10/14/2011, 00.00
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Economy and Maoist slogans at the CP Central Committee

The 370-member Communist Party Central Committee gets underway tomorrow. Participants must pick 25 candidates for the Politburo and 9 for the Standing Committee, China’s de facto government. Unless there is some last minute surprise, Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang should be elected.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China opens tomorrow with the economy as the main item on the table. During four days of closed-door discussions, the 370-member body is also expected to choose the 25-member Politburo as well as the powerful 9-member Standing Committee, China’s de facto government. All this is a prelude to the upcoming National People’s Congress, which should see President Hu Jintao announce his retirement after ten years in office.

Various political figures are vying for succession, ranging from Harvard-trained party princelings (children of the first generation revolutionaries) to those, like Chongqing Secretary Bo Xilai, who want to save China by going back to old-fashioned Maoism.

Unless there is some last minute surprise, current Vice President Xi Jinping, seen by many as Hu’s heir-designate, and Vice Premier Li Keqiang, are the leading successors to President Hu and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

In fact, the race for the top spots is not yet over as the economy monopolises the agenda. During the decade-long rule by the party’s Fourth Generation of rulers, China has had an average 10 per cent growth rate, overtaking Japan as the world’s second largest economy. In the coming ten years, it should take first place since the United States has been seriously weakened by the current world economy crisis and will likely have to give up the top spot.

It will be important to see “Who will get more pictures, more photo opportunities, whose talk or speech will be reported,” said Huang Jing, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

For him, all eyes will be on the prominence given at the plenum to standing committee aspirants such as Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Party Organisation Department head Li Yuanchao.

Eyes must also focus on Bo Xilai, who has led an effort to reintroduce revolutionary slogans and policies from Mao’s times, Huang said, something the government has not entirely abandoned.

On neo-Maoism within the Communist Party’s AsiaNews has published a number of articles by Willy Lam.
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