Blog: Dave LeggettChina goings on

Dave Leggett | 2 October 2006

Interesting to read about the purge in Shanghai's Communist Party that took place at the end of last week. Automakers with big investments in China will no doubt be keeping a close eye on things - the investment community has already caught a chill. From what I can gather, the move is being seen as an attempt by left-wingers in Beijing to rein in the increasingly powerful pro-business Communist Party powerbase in Shanghai. Don't believe the official guff about 'corruption'. Officials at all levels are at it there; if they fall out of favour for some reason it's an easy charge to prove. Sounds like there will be confessions, show trials and long prison sentences for some (or firing squad).

Is there a fundamental shift in the power balance going on? I doubt it. China's brand of state-capitalism with an autocratic government has brought too many economic benefits for it to be reversed. But China is a tough place to understand. It is highly regionalised, there are massive inequalities of income and 10,000 people are executed there - many are officials convicted of 'corruption' - every year. The politics must have got even more complicated with all the FDI over the past decade. But liberal democracy it ain't.

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