China celebrates 63rd National day
Beijing: Bracing for once-in-a-decade power change, China`s top leadership on Monday appeared relaxed at the 63rd National Day celebrations as they laid the floral wreaths at Hero`s Monument in Tiananmen Square here.
The old guard of Communist Party is set to hand over power to new leaders next month after staving off bid by expelled leader Bo Xilai to wrest control of a key post.
It is perhaps for the last time, President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao who led the Party for the past 10 years laid the floral wreaths at Hero`s Monument.
Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang who are tipped to succeed Hu and Wen respectively were part of the nine members Standing Committee of the Politburo that took part in the ceremony.
They joined 3,600 representatives from all walks of life in Beijing in the ceremony to mark the anniversary of founding of the People`s Republic of China by Mao Zedong, whose Marxian policies however were relegated to history in the last three decades.
The country is virtually shut down for about a week to celebrate the mid autumn festival.
Ahead of the party`s 18th Congress scheduled for the next month to select the new leadership, the nervousness prevailed when Bo, heading the 30 million strong Chongqing city, stepped up his pro-Maoist slogans and songs attempting to recreate the by-gone days of Cultural Revolution of 1960s.
Initially Bo`s Maoist logic gelled with vast sections of Chinese lower middle classes who were caught in the lower income trap while those in power and business emerged as millionaires.
The party leadership headed by Hu, all loyalists of Mao`s successor Deng Xiaoping, who kept a close watch on Bo`s rise made use of the alleged role of his wife Gu Kailai in the murder of a British businessman and the defection of his close aide Wang Lijun to US Consulate in Chengdu to seek asylum to finish his career.
Wang`s attempts to defect to US, perceived as a rival in China, fearing reprisals from Bo for probing the role of his wife Gu Kailai has created a negative image against the pro-Maoist leader.
The party not only expelled him, but also launched a publicity blitzkrieg highlighting his "scandalous" life besides the damage Gu has caused with business deals with British businessman Neil Heywood, whom she subsequently confessed to have murdered.
She has been given a suspended death sentence while Wang has been given 15 year jail sentence.
Bo`s trial is expected to be completed ahead the November 8 Congress to seal his fate once for all.
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