18th Party Congress

Princeling commissar Liu Yuan forfeits key role over rumoured links to Bo

General loses seat on presidium after failing to secure promotion in PLA political department

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 8:02am

General Liu Yuan , the political commissar of the People's Liberation Army's General Logistics Department, has failed to retain his membership of the presidium of the Communist Party's national congress, sparking speculation about his early retirement amid rumours of his connection to disgraced former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai .

Liu, 61, was left off a list of nearly 250 members of the congress presidium released yesterday, Xinhua reported.

Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, a political scientist at Hong Kong's City University, said Liu's political career "may have been adversely affected by rumours about him and Bo Xilai".

A source close to Bo's family said Liu was a classmate of Bo Xilai's younger brother Bo Xicheng , adding: "He [Liu] might have been deeply implicated by Bo's downfall."

Both Liu and Bo Xicheng were born in 1951 and were students of Beijing's prestigious No4 Middle School, the alma mater of scores of descendants of the party's revolutionary veterans. Liu is the son of former president Liu Shaoqi . Bo Xilai and Bo Xicheng are the sons of former vice-premier Bo Yibo .

But General Zhang Haiyang , the 63-year-old political commissar of the PLA's strategic missile force who was also rumoured to have links to Bo Xilai, had his presidium membership renewed yesterday.

Another source familiar with military affairs said: "Liu has also been undermined by his political rivals after bringing down Gu Junshan earlier this year." Gu was dismissed as a deputy head of the PLA's General Logistics Department in January and later put under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes.

Liu failed to secure promotion to director of the PLA's General Political Department in the latest military reshuffle a few weeks ago, despite being tipped as a leading contender for the post.

It remains unclear whether Liu will also lose his membership of the party's Central Committee, which will be "elected" by the more than 2,000 delegates to the party congress when it closes next Wednesday.

General Zhang Qinsheng , the deputy chief of general staff, and Deng Rong, one of Deng Xiaoping's daughters, also failed to retain their presidium membership.

Newcomers to the presidium included Meng Xuenong , the executive deputy secretary of the Work Committee of Departments of the party's Central Committee, and Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan .

Meanwhile, Li Zhanshu , the newly appointed head of the party's general office, became one of three deputy secretaries general of the congress, along with Li Yuanchao , the head of the party's central organisation department, and Liu Yunshan , the head of its central publicity department.