March 20th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

Zakaria: Chinese leaders sleep while charting future

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Ever find yourself dozing off in the middle of a meeting and thanking your lucky stars that nobody caught you? Yes, me too. Well, some delegates to the National People's Congress in China weren't as lucky as you.

Take a look at the video above: Big yawns, even a few people blatantly napping.  The meeting was even on a controversial topic: They were curbing the powers of police to secretly detain people.

A few days later, one of China's most prominent politicians, Bo Xilai, was also caught in the act at the Great Hall of the People.

He was to be in line for the post on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the nine-member body, which effectively runs China. But just one day after his very public catnap, he was ousted from his post as Communist Party boss in the city of Chongqing. No, it's not because he snoozed.

But maybe they were all snoozing because the assembly is really a rubber stamp body.  The debates don't matter much.

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Topics: China • Last Look

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. jal

    If they are going to embrace the grand pyramid scheme, can we at least make it interesting? Lets move all of these delegates to the bottom of the pyramid and withhold their money and watch them go crazy. This way the irony of the police obtaining them will be complete.

    March 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    The assembly was debating on the excessive powers of police to secretly detain people. Dissidents who haven't commited a crime could sometimes be abducted by local officials, forced into psychiatric hospitals and sedated. They are held until they withdraw their complaints and renounce their ownership of land, which is confiscated and sold to developers.

    March 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Reply
    • jal

      The delegates do not seem very interested in this topic. Analysis of this notion only makes it worse. Can we Photoshop a cloud over their heads with different lavish products, like yachts and stuff?

      March 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • Tron San


      《開羅宣言》等一系列宣言 文件明確規定釣魚島屬於中國


      May 19, 2012 at 7:49 am | Reply
  3. Rz

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Uh, sorry, did I miss something? Oh, ok zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    March 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  4. 100% ETHIO

    The sign of yawning is too close to sleep. But, for the case of the above picture, the sign of yawning is, either his brain is incompatible for the series meeting-due to Mental imbalance or over worked-that required some rest or he is not interested on the topic-because he already pre-decided not to listen, but he is in the meeting just to show-up or he is on Medication that makes him to feel drowsy.
    (!) C (!) A (!) N (!) A (!) D (!) A (!) a$$.
    No wonder, few Years ago, one of the Canadian Army personal who represented one of the World Super power (NATO), found overslept on the Military checkpoint where the Taliban sucide Bomber was actively involved for the killing of many people.
    Nation, although the Canadian Army was suspended by his boss, what do you think NATO Army chief supposed to do against the sleepy Canadian Army?

    March 21, 2012 at 1:07 am | Reply

    Do you remember the bag of tricks, that you learn when you were a Kid? That also might help to keep someone alert.

    Your body is like a bag that keeps and reacts what you are feeding it.
    Back in the day, Chinese Slaves who brought by British to do Railway and some road constructions, used to keep-up long hours work. How they did that? Well, the first method is some-–ingredients taken like food and drinks;
    The second method is injecting--to make them awake.
    Even some specific normal food ingredients, keeps the person awake by the way of fart, this also will help to wake the neighbors.

    March 21, 2012 at 3:50 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      You are such an idiot, we do not understand how your brain can tell your lungs to breathe.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  6. Benedict

    Sweet dreams or bad nightmares? Take your pick!

    March 21, 2012 at 5:48 am | Reply
  7. pmcdonald

    I'm looking forward to Zacharia taking a trip to China to find out about it. So he can write some insightful, fair and balanced papers on genuine issue facing that nation or their perspective on global issues. It would be a nice change. The Economist has started to do it. Zacharia and Time need not be left behind.....churning out the stereotypical American bias and ignorance.

    March 21, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
  8. marc gunn

    Have you ever watched CSPAN and what goes on in the capital? It surely has put many to sleep and I almost always never leave it on that channel. Call it rubberstamp too if you want, sure voting takes place, but it could be done without the gathering or the presentations on which none of them shift their views.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  9. PeterP


    March 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  10. vistarian2011

    Dont be over bewildered by China's current politics.

    Because the wind of change is blowing across the rural provinces and in China's cities. Chinese young people are getting better education and training. This is going to be the key to China's future thrust forward in the world economy.
    The world at large will soon see this political and social metamorphosis happening. We will all be amazed that a freer China will result in the entire global economy coming under the influence of powerful Chinese conglomerates.

    Chinese people are naturally good at business – and expanding their trade. For hundreds of years Chinese traders roam the globe to trade, sailing on massive merchant fleets. While other backward civilisations were still unaware of China's existence.

    Had China been a war monger (like America was and is) they would have colonised many countries then. But Chinese colonisation is avoided because international wars and conflicts is bad for their business. This is one of the basic principles of the Chinese mentality.

    So, actually America's insistence on China opening up is doing the Chinese economy a big favor going forward. State industries will be privatiese. Capitalism will propel Chinese entreprueners to become globally powerful and influential.

    Change is coming to China – at their own pace. But you dont have to wait too long to see it happen. Its soon rather than never.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  11. vistarian2011

    Yesterday belonged to the British Empire, today is USA, tomorrow will be China's.

    I see China's national reserves far exceeding today's. China's foreign forex reserves alone may top US$15 trillion by end of this decade.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      what is your point Zippy?

      March 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
    • observer

      Sorry, but I don't see China becoming the next superpower. They have so many internal problems on a massive scale: corruption, pollution, ethnic strife, oppressive political and cultural system, etc. Further, through its own recent actions China has alienated much of the world, especially its neighbors. Quite frankly, I see China both exploding and imploding. And it will happen from within China. It's just a matter of time. To sum up: China is its own worst enemy.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  12. joho

    I beg your pardon, but I think its USA that is going to implode and explode. America started foreigns wars in foreign lands without profiting from these wars. In fact, all told the wars US started, cost tax payers almost at last count today at 8 am is –


    The point is this, while we are pointing our fingers at China, we have completely forgotten that hidden under America's carpet is a huge financial disaster that will soon creep out and cause an " explosion and implosion" . A financial crisis will develop so deep that future Americans will have to pay for it.

    And this is one of the reasons why China will dominate as USA struggles to stay afloat in a sea of debts and insolvencies.

    Go ask Jim Rogers (a brilliant American investor) he will testify the above as a fact, I think. And Jim Rogers knows where his money will be invested in for the future. This is the reason he and his young children have moved to Asia, so that the kids can learn Mandarin – and be ready for that day when China will rule the global economy. Very smart and forward looking genius he is.

    March 25, 2012 at 8:43 am | Reply
  13. joho

    Cost of warto the United States –

    March 25, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
    • joho

      this is current and rising ......

      March 25, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
  14. Nanson Hwa

    China's leaders know that the destiny of the country does not depend on one, two, three or bunch of so called leaders..... they know the destiny of any country or for the world for that matter is determined by hearts, minds and action of the masses.

    March 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply

    The reason they are napping because we are busy fighting in the areas that they have figured out to win by friendship. They lend us money and we spend to make friends and fight wars ..the list goes on... how silly...

    March 26, 2012 at 1:38 am | Reply

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