Next week, Beijing will open its 18th party congress at which the Communist Party will select the country's new leader. One of the core issues at the meeting will be the role in China of a military that has gained considerable influence. Some in the party are unhappy with its powerful position.
Everyone who attended the event later said that this sort of thing had never occurred before, not once since the communists assumed power in China 63 years ago and the party assumed control of the military. It also happened when everyone was in a mood to relax, at a "holiday banquet" in honor of top generals.
The Communist Party in Beijing had organized the banquet in February to emphasize harmony between politicians and the military. When a senior officer in the air force was about to make a toast to his comrades in the political camp, General Zhang Qinsheng pushed him aside and shouted: "Enough of this cajolery! There are pigs in the party who are plotting against me!" Then he berated President Hu Jintao, who was also sitting at the table, and accused him of being part of the conspiracy against him. The outraged Hu stormed out, and the military officers still in the room had trouble controlling Zhang, who allegedly kept yelling obscenities.