Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In China, the More Things Change . . .

New York Times

After months of secretive negotiations, the nine members of the new Politburo Standing Committee, the country’s top ruling group, were presented to the public for the first time on Monday morning. Their appointment was a fait accompli, and the stiff, scripted ceremony to introduce them, which lasted barely 10 minutes, resembled a Communist coronation.

The Communist Party has run China for 58 years. Despite the dynamic, even reckless expansion that has become the norm for the country’s frothy economy, the party has become more entrenched, more predictable and more enamored of its rituals.

Decisions are made collectively by a small, often invisible elite. They tussle over the spoils of one-party rule. But they agree on the big issues facing the country. They want fast growth, a nonaligned foreign policy and political stability. If they are about to try something new, their secret is safe...

The new Politburo Standing Committee, like the old, consists of nine men. Even most of the new members are seen as beholden to Mr. Jiang, who at 81 has been fully retired for three years, as well as to Mr. Hu, now 64. The personnel shifts did not suggest that the president would have any new leverage to ram through an assertive agenda for change, even if he had one. Full Article Link

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