In the run-up, the central committee met on thursday to prepare for the change of power and to hear the results of the disciplinary commission’s investigations into ousted political bureau member bo xilai and sacked railroad minister liu zhijun.
Behind closed doors, the 370 or so members of the high party committee also discussed the report of outgoing party leader hu jintao and planned changes to the party constitution, which are to be submitted to the more than 2,200 delegates for approval. The party congress, which only takes place every five years, is expected to last a week. It is still unclear when the final day will be. In the end, the new political bureau and its powerful standing committee are approved.
Current vice president xi jinping (59) will take over as party leader from 69-year-old hu jintao, who is being replaced for age reasons. There was fierce wrangling until the very end over the new appointments to the inner circle of leaders. Whether the standing committee of the political bureau will again have nine members, as in the past, or only seven or even five, in order to make it more effective, is still an open question.
The generational change in party leadership will be followed by a change in government next march. Today’s vice premier li keqiang (57) to replace today’s prime minister wen jiabao (70). New party leader xi jinping also to become president in march. Due to the recent corruption traps, the preparations for the change of power, which had been planned for years, went anything but smoothly.
The fall of political star bo xilai, who had good prospects of ascending to the party leadership, led the party into the worst crisis in its recent history. At its meeting, the central committee will approve the political bureau’s decision to expel the former party chief of chongqing from the party as well. The politician, who had pursued a revival of revolutionary values, still enjoys support among left-wing conservative forces.
Bo xilai to be tried for corruption and abuse of office. His wife was sentenced to death by preservation in august for the murder of friend british businessman neil heywood. The report by the disciplinary commission, which investigates party members in china even before the public prosecutor’s office, also deals with the accusations against railroad minister liu zhijun, who was dismissed in february 2011. He allegedly enriched himself by spending billions on the rapid expansion of china’s high-speed rail network.
What changes to the party constitution are planned was not announced at the beginning of the central committee meeting. The meeting was allowed to last two to three days.