A corruption probe has led to the dismissal of Chen Liangyu, the highest-ranked Communist official in Shanghai and key member of former Chairman Jiang Zemin‘s Shanghai Gang, a rival faction to the current administration headed by Chairman Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Where the hundred million dollars has gone is not yet clear, and most bloggers have focussed on the possible political motivation behind the bust, which—perhaps in preparation for next year's 17th National Congress—seems to have been a serious blow to the second-strongest political alliance in China today.
Shanghai officials above district and bureau chief were all forced to surrender their passports, in the event they try and flee.
Past Shanghai Party secretary [equivalent to mayor in Party hierarchy] and current member of the political standing committee Huang Ju's political future is being considered. The Shanghai pension fund case involves an amount which reaches into the tens of billions of RMB. According to overseas Chinese media reports, Huang's wife Yu Huiwen is a key figure in the pension funds case.
Officials at the district level and above's passports and Hong Kong and Macau travel permits were required to be handed in for safekeeping. Officials at the deputy level and above, in the case they need to leave the country, must report to the central discipline and inspection committee members and the central organization department for approval.
David Peng at An Anachronist's Life:
MSN Spaces blogger Yao Whai suggests that for all the talk in Beijing off cracking down on corruption, it seems the biggest busts only come every ten years or so, and heavily politicized at that:
Chinese News Net blogger Li Youqi:
各路诸侯的反应也将会很有趣。估计现在还 in shock。
Jiang Zemin got rid of the Beijing gang early on, now his own little brother has been gotten rid of by others using similar tactics. What goes around comes around.
I imagine Little Chen [Liangyu] was cast away by Old Jiang, who cut his losses to save the mission. Presumably, Little Hu [Jintao] will stop with Chen Liangyu, let Huang Ju off easy, let him back out. But if Old Jiang gives up just like that, won't the Shanghai Gang be done in? Once he's gone, what will be left for his children? That's why Old Jiang won't just give up so easily, for sure there will be a counterattack. Reactions from feudal lords of all stripes will be interesting. I imagine they're all still in shock.
Sohu blogger Vagabond:
Huang Ju and Cheng Liangyu have a very complicated relationship. They rely on each other. If Huang Ju's wife Yu Huiwen really has gotten deeply involved in Shanghai's welfare industry, with Chen Liangyu as Shanghai's #1 hand, it just goes to show what great economic benefits the wife of central government political standing committee members have. “Huang Ju's wife Yu Huiwen has countless sorts of contacts within Shanghai's social welfare. We can make two assumptions: one is that she deeply wrapped up in this case in an economic sense, and the second is to assume that those are all just rumors. But be it in politics or in human affairs, they are acting in collusion.”
Rookie on the Road from the Gansu Daily bbs:
Before all this there was a rumor that because State Department first Vice-Premier (former Shanghai Party Secretary) Huang Ju is suffering from cancer, Hu and Wen hoped he would give the post to someone more qualified. Jiang Zemin's attitude to this was that to let Huang Ju retire was fine, and current Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu would take over. Apparently, this kind of personnel readjustment was one the new central government administration had a hard time accepting. That's why they preferred a sick Huang Ju over a healthy [Chen] Liangyu.
MSN Spaces blogger Kujes:
Most commentary says that it was politics that led to him stepping down, leading to the downfall of the so-called ‘Shanghai Gang‘. It seems a little too early for a last word, but I hope it's not so, rather that it's the new generation of leaders doing their jobs. Managing the state of a country has never been a question of relying on ideology, theory, documents or consciousness, but in fact relies on the law and a system. In facing down challenges in the new century, old methods are cleary not suited to remain in use, and their abuse becomes more and more apparent. People have been grumbling about this for a long while. It's easy to kill a single corrupt official, but to stop a thousand of them is not. If the new generation of leaders are in fact wake up to the situation, free their arms and legs and start getting at it, if this incident foretells change, a turning point, then it truly would be the good fortune of the nation and the people.
Some people say I'm too positive, but one can't always only see shortcomings and the gloomy side, right? I hope my optimism doesn't amount to nothing.
I hope this is not just a passing wind.