CPC shuffles top military body ahead of leadership change meet



Beijing: The ruling Communist Party today shuffled China's powerful military body ahead of next week's key Congress to select new leadership by elevating two army officials amid speculation that President Hu Jintao may retain his say by continuing to head the Central Military Commission.

The four-day meeting of the Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Party concluded ahead of the November 8 Congress to select new leaders and approved key policy document to be submitted before it.

At the session, Fan Changlong, a senior Army Commander in-charge of the Jinan Military command overseeing eastern China and Xu Qiliang, Commander of the Air Force were appointed as Vice Chairmen of the CPC Central Military Commission (CMC).

The 11-member CMC is headed by Hu, who is expected to step down as President of the country and General Secretary of the Party after after the Congress, ending his 10-year stint.

Vice President Xi Jinping, one of the three Vice Chairmen of the CMC is widely tipped to succeed Hu as China's president and party chief. Considering that most of the new military appointments were packed with military officials known to Hu, analysts familiar with the secretive process say the 69-year-old is likely to remain Chairman of CMC, like his predecessor Jiang Zemin, who continued to head the CMC for about two years after he relinquished Presidency.

In the details of the document approved by the Politburo there were again no references to "Mao Zedong thought", which in the past raised question whether the ideology of the party founder which has been diluted over the past two decades is completely abandoned.

Analysts say as document which was not published in full by official Xinhua news agency may retain some references but essentially the Party continued with the reformist agenda proposed by Mao's successor, Deng Xiaoping.

On the economic situation, the document said the Politburo continued to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, maintained the continuity and stability of macroeconomic policies, and made efforts in expanding domestic demands, strengthening innovation, reducing energy use and emissions, deepening reform and improving people's livelihoods.

It summurised the work of the past five years and termed it as an "extraordinary" period.

"The country's economic development has remained stable and rapid. Reform and opening-up made significant progress. People's living standards have remarkably improved. Democratic and legal system construction have taken new steps," it said.

PTI