04 October 2007

The New York Times says:

Mr. Zeng reached the formal retirement age of 68 this year, and party officials say he has stated repeatedly that he intends to step down.

Willy Lam says:

Considering that the age of 68 was set as the retirement age for Politburo members at both the 15th and the 16th Party Congresses

The Hoover Institute’s Lyman Miller says:

Most of these leaders will still be well short of 70, the age at which by apparent internal party norm leaders are expected to retire at the next party congress.

Covering the last Party Congress, the BBC says:

Politburo’s informal retirement age of 70

OK, I give up. Is it formal? Informal? 68? 70? Was it set during the 14th, 15th or 16th Party Congress? And if we can’t get this basic rule clear, what’s the point of placing bets on who’s in and out based on age?

On a more interesting note, someone has actually noted what might happen to Wang Lequan, who leads the Party, the Production and Construction Corps, and pretty much everything else in Xinjiang:

A political leader who has stayed in one position for ten years can no longer stay in the same position. Thus, three provincial Party Secretaries will have** to leave their current posts. Wang Lequan, Party Secretary of Xinjiang and a member of the Politburo, has been in his position for more than a decade. Wang is usually considered a member of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL) Group because he once worked as Deputy Secretary of the Shandong Provincial Communist Youth League Committee between March 1982 and September 1986. He became Acting Party Secretary of Xinjiang in September 1994 and Party Secretary of Xinjiang in December 1995. He reached his ten-year limit in December 2005.

… Nie Weiguo, an alternate member of the 16th Central Committee of the CCP and Deputy Secretary of Xinjiang, is a good candidate for the post of Xinjiang’s Party Secretary. A native of Chongqing, Nie turned 54 in 2006 He has spent most of his working life in Sichuan, starting as an educated youth (zhishi qingnian) in Nanchuan, Sichuan in January 1969. He worked in the Peilin Prefecture (later Peilin Municipality and then Peilin District) for 17 years (1983–2000) and served as Deputy Secretary of Chongqing for three years (2002–5). He was transferred to Xinjiang in March 2005 as Political Commissar of the Xinjiang Construction Corps, Board Chairman of China New Construction Corporation and Deputy Secretary of Xinjiang. Notably, his predecessor, Chen Demin, was only a standing member of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Party Committee, but Nie was made a Deputy Secretary of Xinjiang. It is also possible that the Party Centre will transfer another individual from elsewhere to replace Wang Lequan. But whoever is the new Party Secretary of Xinjiang is unlikely to obtain a seat in the 17th Politburo. Wang Lequan’s career path is probably unique to him.

So it seems Wang is heading out the door. But wait! Wang Lequan is a Youth League man, and so Hu’s homeboy. Plus, he’s a lively 63. Aggh! I know this is a pointless game, but it’s so addictive!

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