“Is Hu Jintao just buying time?”

China Media Project has a new post analyzing the speech Hu Jintao gave yesterday, marking the 90th anniversary. Director Qian Gang goes over what he took away from the specifics of what Hu did and did not mention:

While yesterday’s speech does not differ greatly from Hu Jintao’s political report to the 17th Party Congress in 2007, there are a number of points that clearly mark a step back.

Qian Gang says: “He is unable to answer those questions which have received ever more urgent attention in China in recent years: rights defense, the fight against corruption and political reform. He has great praise for the Party’s achievements in the area of democratic politics, but as for the future there is no vision or promise.”

Qian Gang also notes that the formula of the “four rights,” which Hu spoke of in 2007 — namely, the right to know (知情权), right to participate (参与权), right to express (表达权) and right to monitor (监督权) — are completely absent in yesterday’s speech. Nor was there any mention of “supervision by public opinion,” or yulun jiandu (舆论监督), a term routinely appearing in political reports and past anniversary speeches and denoting the importance of the press and public opinion in monitoring power.

The only portion of Hu Jintao’s speech that was not self-congratulatory came in the 24th minute. Following his litany of praise for the historic victories of the Chinese Communist Party and the people of China, Hu said the Party now faces internal challenges that are “more strenuous and pressing than at any point in the past.” He stressed that the Party faces “four dangers” — lost vitality (精神懈怠), insufficient capacity (能力不足), alienation from the people (脱离群众) and rampant corruption (消极腐败).

But while Hu gave a nod to the problem of official corruption, which is now a source of broad public anger, no substantive action was mentioned. He did not, for example, raise the issue of declaration of assets by officials (官员财产申报).

In sum, Hu Jintao’s speech yesterday was cautious in the extreme, a further sign that the mood of glorious celebration in China is backgrounded by a deep unease.

Not surprising- if anything, a confirmation of many people are noticing these days. The CCP has no plan for how to move forward, other than keep busting heads if people make too much noise.

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