In the wake of Beijing’s heaviest rain storm in at least six decades, members of the Chinese Communist Party’s top leadership refrained from making any statements about the disaster during their appearance at a meeting on Monday.
On July 23, all nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee gathered in Beijing for the opening ceremony of a meeting for provincial and ministerial level cadres. China’s leader Hu Jintao delivered a speech at the ceremony, but did not mention the Beijing storm.
This past Saturday, a massive rain storm hit the nation’s capital, flooding the city. Beijing authorities claimed that only 37 died in the storm, but survivors and eyewitnesses expressed doubt over the official figures, posting their first-hand accounts on Sina Weibo, China’s microblogging service.
In the following days, the Party leadership remained silent over the Beijing disaster. It is speculated that some high-level officials have already traveled to the Beidaihe District in Hebei Province, where the leadership retreats every summer and decides on major political issues behind closed doors. The next generation of the communist leadership is likely to take shape at Beidaihe before the official handover at the 18th National People’s Congress later this year.
According to Washington D.C.-based rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), the Beidaihe meetings began on July 20 and will go on until Aug. 20. Armed police are already lining the streets leading to tourist attraction sites, with any visitors questioned and passing cars inspected.
Read original Chinese article.
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