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Cablegate: Moving On Up? Dongzhou Doesn't Faze Guangdong

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P 140747Z JUN 06
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1007
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 GUANGZHOU 017671

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SENSITIVE
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STATE FOR EAP/CM AND DRL/PHD
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR SOCI PHUM CH
SUBJECT: Moving on Up? Dongzhou Doesn't Faze Guangdong
Party Secretary

REF: A) Guangzhou 15624; B) Guangzhou 14820; C) Guangzhou

13564; D) Guangzhou 3991; E) 05 Guangzhou 31940

(U) THIS DOCUMENT IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE
PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. NOT FOR RELEASE OUTSIDE U.S.
GOVERNMENT CHANNELS. NOT FOR INTERNET PUBLICATION.

1. (SBU) Summary: Despite the problems of the December
Dongzhou and other recent protests, the credibility of
Guangdong Provincial Party leaders appears strong. On the
public side, Party Secretary Zhang Dejiang has given a
number of well-received speeches instructing local leaders
on how to better manage land development and citizens'
complaints. Meanwhile, within the Party, a mid-April trip
to North Korea led by Zhang's deputy, and the recent
sentencing of 12 Dongzhou protestors, lend credence that
Zhang and his Deputy could be promoted this fall. End
summary.

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2. (SBU) Guangdong Province is susceptible to land protests
because the area is so densely populated with residential
and industrial interests, which seek to develop the limited
land outside of cities. The apex of the problem came in
December 2005, in the Dongzhou village protest which left
between three and thirty people dead (ref E). In the wake
of Dongzhou and other protests, Guangdong Provincial Party
Secretary - Zhang Dejiang - appeared to be on the way out

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(see refs C and D). However, since December, Zhang and
other Guangdong leaders have been creatively trying to deal
with issues of land compensation and citizens' complaints.
There have been a number of speeches in the past few months
describing the proper handling of land development and
complaints from the people. The Guangdong Party School has
increased its training in anti-corruption and management
skills (ref B). It appears that Zhang has rebounded from a
previous slump in confidence and may perhaps earn a
promotion by this fall's Central Party Committee (CPC)
meeting

"Three Taboos" of Land Development
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) The first major speech to improve land development
occurred on December 23 at the ninth Guangdong Communist
Party Committee (quoted by the People's Daily on January 4).
Zhang Dejiang offered three "taboos" before building
projects could begin. The taboos were, 1) construction
projects cannot start without complete documents and
formalities for land requisition; 2) building projects
cannot go ahead without a democratic consensus on
compensation reached with farmers involved in the land
requisition; and, 3) work cannot begin on any construction
project where farmers have not been paid compensation in
full.

"Listen to the People": The Petition System
--------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) On March 24, Zhang addressed the importance of the
petition system for effective management. In front of a
delegation of officials from petition departments all over
the province, Zhang commented on the role of the petition
office as a right of the people and responsibility for the
communist leadership. He said, "Making petitions is the
democratic right of the people...It is the responsibility of
the party committee and the government to solve petition
problems. Party committees and governments at all levels
should attach great importance to petitions, strengthen
leadership in the petition work, and earnestly solve the
people's petition problems. Leaders not paying attention to
petitions mean they have little feeling for the people."

Petition System Remains only "Administrative" Solution
--------------------------------------------- ---------

5. (SBU) Professor Dong Jianxin, a leading political
scientist from Jinan University in Guangzhou, said Zhang's
speeches indicate there is new emphasis on improving the
petition system in Guangdong. Nevertheless, Dong believes
that the implementation of petition law at the lower levels,
not the provincial level, is more important. Overall Dong
considered the petition system ineffective because it is not
"judicial, only administrative." The judicial branch
remains very weak in China and the petition system only

