Leadership rejig expected at annual CPPCC meeting

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 March, 2008, 12:00am

The annual meeting of the country's top political advisory body opening tomorrow is expected to see a major leadership reshuffle.

Deng Pufang , son of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping , is likely to be elected a vice-chairman of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which is headed by Jia Qinglin .

Mr Deng's appointment would not only be recognition of his long contribution to the welfare of the disabled, but also a tribute to his late father on the 30th anniversary of the country's reform and opening up, which was set in motion after the chaotic 10-year Cultural Revolution.

Mr Deng, 64, who was paralysed from waist down after jumping from a window to avoid persecution during the Cultural Revolution, has promoted the welfare of China's disabled since 1983. He was a CPPCC delegate from 1998 to 2003, and is president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation and executive president of the Beijing Olympic Games' organising committee.

Traditionally a retirement home for powerful politicians, the 11th CPPCC is expected to have some of its top posts taken by senior party and government officials who have reached retirement age.

Sun Jiazheng , 64, is likely to retire as culture minister, a post he has held since 1998, and be elected a vice-chairman. Culture vice-minister Yu Youjun is expected to succeed him.

Heilongjiang party secretary Qian Yunlu , 63, a protege of President Hu Jintao , is also tipped to become one of the 27 vice-chairmen. He was Guizhou governor and then party secretary from 1998 until being appointed Heilongjiang party secretary in 2005. He was elected chairman of the provincial people's congress in January.

Also expected to be elected vice-chairmen are Du Qinglin , head of the United Front Work Department; Liao Hui , director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office; and Wang Gang , former director of the General Office of the party's Central Committee.

Chen Kuiyuan , director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Bai Lichen are two vice-chairmen whose roles are expected to be renewed.

The meeting will have 2,237 delegates - 55.9 per cent of them first-timers. The body said this year's delegates were about two years younger on average than those five years ago, with an average age of 55.3. Some 92.4 per cent have received at least college education.

Also, 400 deputies from the 11th National People's Congress, which starts on Wednesday, were briefed about the macroeconomic, social and welfare situation and the execution of last year's budget by National Development and Reform Commission chairman Ma Kai , Finance Minister Xie Xuren and Vice-Minister of Labour and Social Security Yang Zhiming .

Fresher faces

The average age of this year's CPPCC delegates is two years younger

Of the 2,237 delegates who start meeting tomorrow, 1,250 are first-timers, a percentage of