Liu Tienan humpty-dumptied / Diary

Off the Horse

The term “severe violations of discipline” is a common euphemism for corruption, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) writes in its online edition today, in connection with an investigation against Liu Tienan (刘铁男), deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). I’m wondering if that definition of the violation term is 100 percent correct. There may be other severe kinds of violation of party discipline, too, and besides, if corruption constituted one of them, which top leader could keep his desk? Never been corrupt through all the decades?

The term as used by the SCMP doesn’t refer to Liu himself here, but to another vice-ministerial-level official brought down before, in the current anti-graft campaign. Usually, corruption seems to become a topic when too many opponents agree that one of their comrades must go.

But this story is somewhat different from the usual downfall tales: reportedly, it was a journalist, Luo Changping (罗昌平), deputy chief editor of Caijing magazine (财经杂志), who first investigated Liu’s record, and published his findings on December 6 last year, according to Asia Pacific Daily (APD). And Liu didn’t fall off the horse right away: he appeared at the Sino-Russian energy talks, at talks with the party secretary of Tibet, and on other occasions.

However, his name wouldn’t appear again in public reports after January 30, writes APD. By then, he had apparently been humpty-dumptied.

Luo Changping reportedly posted allegations against Liu on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog platform. Microblogs are often the medium of choice for journalists when censorship would be likely on actual articles in papers or magazines, if printed or online.

[Update (May 14, 2013): In December, Caijing published an article accusing Liu Tienan’s wife and son of illegal business dealings, according to the BBC.]


Not too frequent dustclouds this spring, even though I saw two modest, tornado-shaped swirls moving across the plain top of the mountain (a mountain by local standards) next to here last week. I was on my way home at the time, and watched them moving.

Amost rainy - May 12, 2013

Amost rainy – May 12, 2013, some three hours after sunrise

It was unpleasant to think about what drought and wind are doing to the topsoil, but it was a great sight at the same time. I kept watching the swirls for a few minutes, until they had reached a cornfied, above which they withered.

But this spring isn’t nearly as dry as the two previous ones. The garden looks good, and vegetables, potatos and young trees are all growing, nearly without irrigation.

3 Comments to “Liu Tienan humpty-dumptied / Diary”

  1. Thanks for the link, Neru! No, I hadn’t seen this, but I believe that Moses’ suggestion that this would be particularly dramatic. The Economist sort of “warned” earlier this month that by talking about the Chinese dream without defining the notion (yet), Xi left it to the public to define the dream by itself.

    In this context, it would actually make sense, for Xi not least, to put some brakes on such definition processes. I see no reason to believe that the harsh denunciation of Western political models described by Moses run counter to Xi’s agenda. Or did Moses mention one that I’ve overlooked?

    Last year, there was a lot of talk that North Korea’s new leader might be a reformist. Then, the talk turned into the opposite direction, and he became as stalinist as grandpa. Now, there is some talk about him being a reformer, once again. In either case, Xi or Kim, this looks somewhat like reading the tea leaves to me. Believing that they have no ideological core doesn’t make it so. 😉

    The earliest possible date when Xi might begin to define the “dream” by himself would be in fall this year, according to the Economist. I think even that would be unusually early.

    It’s tradition to let a hundred schools compete for a while – it happened under Mao, it happened under Deng (1976), in a more limited context, it happened with the concept of “soft power”, and after a while, a debate will be closed (not necessarily as harshly as under Mao or Deng, all the time). But somewhere, there will always be a debate, until the politbureau has made up its mind.


  2. Add: I believe that Moses’ suggestion that this would be particularly dramatic isn’t too substantial.


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