Benjamin Kang Lim and Nick Edwards of Reuters have a nice scoop on China this afternoon, with sources telling them that the upcoming five-yearly National Congress may be delayed by a few months.The Communist Party is apparently split over the size and makeup of the nine-member politburo standing committee — essentially the nine most important people in Chinese politics.
Current President Hu Jintao reportedly wants to cut the size of the committee to 9, while others want to increase it to 11. The size and make up of the politburo will be key to maintaining a consensus for Xi Jinping, the incoming leader.
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about this delay without thinking of the recent scandals in the country. Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party boss who was ousted and of his wife suspected of involvement in a murder, was widely regarded as being next in line for one of those 9 seats. His mentor, Zhou Yongkang, is a current member of the committee, though is not expected to return to his seat.
The 18th congress would be moved from September or October to between November or January, Reuters reports.
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