Chongqing party secretary Zhang Dejiang yesterday denied that the "Chongqing Model" ever existed - yet another blow to the legacy of his disgraced predecessor, Bo Xilai .
The term has often been used to describe the series of initiatives that Bo championed during his tenure as party chief of the western metropolis, including his revival of Mao-era culture.
"What you've just mentioned … referring to the so-called Chongqing Model, no such Chongqing Model ever existed in my opinion," said Zhang, who is also a vice-premier, after the city's delegation met at the party congress.
Zhang was responding to a reporter's question as to whether Bo's removal from the party - and likely prosecution for corruption and his role in his wife's murder of a British businessman last year - was also a denial of the Chongqing Model.
More than 100 domestic and foreign reporters flocked to the Chongqing Hall at the Great Hall of the People an hour or two before the scheduled opening time of 3pm to attend an open session of Chongqing party delegates.
But most of the reporters found they could not squeeze into the tiny press area, which comprised roughly a quarter of the relatively small room. During his time as party secretary, the media-savvy Bo used to open half of the venue to the media.
Bo also routinely filled the reception area of the hall with books, computer discs and glossy brochures advertising Chongqing's success. Zhang, in contrast, provided just black-and-white background data books.
Zhang has been widely tipped for promotion to the party's innermost decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, after the closing of the party congress on Wednesday.
Asked about his possible ascension, Zhang played it safe, saying only that he had no time to concern himself with such things. He was too busy preparing for the party congress and studying President Hu Jintao's work report.
Zhang also said he had not seen any evidence to substantiate reports that Neil Heywood, the businessman murdered by Bo's wife, was a British spy. Bo's wife, Gu Kailai , was given a suspended death penalty in August after being convicted of poisoning Heywood.