Xinhua News Agency

Vice-premier's hidden message

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2006, 12:00am

A news report about a letter written by cancer-stricken Vice-Premier Huang Ju to the nation's labour organisations congratulating them on their job-creation efforts is being seen as a subtle message about the political standing of China's sixth most senior leader.

Analysts said they believed Monday's Xinhua report was intended to show that Mr Huang, reportedly diagnosed with cancer, was unlikely to bow out of politics because of his illness.

Xinhua reported that Mr Huang, 68, sent a congratulatory message to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and two labour organisations on Monday to coincide with the launch of a week-long nationwide programme designed to inspire private businesses to employ workers laid off by state-owned firms.

Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, from City University of Hong Kong, said Mr Huang's message, sent with the leadership's approval, showed Beijing had no intention of replacing him.