19 January 2018

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09/16/2009 CHINA

The secrets of the party plenum or who will succeed Hu Jintao

Politburo member Xi Jinping is slated to become the next vice chairman of the Military Commission and Hu’s likely successor. For ordinary Chinese though, what matters is to see the party do something against the widespread corruption among its officials, which has reached unprecedented levels.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – The 4th plenum of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has begun in the posh and secretive surroundings of the Jingxi Hotel. News media have been banned from the four-day meeting and there will be no daily briefings. In fact, nothing is known about the 400 or so delegates selected from among the permanent and alternative members of the Central Committee. Only on 18 September, when the meeting ends, will decisions be made public.

In measured tones, the semi-official Xinhua news agency reported that the meeting is set to focus on “strengthening and improving the party building under new circumstances” as part of a review of party activities taking place after 60 years in power at a time of a worldwide crisis. The meeting comes just a couple of weeks before the 60th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Republic of China, beginning on 1 October.

Many observers are waiting to see if this time the party will actually reform its internal election rules along democratic lines.

The 4th plenum is also likely to pick Vice President Xi Jinping as the new vice-chairman of the party's Central Military Commission, which would further cement his status as President Hu Jintao's heir apparent, paving the way to him becoming party boss at the 18th National Congress in 2012; then president, and finally military chief.

Xi, 56 and son of a Communist revolutionary hero, rose quickly up the hierarchy, joining the Standing Committee of the Politburo two years ago.

Another hot topic on the discussion table is corruption, rife among CPC officials.

For decades, ordinary Chinese have been frustrated by how much party members have failed to live up to Mao’s dictum of serving the people, becoming instead corrupt and unjust.

Every year for the past six years, some 50,000 officials have been convicted of corruption. The average size of bribes went from 2.53 million yuan (US$ 370,000) in 2007 to 8.84 million yuan last year (US$ 1.3 million), this according to the Supreme People's Court.

In 1995 and 2001, the Central Committee issued clear rules, requiring party officials to declare their income, but these were limited to officials' salaries and allowances, enabling many of them to avoid controls by stashing away money and hiding property under relatives’ names.

A regulation requiring party cadres to reveal their family wealth and assets has been reportedly under discussion for quite some time.

For a number of analysts, such a change would be a good idea. They are not convinced though that it would work because the party controls both police and justice system.

Yet the “introduction of democracy and rule of law” is “the only solution,” one observer said.

See also

21/09/2009 CHINA
Silence and inaction dominate party plenum
The expected appointment of Xi Jinping as Hu Jintao’s successor did not take place. Vague promises are made to fight corruption, enhance internal party democracy and increase inter-ethnic harmony; but Hu says China should not copy Western democracy.

24/10/2016 17:22:00 CHINA
Sixth Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party opens

The focus is on the issue of "strictly governing the party”. Corruption remains the main concern with economic and political reforms at a standstill. New members prepare to enter the Central Committee. Wang Qishan’s retirement is a question as is Xi’s.

11/10/2006 CHINA
Central Committee's plenum ends with 15 years worth of pledges
In a sign that not all is well in the land and that corruption is rampant, the in camera meeting's final communiqué talks about the need for ethics. The next party congress is scheduled for late next year. Hu's political rival, Zeng Qinghong, is tasked to organise the event.

19/10/2010 CHINA
Communist Party absolves itself, appoints Xi Jinping
The CCP reasserts its role as the guarantor of the country’s development. It does not address social problems, like the gap between haves and have-nots, corruption or pollution. Xi Jinping is promoted, whilst Kang Rixin is expelled. The future of the Party’s “princelings” weighs heavily on China’s future, marks the defeat of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. No political reform is on the horizon.

13/11/2017 08:54:00 CHINA
Xi Jinping 'Emperor for Life'. But really?

At the recent Chinese Communist Party Congress Xi filled major government bodies with friends and loyalists. But there are no possible successors. Like France's King Louis XIV, Xi can say, "The Party? It's me". The Central Committee filled with managers of state owned firms: a sign that economic reforms will be slow. Nationalism is a double-edged sword. If Xi fails, his many enemies in the Party will coalesce.

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