraordinarily interesting to see what role anticorruption campaign plays in this process.

在文檔中 習近平「打虎」:反貪抑或肅敵? - 政大學術集成 (頁 9-13)