Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rumors are flying thick and fast, but I think the end-game is in sight. The latest from Joe Kahn of NYT has the following:
Li: executive VP
Xi: vice president and heir apparent
Zhou and He Guoqiang get promoted into PSB
Li Yuanchao and Liu Yandong: unspecified jobs with promotions into Politburo
Wang Qishan: VP in charge of planning and transport (Zeng Peiyan's portfolio)
Zhang Dejiang: VP in charge of trade and health (Wu Yi's portfolio)
Bo Xilai: PS of Chongqing
Wang Yang: PS of Guangdong
Yu Zhengsheng: PS of Shanghai

Executive VP position for Li Keqiang is a bit weird; well, frankly can't be worse than Huang Ju. Wang Qishan gets to be VP--the only good outcome from all of this!! I think the NDRC will not be too happy with Wang. Zhang Dejiang, who covered up the Guangdong SARS, will serve as VP in charge of health! Good luck China! I'd be interested in what portfolios Li Yuanchao and Liu Yandong get. I have a sneaking suspicion that Wang Zhaoguo will be forced into semi-retirement at the CPPCC, while Liu Yandong takes his former portfolio in United Front work. Li Yuanchao....in charge of organization work? but He Guoqiang will be breathing down his neck. Sadly, I don't think this all will end well for Zhou Xiaochuan....that's Chinese politics for you.

New China Hierarchy May Limit President’s Power

The New York Times
Published: October 13, 2007

BEIJING, Oct. 12 — After intensive bargaining, China’s Communist Party has approved a new leadership lineup that denies President Hu Jintao the decisive consolidation of power that his supporters hoped would allow him to govern more assertively in his final five-year term as China’s top leader.

The party’s Central Committee agreed to elevate four senior officials to the ruling Politburo Standing Committee, but only one of them, Li Keqiang, the party secretary of Liaoning Province, clearly owed his rise in the hierarchy to Mr. Hu’s patronage, people told about the results of a Central Committee meeting said Friday.

Xi Jinping, the party boss of Shanghai, is also expected to join the Standing Committee. He would outrank Mr. Li and become the most likely successor to Mr. Hu as party chief, head of state and top military official in 2012, the people said.

Mr. Xi, whose father was a senior party official under Mao, is viewed as a compromise choice, acceptable to Mr. Hu but also to his now-retired predecessor as top leader, Jiang Zemin, who party officials say exercised broad sway over the reshuffling. Mr. Xi moved to Shanghai from Zhejiang Province just six months ago to replace the now disgraced Chen Liangyu, who was ousted in China’s biggest corruption scandal of the past decade.

Two other new members of the Standing Committee, He Guoqiang, a party organization official, and Zhou Yongkang, China’s top law enforcement officer, are widely viewed as close allies of China’s vice president, Zeng Qinghong, who will step down from the Standing Committee.

Personnel shifts in the ruling party are decided in secret, and the final leadership lineup will not be made public until the conclusion of a party congress, which convenes Monday. In the past, top leaders have continued to bargain and make changes in the hierarchy even after the Central Committee approved a slate of candidates.

The Central Committee issued a public statement on Friday that offered no information about personnel decisions but praised Mr. Hu lavishly.

Under Mr. Hu, the party “vanquished all kinds of hardship and dangers and advanced the work of the party and government to achieve major new successes,” the statement said. Among these successes, it continued, were raising living standards, improving defense forces and managing relations with Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its territory.

The committee also said the party would amend its Constitution. That suggests that Mr. Hu’s concept of “scientific development,” a catch phrase for his policies to promote more balanced, equitable and sustainable development, will be enshrined in the Constitution alongside the political slogans of Mao, Deng Xiaoping and Mr. Jiang.

Even so, the coming party congress seems likely to underscore the collective nature of decision making in the ruling party, as well as Mr. Hu’s clout.

