China resumes leadership transition talks

Delegates hold meetings on second day of national congress to discuss appointments of party’s central committee.

Chinese delegates of the ruling Communist Party are holding closed-door meetings on the second day of the country’s national congress, a week-long event that will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change.

The politicians are expected to hold discussions on appointing officials to serve on the party’s central committee, which is the top decision-making body, at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Friday.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Beijing, said the the committee consists of “370 people, who are the top policy-making organ of the state”.

“That central committee will also appoint a politburo of 25 names, and in turn will also appoint a standing committee of the politburo. That will be seven or nine names and that will be the supreme council of the Communist Party,” he said.

“Although the Communist Party says it governs and decides policy by consensus, there is no doubt that the most senior leaders play the most important role in terms of affirming or creating this policy.”

Laura Kyle reports on Chinese media coverage of the congress

“So those members of the standing committee of the politburo will be crucial to determine what is the economic direction that this country takes.”

The delegates are also expected to discuss topics that President Hu Jintao had raised on Thursday in his last state-of-the-nation address before handing over power, which included serious calls for political and economic reforms. 

Hu warned China’s incoming leaders that corruption threatens the Communist Party and the state, acknowledging that public anger over graft and issues like environmental degradation had undermined the party’s support and led to surging numbers of protests.

“Combating corruption and promoting political integrity, which is a major political issue of great concern to the people,
is a clear-cut and long-term political commitment of the party,” Hu said.

“If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the party, and even cause the collapse of the party and the
fall of the state. We must thus make unremitting efforts to combat corruption.”

He promised political reform, but only to a degree, saying: “We will never copy a Western political system.”

“We will neither walk on the closed and rigid road, nor will we walk down the evil road of changing [our] flags and banners,” Hu said.

‘Corruption institutionalised’

During the week-long meeting, Hu will give up his role as party chief to Vice President Xi Jinping , his 59-year-old anointed successor who will take over state duties at the annual meeting of parliament in March.

In-depth coverage of China’s Communist Party congress

Richard McGregor, an author on China, told Al Jazeera that “Xi is no liberal, he is the creature of the party and will keep the status quo.

“The problem with China is that corruption is institutionalised, and because China is a one-party state, there are no independent bodies to check corruption.”

The run-up to the congress meeting has been overshadowed by a corruption scandal involving politician Bo Xilai, once a contender for a position on the top leadership.

The party has accused him of taking bribes and abusing his power to cover up his wife’s murder of a British businessman in the southwestern city of Chongqing, which he used to run.

While Hu did not name Bo in his speech, he left little doubt about the target.

“All those who violate party discipline and state laws, whoever they are and whatever power or official positions they
have, must be brought to justice without mercy,” Hu told delegates.

“Leading officials, especially high-ranking officials, must … exercise strict self-discipline and strengthen education and
supervision over their families and their staff; and they should never seek any privilege.”

The New York Times said last month that the family of Premier Wen Jiabao had accumulated at least $2.7bn in “hidden riches”, a report China labelled a smear.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies


With the world’s fastest growing economy, the Eastern giant has become one of the world’s foremost political forces.

8 Nov 2012
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