In China, the More Things Change . . . – Joseph Kahn
The New York Times analyzes the recently concluded 17th Party Congress:
President Hu Jintao used the word democracy 61 times in his main address to the congress. The official Xinhua news agency reported that the party nominated 221 candidates to fill the 204 full seats on the Central Committee, meaning that 8.3 percent of those deemed eligible did not get a seat. Xinhua called this a “competitive election.”
In reality, of course, China’s one-party system still owes more to Lenin than to Jefferson. It convenes congresses every five years to ratify leadership decisions on policy and personnel. The message is not change, but continuity.
After months of secretive negotiations, the nine members of the new Politburo Standing Committee, the country’s top ruling body, were presented to the public for the first time on Monday morning. Their appointment was fait accompli, and the stiff, scripted ceremony to introduce them, which lasted barely 10 minutes, resembled a Communist coronation. [Full text]