Hu slips on to list of the year's top people
Leu Siew Ying in Guangzhou
Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao has been named one of Nanfang Weekly's personalities of the year along with a basketball player, a movie tycoon and social and political activists.
Mr Hu was chosen along with 10 other men and women in the annual people-of-the-year competition, despite the fact that his name did not appear on the list of candidates provided by the Guangzhou-based newspaper.
When contacted yesterday, an editor at the paper would not say how many people voted for Mr Hu. The front of the weekly's latest issue was dominated by a picture of Mr Hu visiting an elderly cadre, an apparent attempt to set him aside from other personalities in the list.
Anti-germ warfare activist Wang Xuan headed the list with 7,040 votes, followed by Lu Rizhou, party secretary of Changzhi city in Shanxi, with 5,651 votes, Hong Kong movie tycoon Sir Run Run Shaw with 4,240 and Lu Jingyi, environment protection bureau director for Wugang city in Henan province, with 4,029 votes. Houston Rockets basketball star Yao Ming received 2,691 votes.
By naming the enigmatic Mr Hu, the newspaper reinforced his image as a caring leader and put him into the limelight, analysts said.
'The newspaper has a different set of criteria for the list. This is a selection of people who have made the biggest impact on society this year,' said Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences deputy director Li Jiangtao.
'Hu Jintao is a typical representative of the leadership. He represents the new leadership.'
Placing Mr Hu on the list did not lower his status in the eyes of the public but showed him to be like the others, a man liked by the masses, Mr Li said, adding that Mr Hu's track record in the impoverished provinces of Guizhou and Gansu and in Tibet had endeared him to the people.
'Hu brings new hope for China and its rapid economic development. People hope that the new leadership is up to the job,' he said.
The list was similar to one produced by Sina - a popular news portal, the newspaper said.
The Web site did not post the list while the list on Nanfang Weekly's Web site was blocked giving rise to media speculation that the authorities did not want Mr Hu portrayed in the same light as the other personalities.