It’s National Day tomorrow, the 61st anniversary of the day that that Mao climbed the rostrum at Tiananmen and said “the Chinese people have stood up – but they won’t be standing when I’ve finished with them”. Or something like that. So we’ll have a Sinosphere tomorrow. But in the meantime, a couple of snippets.
Nine senior Chinese officials have killed themselves this year: not all that many, given the numbers, but still significant. The key element seems to be the Discipline Inspection Commission, the CPC’s private cops. The threat of them showing up seems to act like the local version of the whisky and revolver of yore. CDIC know this. When they come to town and take over a local hotel for interrogation purposes, they take care to sequester the people they want on the lower stories. You’re supposed to drink the malt and pull the trigger after you get the double discipline notice, but before the investigators actually show up.
Elsewhere, more on the Anyuanding, the “stabilization contractors” I posted about yesterday:
They were equipped with police truncheons, attack dogs, private jails and special armored vehicles. The whole escort organization, for so it was called, was staffed much like a military outfit: one political commissar, one battalion chief, three captains, a central battalion made up of two to three companies, and seven or eight men to a company. They were outfitted just like riot police, with the same uniforms and helmets. On their left and right shoulders were dark patches emblazoned with white characters: “Special Service.”
And this entire apparatus of violence was operated as a private enterprise. Put another way, this was the private militia of legend. And the fact that this private militia could operate for so many years is something that leaves us all staring speechlessly.
Indeed. Because part of the general contract of Chinese autocracy is that private armies are not supposed to exist. The fact that the Qing required the Hunan Braves and the EVA to put down the Taiping was widely understood to mean that the dynasty was in trouble and needed urgent reform. Such formations were the ancestors of the warlord armies which plagued China during the early decades of the 20th century, an era which the Communist victory in 1949 was supposed to have brought to an end.
I don’t think we’re anywhere near that stage, but this one really does bear watching.
On the other hand, I suppose it could just be China adapting itself to general modern thinking about the role of private security contractors. A joint venture opportunity for Xe, perhaps?