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GAMBIA-L  October 2007, Week 4

GAMBIA-L October 2007, Week 4

Subject:

Re: New Statesman-The great bore of the people

From:

Haruna Darbo <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Gambia and related-issues mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 22 Oct 2007 20:22:25 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

 
Thanx for sharing Karim. Like Lindsey, I actually brought myself to  
listening to Who's in Town's speech. It was short on specifics and long on  reminders 
as if a more specific speech to the faithful preceded the televised  speech by 
CHina TV. I was a bit disappointed so I could not see the whole  episode. I 
might have gone to sleep at the marina where I was watching it. I was  so 
looking forward to it that I accepted the invite from my Chinese friend at  his 
houseboat to watch it. What a dichotomy. My friend is the quintessential  
capitalist but he shares that Chinese cannot show appreciation outwardly for any  
value in capitalism. SO I kinda understood Who's in Town's reluctance to give  
credit even as China's balance of trade is testimony to capitalist yield. The  
speech just did not have any substance in it. The crowd was impressive however  
and the hall well-appointed and stately.
 
Haroun Al Khairawan. MQDT. Darbo. The title could have given ample clue  were 
I not to have been so excited. My friend agrees too. When you have time,  
take a look at the sand mining operation Carnegie of UK is engaged in in Gambia.  
They had conducted similar operations in Senegal. Easy. 
 
In a message dated 10/22/2007 5:20:52 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

World  Affairs
The great bore of the people  Lindsey Hilsum
Published 18 October 2007

Print  version   
Listen   
RSS  

The Chinese economy is like a runaway horse - the government is  torn between 
trying to rein it back, or just clinging on. The leaders' main  fear is of 
falling off
Never before have I felt at one with the  former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. 
But halfway through President Hu Jintao's  two-and-a-half-hour speech at the 
17th Congress of the Communist Party of  China, as the 81-year-old's eyelids 
drooped and his head flopped on to his  chest, I experienced a certain fellow 
feeling.
The speech had the  pithy title "Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with 
Chinese  Characteristics and Strive for New Victories in Building a 
Moderately  Prosperous Society in All Respects". It was delivered in a monotone. 
President  Hu clapped himself at the best bits, as a cue for his audience of  
apparatchiks. Two frail and elderly delegates had to be ushered off the stage,  
presumably for resuscitation.
The speech contained not a single new  thought, but rehashed a dozen tired 
slogans: "Harmonious Society", "Scientific  Outlook on Development", "Socialism 
with Chinese Characteristics".  China-watchers - an even more specialised and 
possibly eccentric bunch than  birdwatchers - will now be analysing all 64 
pages for clues to what it all  means for China's future.
The party congress occurs only once every  five years, so is billed as an 
important event. For months now, everything  that happens has been attributed to 
its imminence. Petitioners have been  driven out of Beijing, human rights 
lawyers beaten up, and - according to  Reporters sans Fronti鋨es - thousands of 
websites closed down (the Shanghai  Daily reported 18,401), all apparently to 
create the right environment for the  more than 2,200 party delegates. So 
nervous were the authorities about Hu Jia  and Zeng Jinyan - a young dissident 
couple I have written about before - that  a dozen policemen accompanied them to 
hospital for Jinyan's recent pregnancy  scan. Yet I was hard-pressed to find a 
Chinese person, other than journalists,  who was taking the slightest interest. 
"It will be annoying if it disrupts the  traffic," said an elegant woman in 
her mid-forties whom I met at a  party.
"It will be important only if it makes economic policy," said  a friend who 
works in the private sector. But China's economic course is set.  President Hu 
was clear that "reform and opening up" - the economic policy  started by Deng 
Xiaoping 30 years ago - will continue. He has said many times  that he worries 
about the growing gap between rich and poor, urban and rural,  but at this 
forum he had no new policies to offer.
All policy debate  is secret; no initiative is announced until it has been 
agreed by the inner  circle. On the outside, all is unity and harmony, but the 
Chinese Communist  Party is like any other political party anywhere in the 
world - riven by  factionalism and intrigue. The China-watchers have been 
speculating for weeks  about who's in and who's out of the Politburo Standing 
Committee, whether the  appointment of X is a boost for Jiang's faction, and whether 
Hu has enough  authority to push for Y to be replaced by Z.
I'm trying to resist  getting sucked into all this, because I'm not convinced 
that it matters. The  Chinese economy is like a runaway horse - the 
government is torn between  trying to rein it back, or just clinging on and hoping that 
it slows down of  its own accord. The leaders' main fear is of falling off. 
People say Jiang's  faction favoured no-holds-barred growth, while Hu is more 
left-wing because he  wants to rebalance society, but maybe that's just because 
Jiang came first.  None of these leaders has the vision - for good or ill - 
of Mao Zedong or Deng  Xiaoping. President Hu is like the CEO of a successful 
multinational - the  shareholders know he's boring, but at least he does a 
competent job. Chinese  leaders don't have to spark excitement among the public, 
because they are not  courting anyone's vote.
As I sat in the Great Hall, trying not to  nod off like Jiang, I thought of 
how China's leaders have brought prosperity  to hundreds of millions. 
Universities are graduating well-qualified students;  the stock market is soaring; the 
trade surplus has reached $1.4trn. Yet the  party still claims to be following 
Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought.  Real ach iev e ments are submerged 
in mind-deadening verbiage. No wonder the  Chinese people aren't listening. 
Lindsey Hilsum is China  correspondent for Channel 4 News
Post this article to

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