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Jintao is all-powerful
Chinese Vice-President’s wings clipped

Beijing, October 21
Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong was today eased out from the ruling Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee, bolstering President Hu Jintao’s control over the party on the eve of the crucial election to select the new-generation leadership.

Zeng (68), reportedly a close ally of former President and CPC general-secretary Jiang Zemin, who was the chief of the party’s organisational department, was excluded along with security chief Luo Gan, 72, and anti-corruption bureau head Wu Guanzheng (69).

With the exit of Zeng, Luo and Wu, Hu’s apparent bid to pack his men into the current nine-member Politburo Standing Committee, the apex of power, is expected to become easier after months of jockeying for power between the rival camps.

Two Vice-Premiers including Wu Yi, known as the “Iron Lady” and defence minister Gen Cao Gangchuan were also not on the 371-member Committee elected by 2,235 delegates at the 17th party National Congress on its closing day today.

In a multi-candidate vote, Hu, Wu Bangguo, top legislator and the number two in the party hierarchy and premier Wen Jiabao were re-elected to the Central Committee which will tomorrow name the new general secretary and Politburo which in turn will pick the all powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

Meanwhile, President Hu Jintao today ensured that he would be placed in the pantheon of Chinese Communist greats with the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) enshrining his concept of “Scientific Outlook on Development” (SOD) by amending its Constitution. Hu (64), set to be re-elected general secretary of the CPC on Monday will now be placed alongside ‘Chairman’ Mao Zedong and other Chinese Communist greats, analysts said.

China will have a new Defence Minister with the incumbent, General Cao Gangchuan retiring from the powerful Central Committee of the ruling CPC here today. Gen. Cao’s name was not in the list of members elected to the 17th Central Committee of the CPC, indicating that he would retire from the post. Cao is currently vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, state councillor and defence minister, of the world’s largest standing force.

As China’s economic juggernaut rolls on pulled by reforms and opening up, the ruling Communist Party of China today amended its Constitution to foster the private sector. Winding up a seven-day National Congress held once in five years, the CPC adopted a resolution pledging to encourage the “non-public sector” by amending the party Constitution. This is the first time for the CPC to insert the clause in its Constitution, the state media reported. — PTI

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