Zhou Yongkang

Security tsar will attend party congress after all

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am

Security tsar Zhou Yongkang was elected a delegate for Xinjiang to the upcoming Communist Party congress, dispelling renewed speculation that he might have been sidelined.

Zhou, one of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's supreme decision-making body, was perceived by some to be an ally of former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai, who is under party disciplinary investigation.

Rumours over the opaque party politics have been rife following Bo's downfall in mid-March.

Zhou had been a delegate for another province, Hebei, in the last party congress, in 2007. His absence from the province's delegation this year, as reported by the official Hebei Daily on Thursday, drew speculation that he might not attend the five-yearly party congress.

But yesterday, the Xinjiang Daily reported that Zhou would instead be one of the region's congress delegates. The report said that Zhou was elected at a regional party meeting chaired by Xinjiang party boss Zhang Chunxian on Friday, soon after he completed a four-day tour in the restive Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Wednesday, with footage of the trip aired on state television the following day.

It said Zhou, who was a candidate nominated by the party centrally, received a unanimous vote from the 630 members who attended the meeting. When the result was announced, Zhou received long applause from local members to 'show their appreciation for the support from the central government'.

Zhou made a high-profile appearance on Friday with President Hu Jintao and gave a speech before top party officials at a police ceremony in the Great Hall of the People. It was the second public appearance in less than two weeks for Zhou, who also serves as secretary of the party's political and legislative affairs.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that Zhou had been asked to confess errors and hand control of the mainland's security apparatus to his deputy, Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu.