Changes in the CCP leadership are being cemented as the 18th Party Congress draws closer. Ling Jihua, an ally of outgoing President and Party General Secretary Hu Jintao, was removed from his powerful post as director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and put in charge of the United Front Work Department, an indication that he may not join the Politburo Standing Committee as many expected. Ling was replaced by former Guizhou Party Secretary Li Zhanshu, another Hu ally. From Bloomberg:
The personnel changes may be part of political jockeying ahead of the party’s 18th Congress, where China’s leaders will pick a new generation to rule the world’s most-populous nation for the next decade. The appointments mean that Ling may not secure a spot on the party’s Politburo at the congress, said Joseph Fewsmith, director of the Center for the Study of Asia at Boston University.
“I think it was a swap, a Hu ally for a Hu ally, but not an equal swap,” Fewsmith, who focuses on China’s elite politics, said in an e-mail. “Ling was a very viable candidate for the Politburo, Li is not.”
The Australian also looks at the significance of the swap and at the potential makeup of the incoming Politburo Standing Committee [PBSC]:
Only one other member of the PBSC, Li Keqiang – who is slated to replace Wen Jiabao as premier – will remain, with the seven other members retiring.
“The new guy has good relations with Hu Jintao and also has ties with the new incoming leader,” Bill Bishop, author of The Sinocism China Newsletter, told AFP. “He will be an extremely influential person in Beijing. The party general secretary needs someone like this who is competent and can be trusted. More importantly, this is really an indication that
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