The Eulogy and the Aftershocks

Coming twenty-one years after the death of former Party Secretary Hu Yaobang, Premier Wen Jiabao’s surprise eulogy to his former mentor last week was the subject of much discussion among China-watchers worldwide. In today’s episode of Sinica, we visit this speech and ask what it really tells us about the political landscape in China. Is there compelling evidence of an ongoing rift between a “populist” faction headed by Wen Jiabao, Hu Jintao, and Li Keqiang and a competing “princeling” elite represented by Xi Jinping? We also talk about the tragic earthquake that hit Qinghai last week, and its potential for ethnic aftershocks.

Joining Kaiser Kuo this week are Gady Epstein, Beijing bureau chief for Forbes magazine, and Guardian correspondent Tania Branigan, freshly back in Beijing after a reporting trip to the remote earthquake region and with a first-hand account of the rescue efforts there. We’re also joined by Jeremiah Jenne, Dean of Chinese Studies at the IES program in Beijing, who helps put both events in historical perspective. You may know Jeremiah as Qing historian and author of the blog Jottings from the Granite Studio.