Two of the Communist Party's top leaders have been left off two newly formed bodies.
Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan are the only two members of the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee to be excluded from the party's leading small group on reform and the National Security Commission (NSC).
The Politburo Standing Committee is the top decision-making body in the country and constitutes the collective leadership of Communist Party.
Yu is chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the mainland's top political advisory body. Wang heads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party watchdog heading the crackdown on official graft.
Two senior local government officials - Huang Qifan, mayor of Chongqing, and Han Zheng, the Shanghai party secretary - may also be excluded from membership of the leading group.
The exclusion of Wang and Yu from membership of both bodies has prompted speculation.
However, Wang Jiaxiang, a Beijing-based political analyst, offered an explanation for their absence.
"The CPPCC is a political advisory body outside the party. Yu's absence reflects the recent reform trend that the CPPCC will become more independent," he said. One reform being considered was to expand "consultative democracy" outside the party.
Wang Jiaxiang said Wang's Qishan's absence "will help the CCDI become more independent" and improve its arms-length oversight of the Communist Party.
Sources say Wang Huning , who sits on the 25-member Politburo and is director of the party Central Committee's Policy Research Office, will become director of the general office of the leading group.
Wang Huning has also been linked with a similar post on the NSC.
Additional reporting by Teddy Ng