Qinling Villas

Most people in U.S. are clueless on what happens in China. They take their cue from the so called China experts on the oncoming collapse or power struggle. Even for someone like me whom is knowledgeable about Chinese politics it vex me greatly that events sometimes move in Byzantine ways. I am here talking about the anti-corruption campaign when an example was made, it seems always was a deputy or vice party secretary. The public figures open for criticism and ridicule were never the person in charge. Why the number one guy was always not in the picture or punished privately? So the public will not lose confidence of the top? This seem to be changing when Xi demands accountability from the leaders, and the people applaud this move toward responsibility and transparency. The case of Qinling villas which CCTV broadcasted as a documentary recently illustrate the changing climate. Xi when as the party secretary of eastern province of Zhejiang said, ” Green mountains and clean waters are the gold and silver treasures”. As China move from GDP Centre toward a rational policy of environmental protection, Xi has been battling bureaucracy as much as Mao did.
Qinling is the mountain range south of Xian protecting Qin from other warring states and is now a national park. Officials and private developers has been using the guise of tourism to build villas for the benefits of both. Upon exposure by the media Xi directed the local party to investigate and correct any violation in 2014. The city of Xian and province of Shaanxi dragged their feet and eventually reported that the number as 200 and demolished under 100. After 6 directives from Xi from 2014-2018, Central Disciplinary Commission finally sent a work team to enforce the directives and caused quakes and dismissals of party functionaries in Xian and Shaanxi with mayor and party secretaries of Xian and Shaanxi all removed from their jobs and under indictment and investigation for bribery. Under 1200 villas which now nobody wants to admit owning each marketed at 15-17 million yuans are in the process of demolition and return the area to pristine greens.
Unlike what West portrays, Xi is neither absolute ruler nor authoritarian for life. He’s still in his second term of office, and the change of constitution allowing longer serving I think was more geared for his associate Wang Quishan to direct against corruption. It was also served as warning to those in bureaucracy hoping dragging and procrastinating out the reform to outlast Xi. It took him 4 years to manage to crack the case of Qinling, and it’s now used for study by all other provinces as example. And I have no problem whatsoever if he desires and serves a third term and wish him good luck and bon voyage. For good leaders are rare and in short supply.

About N.M.Cheung

Chinese American, semi retired, age 65, Born in Shanghai, reside in NYC, left China in 59, Hong Kong until 61, then to U.S.

2 thoughts on “Qinling Villas

  1. Good post. Thought that this is a good perspective of the bureaucracy going on within the Chinese government.

  2. @pug_ster
    As we can see even with Xi’s power, local bureaucrats can resist and drag out and force central to destroy close to 20 billion yuans of villas and 4 years of time. Western liberals can point to the rule of law as if it’s a magic potion, but let’s see the farce of Britix and the shut down in U.S. the inability of so called democratic solution to the temper tantrum of 1 man.

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