Friday, September 18, 2009
Well folks, I read through the announcement of the 4th plenum twice carefully and saw no mention of anyone being promoted into any position. I suppose a late announcement is possible, but at this point, it doesn't seem like Xi Jinping has been promoted into the Central Military Commission.
My original hypothesis was that Hu would try to delay Xi's entrance in order to set himself up for serving another full term as chairman of the CMC. Through whatever maneuvering, Hu seems to be succeeding thus far. Xi, however, received further assurance that he is still the designated successor as he was the only person who made an important speech at the 4th plenum besides Hu. Thus, an emerging compromise may be that Xi would allow Hu to serve another term as CMC Chairman. In exchange, Hu would not cause trouble for Xi's ascension into the party secretary general position in 2012. We'll see if this arrangement holds.
Another mild surprise of the announcement is that despite all this talk of political reform, the 4th plenum ended with the same vague language of "strengthening inner party democracy" as in the past. I am not seeing any concrete reform. Perhaps the concrete measures will come later, but I somehow doubt that.