Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another excellent piece from Ben Lim at Reuters--this time on Yu Zhengsheng, current Politburo member and party secretary of Hubei. I agree with everything that is said in the article, including Yu's excellent chance of gaining a promotion into the PSC. Essentially, since both Hu and Zeng need the support of the Deng family, Yu will almost for certain gain a promotion. But what will he do? The article suggests a Vice Premier job, but there are a limited number of those.

Of all the vice premier positions, Huang Ju, Wu Yi, and Zeng Peiyan's seats are all up for grab. The former is available because he is, well, dead, while the latter two are opened because they will be 69 by the time the 2008 NPC rolls around. Wu Yi may get a year or two of reprieve, but I think they are both essentially up for retirement. Additionally, they can create another vice premier position for Chen Zhili's portfolio on education. The most intuitive thing to do is to give Yu Chen Zhili's portfolio on education since he has little experience with economic planning (Zeng Peiyan's porfolio), finance (Huang Ju), or foreign trade (Wu Yi). Perhaps Wu Yi's health porfolio can also be given to Yu. Of course, health and education are considered the "weak" portfolios, so Yu is probably asking for more. But what? I think much of the Western world is rooting for Zhou Xiaochuan to take over Huang Ju's position, but if Huang Ju can take charge of finance, so can Yu Zhengsheng. I also see a possibility that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao would rather have Yu in the foreign trade portfolio than Bo Xilai. After all, Yu was once the laoban of a "trading company" (Kanghua), which did engage in foreign trade-- mainly import though, so good for reducing the trade surplus! Again, if Bo Xilai can be minister of foreign trade, so too can Yu Zhengsheng take over Wu Yi's portfolio.......Politics trumps expertise, again.

FEATURE-China princeling emerges from defection scandal

By Benjamin Kang Lim

WUHAN, China, June 20 (Reuters) - With an impeccable
Communist pedigree, Yu Zhengsheng was a rising star in the
mid-1980s until his brother, a senior Chinese intelligence
official, defected to the United States.

His wings clipped by the scandal, Yu spent years biding his
time in ministerial-level posts. Now, two decades later, he has
emerged as a candidate to join the all-powerful Politburo
Standing Committee at a Party congress slated for the autumn,
sources with ties to the leadership said.

The resurgence of Yu, currently Party boss in the central
province of Hubei, shows that even in modern-day, market-driven
China, political staying power can depend largely on
old-fashioned Party connections. His close ties are with the
family of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Yu Zhengsheng enters the
Politburo Standing Committee ... He's very competent," one source
told Reuters, requesting anonymity.

Yu, 62, is also likely to be promoted to vice premier next
March at the annual session of parliament, the sources said.
Details of a reshuffle of the top ranks of both Party and
government were expected to be hammered out at an informal
leadership meeting in late summer.

In a country where people were commonly purged for the faults
of relatives during the chaotic 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, the
1985 defection of Yu Qiangsheng could easily have scuttled his
brother's political career.


The defector exposed a retired analyst for the Central
Intelligence Agency, Larry Wu-tai Chin, who committed suicide in
his cell in Virginia in 1986, days before a U.S. court was to
sentence him for spying for China for about 30 years.

Thanks to his close ties to Deng Pufang, the wheelchair-bound
eldest son of Deng Xiaoping, Yu Zhengsheng was spared the full
political repercussions but fell off the fast track.

"Yu Zhengsheng had very close personal relations with Deng
Pufang," said Ho Pin, New York-based co-author of a book on
"Princelings" -- the sons and daughters of China's incumbent,
retired or late leaders.

Deng Pufang was embroiled in a financial scandal in the late
1980s when Kang Hua, the trading empire he founded, was accused
of abusing tax exemption privileges granted it for its donations
to his welfare fund for the disabled.

Troubleshooting for the younger Deng, Yu closed down Kang Hua
as part of an anti-corruption drive ordered by Deng Xiaoping
while avoiding wider political damage.

"Yu Zhengsheng is the Deng family's representative in
politics," a businesswoman with ties to the Deng family said.

After his brother's defection, Yu spent 12 years in the
eastern coastal province of Shandong. Serving successively as
vice mayor, mayor and then Party boss of Qingdao city from 1989
to 1997, he helped make Tsingtao beer and Haier household
appliances China's best-known brands abroad.


After a stint as construction minister in Beijing, Yu became
Hubei party boss and made it to the Party's 24-member
decision-making Politburo in 2002.

As top official in Hubei, Yu departed from tradition by
plucking auto executive Miao Wei from political obscurity in 2005
to make him Party boss in the provincial capital, Wuhan.

With Yu's backing, Miao consolidated Hubei's auto industry,
putting a stop to cut-throat competition between large and small
carmakers. He also made sure Hubei automakers bought components
from local state-owned enterprises instead of importing them.

Dispensing with the top official's usual panoply of police
escorts, bodyguards and aides, Yu often ventures into the
countryside to check out the work of local officials.

"The people are full of praise for him ... There has been
construction everywhere since he came to Hubei," a local
businessmen named Xiong said of him.

Under Yu's watch, Hubei's GDP now ranks 12th among the
country's 31 provinces. Per capita income of farmers rose 10.3
percent to more than 3,400 yuan ($450) in 2006.


Born into a prominent family in Shaoxing, in the eastern
coastal province of Zhejiang, and trained as a missile engineer,
Yu is a political blue blood.

His father Yu Qiwei, a Communist underground militant who
changed his name to Huang Jing to avoid arrest by Kuomintang
troops, was a former husband of Jiang Qing, who went on to marry
Party Chairman Mao Zedong.

Later, after the 1949 Communist takeover, Huang was to become
the first Party boss of the northern port city of Tianjin.

For Yao Lifa, an activist known nationally for his dogged
advocacy of elections free of Communist Party control, Yu is a
princeling who will not compromise the Party's interests.

Yu visited Yao's home city late last year and "instructed the
city government that independent candidates should not be elected
to the local people's congress", the activist said.

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