China dodges politically sensitive questions at key congress
BEIJING (REUTERS) - In 2007, a year before Beijing hosted the Olympics, China's Communist rulers made a special effort at a five-yearly congress to show the world transparency and grant rare open access to foreign media.
This year's conclave is however overshadowed by China's biggest political scandal in three decades enveloping former high-flyer Bo Xilai and a tricky leadership transition, and that effort has gone into reverse, at least as far as political policy is concerned.
Zhang Gaoli, the party boss of the northern city of Tianjin and somebody tipped to be raised to the elite decision-making Standing Committee, sat through a so-called "open session" of his delegation last week, hardly uttering a word.
When he did eventually speak, answering a question about his promotion prospects, Mr Zhang refused to be drawn.