Reuters reports from Beijing: “China‘s commerce minister was surprisingly blocked from a spot on the ruling Communist Party’s elite body during a conclave this week, sources said, a rare snub for an official that could raise questions about trade policies during his tenure.
“The failure of Chen Deming to secure a seat on the 25-member Politburo marks one of the few surprises to emerge from the party’s five-yearly congress that wrapped this week with the anointing of a new slate of top leaders who will run the world’s second largest economy.
“It is also the first time in more than two decades that an official designated for a Politburo spot has been voted out of the party’s 205-member Central Committee in elections. Central Committee membership is a prerequisite for a Politburo seat.
“‘Chen Deming was voted out during multi-candidate elections to the Central Committee,’ one source told Reuters. State news agency Xinhua said there were eight percent more candidates than seats in a preliminary vote before the formal election on Wednesday.”
“Until now, a politician designated to become a Politburo member has not been barred from the Central Committee since 1987, when Deng Liqun, an ultra-conservative and reviled Marxist ideologue, was voted out at the 13th congress in a deeply embarrassing fall from grace.”
However, according to Zhao Ziyang’s memoirs, Deng’s case was entirely different. Deng was then in charge of party propaganda. He led the conservatives to attack Zhao’s reform (which was in fact Deng Xiaoping’s reform) in party mouthpieces and forced Zhao to shut down the mouthpieces including the “Red Flag (Hongqi in Chinese)”, the authoritative party magazine then. Powerful conservative elders were so furious that they wanted to remove Zhao.
To appease the conservative elders, Zhao told Deng Xiaoping to let Deng Liqun be elected a Politburo member, but it turned out that Deng Liqun was not even elected as a Central Committee member and was thus not qualified to enter the Politburo.
However, at that time Zhao had no control at all while Deng Xiaoping had full control of the election results at the party congress.
I wonder whether Chen Deming’s failure to be elected means that those who intended to have Chen elected into the Politburo lacked 100% control of the election results, and allowed delegates to refuse to elect their candidate.
If so, delegates really had little freedom to refuse to obey their instruction. That was really a little inner-party democracy in China. However little the democracy, it was a least a good beginning.Source: Reuters “China’s commerce minister voted out in rare congress snub: sources”
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