Politburo seats to be contested in elections, writes Reuters (UPDATED)
18th Party Congress media coverage roundup
In a boilerplate press release on how important the 18th Party Congress - which begins tomorrow - is to deciding China's future direction, the People's Daily ends by predicting the new beginning of a great revolution to China and even the world.
Reuters, meanwhile, breaks down what can really be expected to take place during the Congress, aside from what sources tell the news agency will be elections - contested, even - for the 25 seats on the Communist Party's Politburo. [Update: Chinese political gossip site Boxun has since posted an item which suggests that contested elections will be introduced during this Congress, but within the CPC Central Committee and not the Politburo.]
It sounds similar to a rumour some Chinese media floated two months ago, but one on which Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Yanzhong Huang casts water, given the conservative leaning of the latest Politburo Standing Committee prediction.
Also, Reuters senior correspondent John Ruwitch looks at whether de-Maoification now would mean much for a Communist Party that may have pursued capitalist reforms for more than 30 years but also has concerns over maintaining its own legitimacy.
Xinhua jokes that foreign reporters now in Beijing to cover the Congress aren't getting enough to eat, and Time magazine's Hannah Beech notes that they're not being fed any useful information, either. From Xinhua:
At the reception, Luo Shugang, chief of the information team of the congress, expressed appreciation for the journalists' passion about the congress and said he looked forward to seeing their "masterpiece" coverage of the congress.
"I hope journalists can report the CPC and China in a full and truthful light," Luo said.
In the People's Daily poll of public expectations placed on the 18th Party Congress seen above, 'democratic politics' remains in first place followed by 'social livelihood' and 'anti-corruption'.
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-- Orville Schell: Beijing on Edge as It Gropes Way Toward New Leadership Now, for the first time in Chinese Communist Party history, there is no real "big leader," and thus no such source of legitimacy for a new leadership. Nor is there any confirmed system. There is neither a bloodline, relied on during dynastic times, nor the elections upon which democracies rely.
Council on Foreign Relations
-- The 18th Party Congress: A Setback for President Hu? An updated list of PBSC members is circulating on the eve of the political meeting. [...] Reform minded leaders such as Li Yuanchao and Wang Yang are not included in this list. All of this ultimately might not bode well for the prospect of political reform in China.
-- 中国首个互联网协会党委在北京成立 百度新浪成立党委 //Caijing reports that Baidu and Sina recently established their own Party committees, and Youku, Kaixin001 and Qihoo 360 are among a number of Beijing-based internet companies that have also set up Party branches.
China Youth Online
-- 万人民调:未来十年公众最焦虑贫富分化阻碍国家发展 //CYOL last week asked 11,405 of its readers if they feel confident about China's situation in the coming 10 years, which just over half did. The newspaper also asked readers to rate the biggest barriers to China's development over the next decade, which they decided were serious widening of the rich-poor gap (75.4%), lack of checks and balances on state power (59.4%), growing influence of interest groups (52.8%), worsening environment (52.6%), infringement of the rights of marginalised groups (50.3%), economic slowdown (31.3%), heightened international tension (28.2%) and the increase in elderly population (27.0%).
-- 环球调查：十八大近八成民众关注经济民生 Global Times has published results from its own questionnaire survey this week which had 1,203 resondents from 7 mainland cities. 76.9 per cent of participants named economic development and social welfare as their main area of concern regarding the 18th Party Congress, followed by 51.4 per cent who want more information on overall policy on the country's future direction. Also, 81.4 per cent of respondents answered in support of "political system reform" (政治体制改革).
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