China adds youth, education to Politburo
Six hand-picked stalwarts entered the Chinese Communist Party's highest ruling circle yesterday, ending months of speculation over who would be favored with a seat on the party's Politburo. Most of the new members are closely associated with the policies of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. The six will serve as replacements for 10 veteran leaders who resigned from the Politburo last week. The new members are some 10 years younger than their predecessors and all but one has a university education.
The infusion of new blood into the Politburo is the final stage of a series of carefully planned moves to give China new leadership. It is an attempt to re-energize the party and government bureaucracies to carry out Mr. Deng's reform programs and to prepare a new generation of leaders to succeed those who fought with Mao Tse-tung to win the communist revolution in 1949.
A communiqu'e issued yesterday by the party's Central Committee, which itself took in a large number of younger members this week, carried the new names. These included three of China's four vice-premiers: Li Peng, Tian Jiyun, and Yao Yilin. Mr. Li is considered to be a possible sucessor to Premier Zhao Ziyang, and both he and Mr. Tian worked closely with Mr. Zhao in Sichuan Province in the late 1970s before Zhao took his current post in Peking. Li was educated in the Soviet Union and speaks fluent Russ ian.
In his late 60s, Yao Yilin is the oldest of the new members and the most independent. He holds critical views on the role of foreign investment and the special economic zones in China's development program. He went to Moscow earier this year to sign a five-year agreement on economic cooperation with the Soviet Union.
Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian was also selected. A native of Shanghai, he is a party careerist with long stints in the Communist Youth League. New Politburo member Qiao Shi is another party careerist who has most recently had responsibilities for the powerful Organization Department of the Central Committee.
In his mid-50s, Hu Qili is the youngest of the new members and is widely considered to be the eventual successor of party General Secretary Hu Yaobang. Hu Qili has served as head of the youth league and most recently was in charge of the day-to-day work of the party Secretariat under Hu Yaobang.
In remarks last year to US scholar A. Doak Barnett, Premier Zhao said that the Politburo was not very powerful and seldom met. Chinese observers say that the party Secretariat, meeting weekly to execute the policies of the Politburo, has more power. Some observers say, however, that this situation could change with the more vigorous membership announced yesterday. The changes in the Politburo leaves the new 20-man team with only three military figures, excluding Deng, compared with nine military m en in the outgoing group.