The Political Transition Will Be Tweeted (Updated)

Today reporters poured into the Great Hall of the People to hear the long-awaited announcement of who had been named to the Standing Committee, the elite group of men who run the country. While waiting for the press conference to begin, foreign reporters in the room (and those who hadn’t been invited) kept themselves busy on Twitter. First, speculation began over whether seven or nine members would be named to the Standing Committee: China’s new Standing Committee will have seven members. Black numbers on floor of stage: 7, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4, 6. That’s where each will stand. — Mark MacKinnon/马凯 (@markmackinnon) November 15, 2012 Now appear to be 9 markers on the stage…..?! — Josh Noble (@JoshTANoble) November 15, 2012 How pathetic are we: counting black numbers on the floor to scrape up a shred of information…. — Sam Crane (@UselessTree) November 15, 2012 9 bunches of flowers? 9 pbsc members?..haha — Bill Bishop (@niubi) November 15, 2012 Analyst on CCTV informs us that “this approach is both transparent and non-transparent” — Tom Lasseter (@TomLasseter) November 15, 2012 When finally some news came over the wires: FLASH: Xi Jinping becomes new head of China’s Communist Party; is set to become president in March – Xinhua — Reuters Top News (@Reuters) November 15, 2012 Followed quickly by: CHINA ALERTS ON NEW PARTY LEADERSHIP SENT IN ERROR AND ARE WITHDRAWN – RTRS — Reuters China 路透社中国 (@ReutersChina) November 15, 2012 And so the guessing continued as the scheduled opening time came and went: Any longer and Clint Eastwood is gonna come out in the Great Hall and talk to the empty chairs. — Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) November 15, 2012 Maybe Jiang Zemin is wrestling one of the members to the ground backstage, hoping he can serve on another standing committee. ...
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