Capitol Hill report sees China weakened by corruption, slowing economy, slipping control
By Bill Gertz-- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2019
China’s ruling Communist Party is struggling with endemic corruption, bureaucratic inertia caused by political purges, and questionable loyalty from the military and police, according to annual commission report to Congress released Thursday.
Additionally, the once-vaunted Chinese economic miracle is flagging as Communist Party (CCP) leaders grapple with a declining economy and aging population, further creating concerns of a future Soviet-style collapse within the world’s most populous state.
“The CCP faces significant internal and external challenges that constrain its ability to sustain economic growth, project power, and spread its influence globally,” the report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded. It was the first time the commission detailed internal CCP weaknesses and failings in its annual report that is derived from hearings, intelligence briefings and fact-finding missions.
The report focuses on the policies of current Chinese President Xi Jinping who since coming to power in 2013 launched a massive anti- corruption drive. The report’s authors say that drive has largely failed, leaving Mr. Xi and party leaders struggling to deal with “internal dilemmas directly threatening one-party rule.”
Mr. Xi also fears encroachment by anti-communist ideas based on Western values and democracy regarded as subversive that are said to be weakening the communist system of unchallenged control by the Party.
The party is thus facing what the report, based on both unclassified and classified briefings, calls a “crisis of CCP legitimacy.”
‘Communizing’ the system 将制度“共产化”
To counter the problem, Mr. Xi has stepped up efforts to further communize the Chinese system.
“Meanwhile, his signature anticorruption campaign has contributed to bureaucratic confusion and paralysis while failing to resolve the endemic corruption plaguing China’s governing system,” the report said. The “campaign has failed to overcome the endemic natureof CCP corruption, and may have even worsened the functioning of China’s already cumbersome bureaucracy,” the report noted.
Between 2013 and 2018, 2.3 million Chinese officials were disciplined for corruption, including 51 of the most senior CCP leaders, including regional boss Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, who was the first member of the seven- member Politburo Standing Committee to be imprisoned for corruption since the Cultural Revolution of the 1970s. The report said that despite the anti-corruption campaign, China today was judged to be just as corrupt in 2018 as it was in 2012.
在2013年至2018年期间，230万中国官员受到了腐败纪律处分，其中包括51 名最高级的中共领导人，其中还包括地方党魁薄熙来和周永康，薄熙来是自 70年代的文化大革命以来，由七人组成的政治局常委中第一个因腐败而入狱的人。报告称，尽管进行了反腐败运动，今天的中国仍被评判为与2018年和 2012年的中国一样的腐败。
The drive has created bureaucratic paralysis as officials have declined taking any actions over fears of being corrupt. Mr. Xi also has used the anti-corruption drive to consolidate his power within the Party and remove potential threats and controlling dissent.
Economically, China is struggling with a slowing economy, a struggling private sector, rising debt and a rapidly aging population, according to the report. Instead of market reforms, Mr. Xi has shifted sharply toward greater state control of the economy, a process the report called the “Party- ization” of China’s government and society.
Fear of disloyalty 对不忠诚的恐惧
The report also provided new details on fears that the People’s Liberation Army is weakening in its loyalty to the Communist Party.
According to the report, “elements within the PLA and China’s domestic security forces were resisting the authority of the CCP’s central leadership, with some even being used as a tool by provincial leaders to pursue their own political ambitions without regard for central authorities.” That was the case with military and armed police support for Mr. Bo’s bid for power, the report said.
据该报告称，“一些中国人⺠解放军和中国的国内安全部队抵制中共中央领 导的权力，有些甚至被省级领导人用作工具来达到他们自己的政治目的，无 视中央政府。” 报告说，这就像军队和武警曾给予薄熙来权力斗争的支持。
Concerns over military control led Mr. Xi to institute a major purge within the PLA, sacking 78 generals between 2012 and 2019.
Outside China, Beijing’s plan to use its economic power to gain influence around the world also is being opposed. The “Belt and Road Initiative,” a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure investment plan, is being opposed by many developing countries, who fear the investments are a trap to gain control.
China also is struggling to develop indigenous technologies and has been hurt by a U.S. ban on exports to companies like Huawei Technologies. “Beijing is deeply concerned about its defense industry’s capacity to independently innovate and develop the cutting-edge technologies. It views as critical to what the CCP terms China’s ‘core national power,’” the report said.
To bolster its technology development efforts, China is penetrating innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley and forming research partnerships with U.S. and other foreign universities to obtain defense-related technology.