Beidaihe meeting

Liu Yunshan re-emerges, suggesting Beidaihe policy talks winding down

Liu Yunshan's Beijing event suggests policy summit in Beidaihe is reaching its conclusion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 August, 2013, 3:51am

A top Communist Party's official's reappearance in Beijing yesterday hinted at an end to the closely watched policy meetings in the coastal resort town of Beidaihe.

Liu Yunshan, who ranks fifth on the Politburo's all-powerful Standing Committee, appeared in Beijing to host a meeting on the Communist Party's "mass line" education campaign, according to China Central Television.

The mass line is jargon coined by Mao Zedong to describe the party's need to stay in touch with the public, but the subject matter was seen by many as less significance than Liu's presence. Liu heads the party's Secretariat and serves as its propaganda tsar and would be expected to be part of any top-level discussions in advance of key policy meetings this autumn.

"This hints that Chinese leaders might be wrapping up their Beidaihe summit," said Zhang Lifan , a political affairs commentator.

Most of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee have been out of the public view for nearly two weeks, coinciding with the annual start time of the secretive policy conclave.

The last time a Standing Committee member was seen was when Yu Zhengsheng concluded a six-day trip to Tibet on August 6. Liu's visit to Beidaihe the previous day was viewed as a signal that the meetings were beginning.

In addition to Liu's reappearance yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that top leaders would host Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta when he arrives next Monday. Such plans would likely not be announced if leaders expected to be hunkered down in Beidaihe.

Xinhua cited a statement by the Kenyan government which said that Kenyatta and President Xi Jinping expected to discuss several issues, including Kenya's infrastructure, security in the region, enhancing trade and economic relations.

Such a meeting would be Xi's first public appearance since July 31, when he attended a ceremony to promote six senior military officers to the rank of full general in Beijing.

"Personally, it feels like this year's Beidaihe meeting is longer than in previous years," Zhang said. "This could reflect heated discussions behind the curtains."

He speculated that there was considerable disagreement within the party leadership on economic policies, but that a general consensus has been reached, without any major changes.

The central government planned to unveil details about the Shanghai free trade zone late last month, but policymakers sent lawyers to tighten the legal framework and reduce the risk of legal disputes involving foreign investors, the South China Morning Post has reported.