Chinese party elites meet in Beijing

September 21, 2009 | Posted by Chris

Yesterday in Beijing a major policy meeting of Chinese government officials was held, major news outlets report. Officially called the fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Communist Party of China Central Committee, the meeting gathers all Communist Party members in China to vote on important intra-party issues. While minority political parties do exist in China, they are dwarfed by the size and clout of the Communist Party, so Communist Party plenary meetings like this bear special importance for how China is ruled. Yesterday's meeting focused on eliminating corruption within the party, and to this end there is a push to require high-level officials to disclose all assets of their immediate families. Most significant to China observers, however, is what did not happen: Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is generally expected to become the next Chinese President when Hu Jintao steps down in 2013, was not elevated to the Vice Chairmanship of the Central Military Committee, a move that would have essentially solidified his position as Hu's successor. Observers note that Xi was given "a lot of face" and is still on track to become China's next leader; experts suggest reasons for the delay may include that the military may not yet be comfortable with Xi, Hu may wish to retain some power after he retires, or that the move is to help establish a better system of checks and balances within the party.

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