Mr. Hu will still have to work to build a consensus among the nine members of the Standing Committee, a majority of whom owe their rise more to the support of Mr. Jiang or Mr. Zeng than to Mr. Hu. Party members said Mr. Hu had hoped to reduce membership in the standing committee to seven from nine, and to elevate more members of his political base, the Communist Youth League, to the top body.

“If the current name list becomes the final one, it is a poor outcome for Hu,” said one party member who was told about the Central Committee’s deliberations. “It is a victory for collective leadership.”

Mr. Hu has earned plaudits for paying increased attention to the country’s growing wealth gap and the environmental costs of its long streak of rapid economic growth. He has strengthened relations with the United States, focused heavy diplomatic attention on Africa, and helped steer North Korea toward a pact to end its nuclear weapons program.

Yet he has also kept a tight rein on news media and done little to improve China’s domestic human rights record or legal system. He has taken few significant steps to overhaul the one-party system or allow more political pluralism.

Some supporters of Mr. Hu, who is 64 years old, have speculated that he might push political change in his second term, particularly if he eclipses the influence of Mr. Jiang, 80, and assumes more decision-making power.

Mr. Hu does appear to have succeeded in promoting many Communist Youth League officials to top provincial posts. The Central Committee also elevated two officials close to him, Li Yuanchao, the party boss of Jiangsu Province, and Liu Yuandong, who supervises the party’s relations with other political entities, to important new positions that carry regular Politburo rank, people told about the committee’s deliberations said.

But after years of careful cultivation, Mr. Hu did not succeed in positioning Li Keqiang, 52, the Liaoning party boss, as his successor, party officials said. Instead, Mr. Li will probably assume the position of prime minister, now held by Wen Jiabao, when Mr. Hu and Mr. Wen retire in five years.

Mr. Xi, 54, is expected to succeed Mr. Zeng as vice president and as the day-to-day manager of Communist Party affairs at this congress as the first step toward succeeding Mr. Hu as No. 1 leader when the next congress convenes in 2012. Just as Mr. Hu owed his designation in 1992 as the party’s future leader to Mr. Deng rather than to Mr. Jiang, who was party chief at the time, Mr. Xi’s rise came mainly at the behest of Mr. Jiang and Mr. Zeng, the people told about the deliberations said.

Mr. Xi is not likely to be identified publicly as Mr. Hu’s successor. The semiofficial China News Service said Thursday in a report that Mr. Hu would not follow Mao’s or Mr. Deng’s lead in picking a successor, but would rely on “collective discussion and collective decisions” within the party.

Some political observers have suggested that by having two younger members of the Standing Committee, the choice of a future leader could become competitive, permitting the 190 members and the 152 alternate members of the Central Committee to choose among candidates rather than ratifying decisions made at the very top.

But party officials said Friday that the party leadership had decided the matter. The discussion about a race for the top jobs was an attempt to make the party’s internal deliberations seem more open than they really are, they said. “Xi will be the general secretary and Li will be prime minister,” one person said. “The party is too concerned about stability to leave the issue undecided.”

The reshuffling will affect a range of other officials who have become well known in the West.

Wang Qishan, the technocratic mayor of Beijing, is now slated to succeed Zeng Peiyan as China’s top economic planner, people told about the Central Committee decisions said. Zhang Dejiang, the party secretary of Guangdong Province, will assume Wu Yi’s portfolio as the country’s trade policy maker and troubleshooter who coordinates responses to medical and safety problems.

Among key provincial posts, Commerce Minister Bo Xilai is expected to become party boss of the municipality of Chongqing in the southwest. Wang Yang, who currently holds the Chongqing job, is expected to move to Guangdong to replace Mr. Zhang. Yu Zhengsheng will assume Mr. Xi’s post as the top party official in Shanghai, the people said.

What will be fun is that when the final layout comes out to see what people got right and what people got wrong.
Oh, believe me, we will have a "settling of accounts" as they say in the CCP.....
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