China Specialist Correspondent
Benjamin's Feed
Sep 29, 2013

China’s grand makeover plan a work in progress; fuzzy on implementation

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s leaders will lay out plans to transform the world’s second-largest economy at a key party meeting in November, leaving the question of how to do it largely unanswered as much of the reform agenda is still a matter of heated internal debate.

People familiar with the discussions say that out of a long list of reforms that the Communist Party’s 200-member Central Committee is set to announce, only a mooted financial overhaul has reached a point where there is a plan and a roadmap.

Sep 29, 2013

Xi Jinping hopes traditional faiths can fill moral void in China: sources

BEIJING (Reuters) – President Xi Jinping believes China is losing its moral compass and he wants the ruling Communist Party to be more tolerant of traditional faiths in the hope these will help fill a vacuum created by the country’s breakneck growth and rush to get rich, sources said.

Xi, who grew up in Mao’s puritan China, is troubled by what he sees as the country’s moral decline and obsession with money, said three independent sources with ties to the leadership.

Sep 23, 2013

China’s Xi Jinping stamps authority on party with Bo Xilai verdict

BEIJING (Reuters) – With ousted senior politician Bo Xilai jailed for life, Chinese President Xi Jinping has stamped his authority on the Communist Party by effectively warning he will not tolerate dissent as he seeks to push through tough economic reforms.

Bo was sentenced on Sunday after being found guilty on charges of corruption, taking bribes and abuse of power. He is expected to appeal, although since all courts are controlled by the party the verdict was likely pre-ordained.

Sep 22, 2013

China’s Xi stamps authority on party with Bo verdict

BEIJING, Sept 23 (Reuters) – With ousted senior politician
Bo Xilai jailed for jail, Chinese President Xi Jinping has
stamped his authority on the Communist Party by effectively
warning he will not tolerate dissent as he seeks to push through
tough economic reforms.

Bo was sentenced on Sunday after being found guilty on
charges of corruption, taking bribes and abuse of power. He is
expected to appeal, although since all courts are controlled by
the party the verdict was likely pre-ordained.

Sep 4, 2013

China’s ex-security chief helping probe, not target: sources

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, one of the country’s most powerful politicians of the last decade, is helping authorities in a corruption probe and, contrary to media reports, is not currently the target of the investigation, sources told Reuters.

The investigation could take weeks, maybe months, to complete. Even if Zhou is implicated, he is unlikely to follow in the footsteps of disgraced ally Bo Xilai and face prosecution, said the sources, who have ties to the leadership or direct knowledge of the matter.

Sep 1, 2013

China’s hardline ex-security chief: praised by party, reviled by activists

BEIJING (Reuters) – Few figures are as divisive in China as former domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang, reportedly under investigation by the ruling Communist Party for corruption.

Even the once ambitious but now ousted politician Bo Xilai, whose trial on corruption ended last week, doesn’t evoke the same depth of feeling that Zhou does.

Aug 28, 2013

China leaders fear Bo comeback if sentence is not harsh: sources

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Senior figures in China’s ruling Communist Party fear ousted politician Bo Xilai could stage a political comeback one day if he is not dealt a harsh sentence in his trial for corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power, according to sources.

Bo was a rising star who analysts say was seen as a potential rival to President Xi Jinping for leadership of the Party and country before his career was spectacularly derailed by a lurid murder scandal involving his wife.

Aug 21, 2013

China grid says half of $100 bln high-voltage network under way

BEIJING, Aug 21 (Reuters) – China is already building, or
has approved, more than half of a $100 billion network of
high-voltage power lines to connect remote energy producing
regions to the east coast, a top official at the state grid firm
told Reuters.

The project has been controversial with critics arguing the
State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world’s
biggest utility, is betting too much on costly and untested
technology that could expose the system to black outs.

Aug 21, 2013

The art of survival in China: how some of Bo’s cronies cling on

BEIJING (Reuters) – Three years ago, the mayor of China’s sprawling southwestern city of Chongqing was asked to describe how well he got along with his then boss, the ambitious Communist Party leader Bo Xilai.

“Like fish and water,” the portly Huang Qifan told reporters on the sidelines of the annual full session of parliament, using a Chinese expression meaning an almost symbiotic relationship. “Everything is great, magnificent. The whole Communist Party secretariat works smoothly together with one mind.”

Aug 20, 2013

Divisive trial in China may start early, with secret session

BEIJING (Reuters) – One of the charges against disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai relates to his flouting the authority of central leaders in Beijing, sources said, an allegation so sensitive that his trial could start one day sooner to hear it in secret.

The charge is abuse of power, and the accusation is that Bo challenged and ignored the will and rules of the ruling Communist Party, the sources said.

    • About Benjamin

      "Ben is based in Beijing and covers China regulatory news. He is an ethnic Chinese born and raised in the Philippines, and spent 13 years in Beijing and 15 years in Taipei. He joined Reuters in 1991, serving as Beijing bureau chief from August 2008 to August 2010 and Taipei bureau chief from February 2000 to December 2002."
    • Follow Benjamin