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China's Worthless Stooges

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Below Beijing’s leadership, who runs China’s sprawling bureaucracy? The cadre of loyal communist worthless stooges.

Yesterday The Washington Times published an article I wrote entitled “China: Less than the Whole Truth.” I pointed out that after more than seven months of bad news concerning Chinese food, drug and other product safety, the vice minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China said, “We can guarantee food safety.”

Anyone who could read knew that not to be true: both in China and everywhere else in the world.

In another possible case of the bureaucrats talking beyond their understanding and ability, The Telegraph newspaper in the UK reported today that “Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.”

The Telegraph’s report continues, “Described as China’s ‘nuclear option’ in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.”

One source the British newspaper cited is Xia Bin, finance chief at the Development Research Centre (which has cabinet rank).

The second source is He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

A British friend in Beijing said to us, “Here is the problem. Because so many party members, even of fairly high rank, make unsubstantiated remarks, it is hard to extract truth and reality from all the other rubbish one hears. That makes these party members and their remarks very dangerous”

Presto: exactly the problem. China’s communist party members are at the least undisciplined and badly directed. Or some see the scheming evil hand at play. Consider Hu Jintao telling the functionaries to get the word out, and then reserving denial for himself.

However you figure things, there is always a layer of deceit when dealing with the Chinese. Even at the top of the government.

In the case of the food safety controversy, why would a seemingly high but certainly not elite member of the communist party and government bureaucracy say something in public that was so patently wrong? Why would a member of the government of China make a statement so obviously wrong that journalists like me laughed at the red meat provided by such a preposterous statement?

I thought I knew the answers but many others helped out by sending me email. Several sources are British, European or American expatriates living and working inside China so it is better not to disclose their names.

One asked, “Don’t you know that this is an indictment of communism and the communist system everywhere? When jobs are doled out because of party loyalty instead of experience and competence, you end up with the village idiot running the local government.”

I did know. And in my email back to this Brit Expat (he won’t mind my slang) I said, the tiers of government starting just below the elite that run China are filled with “worthless stooges.”

My friend agreed wholeheartedly.

In the case of the two party members making threatening noises about U.S. financial system, President Bush had the right answer: he doubted the report was based on sources from the office of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

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John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.
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