30th Apr, 2012

Turmoil in China

As the US becomes increasingly consumed by the vicissitudes of the 2012 election cycle, there is an equally compelling drama unfolding half a world away in China.  In what has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in the Chinese government in a generation, an elite government official has been ousted, exposing a normally opaque system of patronage, bribery, and graft. Bo Xilai has been accused, among other things, of wiretapping high-level officials and involvement in the death of a British businessman. The rapidly-evolving scandal threatens to destabilize the Party establishment in a culture generally known for its top-down control and secrecy.

Adding another layer to the Chinese government’s agitation is the recent escape of a well-known blind dissident lawyer. Chen Guangcheng had been on house arrest for protesting China’s restrictive political climate and the corruption of party officials. Apparently, he has gone to the US Embassy for protection, a prickly complication for US/Chinese relations at a delicate time of needed economic and security cooperation.

The larger frame for both of these situations is whether an evolving China can become truly anchored in the rule of law.  With the ousting of Bo, Chinese officials want to show how, even at the top, corruption can be expunged. The second circumstance, however, is far more challenging. The events surrounding Chen highlight China’s unlawful use of home detention and the brutal, extrajudicial methods used to silence critics. Chen has appealed directly to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, a self-styled populist reformer who purportedly favors the rule of law. Chen’s goal is not to destabilize the government but to end the out-of-control brutality, abuse, and corruption of officials.

At the moment, The Chinese Sun (7Libra46) is under a square from transiting Pluto that runs from December 2011 through November 2012. This transit describes significant power struggles (Pluto) within the Chinese government that can affect the goals and trajectory of the nation (the Sun). The powerful Pluto transit will soon be joined by transiting Uranus opposite the Sun beginning in early May 2012 and continuing through mid-March 2013.  Thus, China will be one of the first countries in the world to get the full brunt of the convulsively transformative Uranus/Pluto square, quite potently in this case, on the nation’s Sun. The addition of Uranus into the mix suggests sudden and powerful events that can potentially destabilize situations, possibly derived by a strong push to greater equality or reform.

Essentially, the struggle will be between the forces of repression and control (Pluto) and the forces of potentially dramatic reform (Uranus). The involvement of the Chinese Sun in this configuration implies upheaval at the highest levels of government and potentially some significant shift in the country’s agenda. What is clear is that this conflict is still building in strength and will become increasingly dramatic in the coming months, most especially from May through August when both planets will be quite active. The third week in July may also be of particular significance with transiting mars and transiting Jupiter both triggering the Uranus/Pluto square.

It should also be noted that transiting Uranus will be making a station square to natal Chinese Uranus (4Cancer59) from mid-October 2012 through early February 2013 before the final crossing of Uranus opposite China’s Sun (7Libra46) in late February and March 2013. Both of these transits underline the revolutionary fervor possible at this time. The Chinese natal chart has a Sun/Uranus square, as well as Aquarius rising (1Aquarius52) with the Moon in Aquarius (3Aquarius04) on the Ascendant.  This strong Uranian/Aquarian natal element points to the egalitarian, idealistic, and communal nature in the founding of the People’s Republic, and the coming transits may well shake things up in a way that reconnects to that original intention.

The history of this period is, of course, yet to be written. But it will surely be a significant one for China, as these compelling forces align to push this powerful Asian nation into its next phase. It may also be a cautionary tale for the US, a sort of preview as to what kind of upheaval may be coming to American shores when the Uranus/Pluto square finds its way to dramatically impact the US Sun (13Cancer19) in 2014 and early 2015. It may be useful to sit on the sidelines and take notes, for now.

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