GUANGZHOU 00017671 002 OF 003


implements party decisions. In terms of land development,
currently farmers must work against private developers to
prevent their land from being consumed in development. Dong
said the government should be the middleman to protect the
farmers, with the judicial branch as a channel for these
complaints.
6. (SBU) Dong was unwilling to directly assess Zhang's
performance, but he did say that Guangdong's strong economic
position bodes well for Zhang. Overall the trend in China
has been to emphasize the quality of leadership, not the
quantity. On May 26, the South China Morning Post reported
that Beijing has moved to introduce a new scheme for
assessing the performance of local governments. The new
assessment mechanism aims to change local cadres' mindset
from boosting growth at all costs to enhancing the efficient
use of resources, lowering wastage and reducing pollution.
This is long-overdue and hopefully will lead the mainland on
the path to sustainable development. Next month, Beijing
will release, for the first time, figures on how different
regions are doing in meeting national goals on reducing
energy consumption and alleviating pollution. The central
government has also pledged to punish cadres who fail to
achieve so-called green GDP indicators. It is to be hoped
that these measures will combine to slow down, if not halt,
the rapid rate at which the mainland environment has
deteriorated and lead to quality growth.
The Rehabilitation of Mr. Zhang
-------------------------------
7. (SBU) There have been a number of signs that indicate
Zhang has fully recovered from the blemish of the Dongzhou
incident. First, on February 16, the front page of the
People's Daily complimented Guangdong for its successful
development in 2005 based on "scientific development
approach". Most recently, Shanwei prefecturial judges (the
city responsible for Dongzhou) sentenced 12 of the Dongzhou
villagers to at least a three-year prison sentence for use
of bombs to disrupt public order (see ref A). Meanwhile the
local party officials involved in the incident received only
internal party warnings. The light sentence would indicate
that Zhang's leadership was not to blame.

8. (SBU) Finally, Zhang Dejiang has also gotten more
attention from national media. CCTV recently conducted
exclusive interviews with Zhang Dejiang as well as Liu Qi
(Beijing's Party Secretary) and Chen Liangyu (Shanghai Party
Secretary), to review the CPC's large campaign of

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"maintaining the advanced status of the CPC". The interview
is said to be soon broadcasted in CCTV and published in
seven central newspapers, including the People's Daily.

Bright Future for Deputy Secretary
------------------------------------

9. (SBU) Moreover, in mid-April, Guangdong Deputy Party
Secretary Liu Yupu's led a national-level CPC delegation to

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North Korea. This might be a signal of his promotion. It
has been a CPC routine practice to send promising officials
with great potentials to take official visits overseas
before their promotion. Supporting evidences of this "rule"
have been found from state leaders like Deng Xiaoping, Zhao
Zhiyang, Li Peng, Hu Jintao, Li Changchun (former Guangdong
Party Secretary), and Huang Ju (former Shanghai Secretary
and now a standing politburo member). Moreover, like Hu
Jintao, Liu has a Youth League background. From 1982 to
1986 Liu was a member of the Standing Committee of the Youth
League Central Committee, and the secretary of the Youth
League Committee of Institutions of CPC Central Committee
and the State Government.

Comment: Some New Guests at the Party
----------------------------------------

10. (SBU) Zhang Dejiang governs China's possibly most
difficult province. Guangdong has China's largest single
economy, largest overall population (estimated at 110
million) and the largest migrant population (estimated as
high as 30 million). These factors coupled with numerous
land and urban protests and intense media attention from
Hong Kong mean that Zhang's actions are carefully followed.
Zhang nevertheless appears to have recovered from his
problems in December. The recent sentencing of the Dongzhou
villagers, which likely was influenced by higher authorities
in Beijing, further bolsters Zhang's credibility by
supporting the police crackdown as a necessary, albeit

GUANGZHOU 00017671 003 OF 003


aggressive, responsive to a violent group.

11. (SBU) This fall the Central CPC Committee will hold
its 17th Party Congress. We will see leadership changes at
provincial, municipal, and county level. In Guangdong
Province, one change may include the addition of non-
Communist members. On June 1 the Guangzhou Communist Party
Committee held a meeting to reshuffle its government
officials on the prefecturial level and declared that at
least one non-Communist Party member should hold a deputy
position at each government level. On the provincial level,
it will be interesting to observe whether Zhang will be
promoted to Beijing and replace the sick Standing Politburo
member, Huang Ju, and whether Liu Yupu will become the next
Guangdong Party Secretary. Zhang Dejiang belongs to the
"Shanghai Gang" (a group of top officials associated with
Jiang Zemin). The "Shanghai Gang" surely will not want to
lose their influence and control by losing Zhang's position
to the "Beijing Gang" (officials associated with Hu Jintao
and Wen Jiabao). Thus the "Shanghai Gang", might make a
deal with Hu to make Zhang a Standing Politburo member, and
let Liu Yupu become the new Guangdong Secretary.

DONG

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