Three senior cadres have been shortlisted for promotion to China's Politburo Standing Committee in the coming year. The names of propaganda chief Ding Guan'gen and Vice-Premiers Qian Qichen and Li Lanqing have been circulated among regional cadres to test reactions to their probable elevation, Chinese sources said yesterday. If the feedback on any candidate is overwhelmingly negative, his promotion will be torpedoed or postponed. Thorough personnel reshuffles will take place at next year's 15th party congress, preparations for which started in the summer. The leadership had yet to decide whether to expand the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee to make room for younger talent, the sources said. Only the Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, General Liu Huaqing , 79, is sure to retire. Analysts in Beijing said the political fortunes of Mr Ding, 66, were rising because of his success in popularising President Jiang Zemin's line on 'talk more about politics'. Mr Qian, 67, would be valued because of his expertise on foreign affairs and on Hong Kong. Mr Li, 64, whose portfolio is foreign trade, was also a candidate for the position of premier. This was despite recent reports that dark-horse candidate Hu Jingtao , a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, was destined for the job. Given Mr Jiang's anxiety to prevent the generals from grabbing more power, it is possible no military officer will take General Liu's committee position. Since the three candidates for the Standing Committee are in their mid-60s, it is understood Mr Jiang's vaunted leadership rejuvenation programme will only be tried at the level of ministers and provincial chiefs. Party sources said about 60 cadres with the rank of vice-minister and vice-governor or higher had begun a training course at Beijing's Central Party School. These officials, in their early 40s to early 50s, were destined for fast-track promotion around the time of the 15th congress. Most of the up-and-coming cadres had professed loyalty to the 'central leadership with comrade Jiang Zemin as its core'.