Before the wheels fell off of Bo Xilai’s Red Culture Express, his “Chongqing Model” of governance was often mentioned alongside Guangdong party chief Wang Yang’s comparatively liberal approach, with the two men underscoring the increasingly public ideological cleavage within the Chinese Communist Party and seen as competing to define the next chapter in China’s development. With Bo Xilai now out of the picture, Reuters’ John Ruwitch and Michael Martina report that Wang now appears poised to nab a seat on the Politburo Standing Committee in the upcoming leadership transition:
Wang, 57, used his provincial party congress meeting this month to garner publicity ahead of the 18th national Party Congress where, late this year, a new and younger leadership group will be unveiled to replace President Hu Jintao’s team.
Wang’s performance at the Guangdong congress highlighted his image as the politician most likely to take up the reformist mantle of outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao, who had seen Bo as a threat to his reform legacy and moved swiftly to cut him down.
“Wang Yang’s speech was sort of valedictory,” said Willy Lam, a Hong Kong-based expert on the Chinese leadership.
The article also calls attention to two other provincial-level party chief’s, Shanghai’s Yu Zhengsheng and Tianjin’s Zhang Gaoli, who are seen as contenders for seats on the Standing Committee and, like Wang, can use their respective party congresses as platforms to make their case for promotion.