11/07/2013, 00.00
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Beijing, increasing number of attacks on a divided Party

by Bernardo Cervellera
No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions in Taiyuan and the attack on Tiananmen Square. But the targets were the Party’s symbols of the power. The people are disillusioned and divided. But above all, the Party itself is divided between reformists and the entrenched.

Rome (AsiaNews) - The perpetrators of yesterday's attack place in Taiyuan (Shanxi ) are still unknown . The "home-made" bombs killed one person and injured eight, in addition to damaging cars and windows of the surrounding area. The police called it "a deliberate act", but no one has claimed responsability. The same goes for the attack in Tiananmen Square on October 28 last, when an SUV exploded killing five people and injuring at least 30. The police accused "Uyghur terrorists" , but even here no claim was made.

All of these bombs and attacks have something unusual and at the same time predictable.

The unusual aspect is that they are targeting public objectives, honored by the corridors of power. The seven homemade bombs that exploded in Taiyuan targeted the provincial headquarters of the party, which manages the lives of tens of millions of inhabitants.

The SUV that exploded in Tiananmen Square had targeted the portrait of Mao Zedong that dominates the front of the Imperial Palace and the entrance to Zhongnanhai, the part of the building where the residences of the great Party leaders are located. So far riots and assaults on local Party offices, municipalities, police cars, all at a city level had been registered, with the population venting their anger over injustices suffered due to mayors, Party secretaries or village leaders. Now the symbols of great power are the main target: Tiananmen Square , where Mao held vast crowds in sway, the center of gravity of the empire, the place where the party massacred university students and workers on June 4, 1989, Taiyuan and Shanxi, the centres for mining and coal industries that have allowed China to make the giant leap into modernization , but also sink into a deadly pollution .

Another new element is the spread of the news of the attacks: in past years the public came to know about the clashes, the dead days or weeks later, but today , thanks to social networks the news is immediately out in the public domain.

This series of attacks - that public security can not stop and that censorship fails to choke - highlights a total lack of confidence in the Chinese Communist Party. Until a few years ago, the Chinese said the Party is violent, but brought us welfare and modernity. Today, the Party is looked at as a group of corrupt oligarchs who under the guise of "serving the people", exploit them as much as possible , accumulating riches and becoming billionaires in front of a population that is barely scraping by or living in poverty.

These attacks also reveal an aspect of disillusionment: for years the top leaders ( Jiang Zemin , Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping ) have been warning that if the members did not stop the Party from falling into the abyss of corruption, then the Party itself would be likely to end. But Party officials have remained deaf: the scandals of bribes, kickbacks , loans received from banks and condoned are the order of the day. Moreover, democracy activists who demanded that every member of the Party declares his or her riches, were arrested for " disturbing public order" .

Another element of disillusionment is that the sociologists from the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing have continuously warned that the Gini coefficient of instability in China, due to the abyss between rich and poor , has long been at the level of a third World country, which could easily spark riots and clashes with the police. In fact, in all these years there have been over 180 thousand revolts year: strikes, sit-ins, clashes with the police, factory occupations. There have been various reasons: the seizure of land from farmers to build residential centers sold at prices worth its weight in gold; groundwater pollution by industries, non-payment of wages to the workers.

Faced with this bleak reality, a part of the Party wants some reforms. At the end of the week, on November 9, the Third Party Plenum will be held in Beijing, which reportedly aims to end some monopolies of state-owned industries, facilitate private investment and provide social safety nets for farmers. All this means loss of political and economic power for some and an increase in expenses for the provincial governments.   Thus there are many who oppose it, pointing to the danger that these "overly liberal" steps are similar to those that led to the fall of the USSR.

Another hypothesis is that these attacks were fabricated to stop any reform, keep an iron fist and ensure the absolute power of the Party for another few years.


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See also
Third Party Plenum: secret (and perhaps non-existent ) reforms
Explosions in Taiyuan, outside the Communist Party headquarters. One dead and eight injured
Central Committee's plenum ends with 15 years worth of pledges
Central committee plenum to discuss limited reforms for Chinese farmers
One-child law and laojiaos, hopes and fears ahead of Plenum’s final document


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