Threat to balance of power

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 April, 1995, 12:00am

THE balance of power in Beijing could be about to change undermining the influence of conservative forces, Hong Kong analysts said.

But their general assessment was that Chen's death would not have an immediate impact on the political and economic development of the mainland.

A veteran China watcher, Ching Cheong, yesterday said the opposition against patriarch Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms would be weakened.

Mr Ching, editor-in-chief of the now defunct Contemporary Monthly, said the balance of power could be adjusted.

'Chen and Deng had been playing an important role in suppressing confrontations both inside and outside the party.

'The factions made their moves according to their elders' opinions.' Chen and Deng in fact had a counter-balancing effect on each other. It might not necessarily be good for China if such a balancing and checking mechanism ceased to work, he said.

At the same time Mr Ching said 'elder politics' was likely to continue.

Other party leaders like Yang Shangkun, Wan Li and Bo Yibo are likely to form the new batch of backstage advisers, he added.

But economic scholar and Guangdong provincial legislator in Hong Kong, Priscilla Lau Pui-king, said the influence of elders was fading and more government bureaucrats were now in control.

Ms Lau said it was impossible for China to return to a planned economy as had been advocated by economists like Chen.

'There will be different opinions among leaders, but the overall direction towards a market economic structure will remain intact,' she said.

A standing committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Xu Simin, said Chen failed to make any contribution to economic reforms in the past 15 years.

His death would have no influence over the current state leadership, Mr Xu believed. But he praised Chen for having been a honest leader.

Hong Kong property tycoon Li Ka-shing said he believed Chen's death would not affect the territory's economy.