Shanxi Circle and Ling Jihua: Nest Corruption, Not Faction

在文檔中 習近平「打虎」:反貪抑或肅敵? - 政大學術集成 (頁 81-86)

Chapter 4: Factions and Circles in Tiger Network

4.5. Shanxi Circle and Ling Jihua: Nest Corruption, Not Faction

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from Gu Junshan. (Zhai, 2014b) Therefore, the Xu Caihou case is predominantly about economic corruption and the affected PLA generals are related to Xu not by professional colleagueship yet by bribery. It explains why in our network Xu has nothing more than a small-sized circle that is much less significant than expected. In a word, Xu’s circle is too small in size to qualify as a factional group.

4.5. Shanxi Circle and Ling Jihua: Nest Corruption, Not Faction

The last circle, Shanxi Circle, has 12 tigers. Two of them, Fang Wenping and Huang Xianjun (黃獻軍), are PLA generals who had served in Shanxi Provincial Military District. Two tigers, Shen Weichen and Liang Bin, had been promoted or transferred away before they were disciplined. One tiger, Sun Zhaoxue (孫兆學), left the province early in his career. One tiger, Jin Daoming, was from Beijing and transferred to Shanxi Province in 2006. The other 6 Shanxi tigers – Du Shanxue, Ling Zhengce, Chen Chuanping, Nie Chunyu, Bai Yun and Ren Renhou – are all Shanxi natives with their entire careers established in their original province.

As extensive as Shanxi Circle is, there is no clear patron among these tigers. There are two possible candidates judging by their rank level. Fang Wenping, a full-army-level officer, was the commander of Shanxi Military District before he retired. But as a military officer, he was unlikely to provide civilian cadres with patronage. The other one is Shen Weichen, who was promoted to Central Publicity Department and later became a full-provincial-level cadre after he left Shanxi. He is also unlikely to be a patron for Shanxi tigers because he was not a superordinate to his Shanxi colleagues when he was there. He was the Party Chief of Taiyuan Municipality, the provincial capital, before he was transferred away. Therefore, neither Fang Wenping nor Shen Weichen can be the patron of these Shanxi tigers, and a circle without a patron is by no means a factional group.

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The really possible patron of this circle, as people widely speculate, is outside Shanxi.

Ling Jihua, the only fallen national leader without his own circle, is a younger brother of Ling Zhengce, one of the Shanxi tigers. The Ling family is a local powerhouse in Shanxi and, according to some reports, is extraordinarily active and well connected in local political and commercial communities. (Liu, 2014) The administrative rank level and enormous political influence of Ling Jihua in CCP surely qualifies him as a factional patron if he does have one. Moreover, it is publicly reported that Ling Jihua had been purposefully organizing a society that only took in high-ranking officials and outstanding businessmen from Shanxi Province (The Xishan Society, 西山會, xi

shan hui, see Tian & Luo, 2015). It is not entirely impossible that Ling Jihua is the

actual leader of this Shanxi Circle.

We disagree for two reasons. First, Ling Jihua himself left Shanxi Province in 1979 and had not worked in the province ever since. Ling Jihua does not have colleague relations with any of the Shanxi tigers, and therefore we lack evidence for the speculation that political exchanges – not economic bribery – exist between Ling Jihua and Shanxi tigers. Even if we relaxed the tie formation principles and recognized kinship, Ling Jihua would be linked to only one Shanxi tiger, which is still far from making his local network a hub-spoke structure. Second, and maybe more importantly, it is very difficult for a CCP cadre to grow his influence within the party if he does not possess experience in multiple provinces and institutions. Lacking multi-provincial/ministerial experience, the Shanxi tigers have little potential for further advancement and little leverage in a political struggle if they are engaged in one. (Kou, 2010b) In other words, a factional group composed of Shanxi natives only will not be of much help in a potential power struggle according to the organizational and political logics of CCP. Therefore, one may reasonably doubt if Ling Jihua would invest his resources into offering patronage to Shanxi Circle now that the payback is

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so limited. As the tentative conclusion of this section, it might be more reasonable to take Shanxi Circle as a typical nest corruption case than a factional group with a patron who has never worked with any of his clients.

4.6. Summary

In this chapter, we take a closer look at the 5 circles identified in Chapter 3. After cautious examination, 3 of them are recognized as factional groups while the other 2 are not. Table 4-1 presents the summaries of these 5 circles.

2 national leaders and a senior cadre at full-provincial level lead the 3 factional groups.

Zhou Yongkang is the only full-state-level leader who falls in this campaign so far and his circle of 17 members has the most extensive structure. Many of Zhou’s subordinates have well-designed career paths of advancement in multiple provinces/institutions under Zhou’s patronage, including CNPC, MLR, Sichuan Province, Hainan Province, etc. Zhou Yongkang Circle is a legitimate faction and the priority target of Xi Jinping’s campaign. Su Rong Circle is the second largest faction in the network with 11 members in total. Su is a vice-state-level leader himself and many of his followers, most notably from Jiangxi Province, are considerably influential in CCP with their multi-provincial experience. Bai Enpei, a senior full-provincial-level cadre who made into Central Committee even before Zhou and Su, leads the last factional group. Bai’s Yunnan-based faction with 8 members is relatively small-sized but complete in structure.

2 circles do not qualify as factional groups. The circle of Xu Caihou is too small in size with only 4 followers. Its colleague relations exclusively derive from PLA General Politics Department, which limits its capacity of political action. Although Xu Caihou is a vice-state-level leader, senior enough to patronize a faction, his case is

fragile way. Shanxi Circle, the most infamous nest case, seems more about economic corruption than factional politics. 8 of its 12 members form a clique with maximal density. Most of Shanxi Circle members have their entire careers built in Shanxi Province only, and many of them are even natives from Shanxi Province. This geographical/functional constitution brings it into question that how effective it can be in a potential power struggle. Therefore, in spite of wide speculation, it is doubtful if Ling Jihua, a national leader and a younger brother of one of the Shanxi tigers, would take all the trouble to patronize such a politically weak group.

Table 4-1: Circles in Summary

Leader1 Size2 Rank Levels3 Provinces/Institutions4

Factional Groups

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Leader1 Size2 Rank Levels3 Provinces/Institutions4

Shanxi

Circle

None 12 FP (DM): 1 FA: 1 VP (AM): 1 VP (DM): 1 VA: 1 VP: 7

Shanxi

PLA Shanxi Provincial Military District

Note:

1. “Leader” indicates the possible patron of each circle, i.e. the highest-ranking tiger.

2. “Size” indicates the number of tigers in each circle.

3. “Rank Levels” indicates the tiger frequencies at each rank level. An asterisk * refers to the rank level of the circle leader. FS: full-state level; VS: vice-state level; VMR: vice-military-regional level; FP:

full-provincial level; FA: full-army level; VP: vice-provincial level; VA: vice-army level; FM: full membership of Central Committee; AM: alternative membership of Central Committee; DM:

membership of CCDI.

4. “Provinces/Institutions” indicates the working units where circle members form their intra-circle collogue relations.

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在文檔中 習近平「打虎」:反貪抑或肅敵? - 政大學術集成 (頁 81-86)