The Chinese regime's number two, Wen Jiabao, began his
three-day visit to New York on Tuesday, with Millennium Development Goals
program meetings and the U.N. General Assembly meeting on his itinerary.
Wen will meet with foreign leaders, heads of state, and
representatives from U.N. member states. But when he's not spending time playing
diplomat outside Chinese borders, Wen is firmly chained to the Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) as a lame-duck politician whose individualism and independence is
respected as little as are human rights in China.
As a politician with populist appeal in China, Wen is more or
less trapped within the CCP as a puppet. From matters ranging from the
suppression of Falun Gong, to Sichuan earthquake warnings, to the recent
melamine-milk scandal, Wen has had his chances to separate himself from the
official communist line, but to no avail.
The Chinese Communist Party's nine-year-long persecution of
Falun Gong began in 1999 under the direction of then-CCP-head Jiang Zemin, who
banned the meditation practice due to fear and jealousy after finding out the
number of Falun Gong practitioners in China outnumbered Communist Party members.
After Jiang stepped down in March 2003, Hu Jintao replaced him as head of state
and Wen assumed his position as Hu's right-hand man.
Even though Hu and Wen were the new leaders of China's
regime, Jiang, who is largely responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong,
injected his accomplices into the Politburo Standing Committee, which contains
the CCP's top officials. This way, Jiang's protégés did his dirty work, which
included continuing the persecution of Falun Gong.
Hu and Wen have their hands tied: they don't necessarily
agree or approve of the persecution, but they can't do much or else risk
backlash from Jiang and his companions.
Rather than risk political suicide, Wen has followed Hu in
being nonchalant and mainly hands-off regarding the Falun Gong persecution.
Still, some wish Wen could break through the barrier somehow.
Dumped and Used
Before the May 12 Sichuan earthquake in China struck, killing
60,000 people, the Committee of Natural Hazard Prediction in the Institute of
Geophysical Society predicted that an earthquake was imminent and urged the
State Council to issue an earthquake warning.
Wen Jiabao was in favor of publicly releasing a warning, but
excuses—such as that a warning would disrupt social order and preparation for
the Beijing Olympics—from other top Chinese officials led them to override
Thus, the announcement of a looming megaquake was banned from
the public just at the time that Wen intended to inform people. Thousands of
possibly preventable deaths ensued.
When the earthquake struck, Wen immediately traveled to
Sichuan to meet with victims and survey the scene. Visiting the children he
intended to save from the earthquake that now ravaged their hometowns and
schools, China's state-run media dubbed Wen 'Grandpa Wen' as he helped with
relief efforts and grieved over bodies of dead children. The CCP exploited Wen
as an example of the 'kindness' and 'compassion' of the Communist Party even
though, just days earlier, it withheld information that could have saved
In light of the recent milk scandal, Wen Jiabao was rumored
to have offered his resignation from the Chinese Politburo. But the Politburo
turned him down, pressuring him to stay and remain the popular face of the
Communist Party that Chinese citizens can like.
Wen Jiabao is effectively stuck within the domain of the CCP,
a body that is willing to take advantage of his appeal but limit his voice when
it comes to important internal matters.
On Tuesday, Wen met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger and discussed US-China relations.
"Great achievements have been made in China-U.S. relations
over the past three decades since the two countries forged diplomatic ties,"
said Wen, who also said that he hoped that relations would progress
Bilateral relations and international affairs are both
formidable subjects for a second-in-command of a country to be involved in, but
when he is an obsolete political voice in his own country, neither of those
issues matters much anymore, and one has to wonder when the CCP will free him
from his leash.