The Straits Times
Published on Nov 12, 2012

At China party congress, allegiance trumps reform


BEIJING (REUTERS) - As the senior Communist Party official in one of China's most prosperous regions, Mr Wang Yang is often cast as an agent of change, a potential force for economic and even political reform should he gain promotion to the party's highest rung later this week.

But the chief of the southern province of Guangdong appears to be distancing himself from that role while attending the party congress that will usher in China's once-in-a-decade top leadership transition.

When Wang spoke to reporters on Friday, he stuck to a well rehearsed script that could have come from any apparatchik. "Because China has taken the strategic choice of reform and opening up, every member of the Chinese Communist Party, including myself, is a reformist - or else there would be no today," he told reporters.

"We will follow the themes of the 18th party congress to push for reform," he said. "As for the next steps for reform, General Secretary Hu Jintao has already clearly stated those, so I won't recite the report for you."