The number of people who believe/d that Saif-al Islam Gaddafi was an actual force for change in Libya apparently now extends from Blair and Giddens to a bunch of people in the CPC.
General Liu's fascination with Qaddafi may seem surprising, given the differences of their respective regimes. The world's second-largest economy, run by nine unassuming technocrats, is seldom compared with the oil-rich basket case formerly run by a madman. But Liu believes that the world's most successful dictatorship could quickly go the way of Libya if the Communist Party loses the ability to tell itself a unifying story that justifies its monopoly on power. Qaddafi's mistake was not that he had failed to reform towards democracy and law, as many believed, but that his son, seduced by Western ideas, persuaded him to reform at all. On the eve of the Party's transition, as cries for the new generation of leaders to reform China grow louder, Liu fears that if the elite do not insulate themselves, their children will devour the revolution.
General Liu is Liu Yuan, son of Liu Shaoqi, and a fomer ally of Bo Xilai. I don't find it credible that foreign educated children of wealthy and powerful Party figures actually are undermining the party with funny foreign ideas, though ironically enough it chimes quite well with the traditional western analysis of China's opening up. Why would they undermine the basis of their own privilege?
It seems more likely that this is a new line of attack opened up by the hard left within the Party after the Bo debacle, and, perhaps, that Liu Yuan is the chosen instrument. It could be quite a popular message: not so much the creeping westernization stuff but the attack on central government privilege. But there are one hell of a lot of shins being kicked here.