The Communist Party mouthpiece has lifted the lid on the lead-up to the back-room selection of the mainland's most powerful leaders, revealing that an intraparty vote had been a factor in determining promotions.
People's Daily said the process of selecting the 25-member Politburo had involved nearly 200 candidates and a 'democratic recommendation' system. The candidates were 63 or younger and of ministerial rank or a military equivalent.
However, a political analyst said the selection process was far from a showcase of democratic reform because the lineup had, as always, been prearranged.
The process started in early summer. More than 400 full and alternate members of the Central Committee and other 'relevant cadres' were allowed to cast a 'recommendation vote' at a meeting on June 25, the newspaper said.
A shortlist was then arrived at, based mainly on the deliberations of top leaders and opinions gathered from other sources, the daily said. But results of the vote and evaluations of candidates' performance, political credentials and disciplinary record were also taken into consideration, it said.
The Politburo Standing Committee agreed on a final list on September 27 and endorsed it on October 8.
Under President Hu Jintao , the Communist Party has pledged to promote intraparty democracy, by which is meant increasing accountability and subjecting cadres to more checks and balances within the party framework.
Mr Hu pledged in his address to the congress to expand intraparty democracy with regular reporting by the Politburo to Central Committee members.
Hong Kong-based China-watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the selection process had no impact on how Politburo members were chosen.
'It doesn't matter if they had 200 candidates. The state leaders had already decided who they wanted to pick. The process won't change anything,' he said.