China: Woman may break into top echelons of CPC



Beijing: A woman may for the first time break into the so far male-dominated top echelons of China's ruling Communist Party, as she appears to be in line for a seat in the nine-member Standing Committee which virtually rules the nation.

Liu Yandong, 67, a well connected 'princeling' and Politburo member, could get selected as a member of the Standing Committee in the once in a decade change of leadership next month.

The ten-day Congress would meet from November 8 here to select a new set of leaders replacing the present lot led by President Hu Jintao.

Liu is the only woman in China's 24-member strong politburo, many party watchers say that she has a good chance to get into the exclusive leadership club to create history.

Born in Jiangsu, Liu whose father was a vice-minister of agriculture in the past, was said to have been initiated into party by former president Jiang Zemin's foster father.

She is wife Yang Yuanxing, also 'princeling' who runs his own technology company.

Like present President Hu Jintao, she studied at Tsinghua University and worked as his deputy in the party's youth league.

She later did her masters degree in sociology from Renmin University of China.

She rose to prominence through the influential United Front Work Department and at the last party congress in 2007 in which she was made a Politburo member in charge of health, education, science and sports.

From the days of its founder Mao Zedong, the 82 million member-Communist Party of China, which is the longest party to be in power has remained a male bastion, with few woman taking up top positions even though the lot of the women improved under its rule.

According to a study there is one woman among the 24 members of the Politburo, one in 16 full members of the Communist Party's Central Committee is female and only one of 120 centrally-run state-owned companies, the most powerful economic sector, is run by a woman.

Liu's entry, if it happens could change all that.

PTI