The most exclusive men’s club in China may welcome a female member at the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) upcoming 18th Party Congress.
Liu Yandong, a high-ranking female member of the Politburo described as the “most powerful woman in China,” may be appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee—the group of nine who rule the CCP. Up until now, the Standing Committee has only had male members.
A native of Jiangsu Province, Liu currently serves as State Councilor and oversees the ministries of health, culture, and education. Speculators believe she is being pegged for Jia Qinglin’s position on the Standing Committee. Jia is the current chairperson of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee.
Liu was one of the high-ranking officials who recently accompanied Chinese leader Hu Jintao during his visit to Hong Kong, which seemed to confirm the speculation that she is destined to move up. She is also expected to stay in the Politburo because the CCP is trying to show its tolerance toward women, according to analysts.
The Chinese regime has remained mostly silent about its selections for the 18th National Congress, which takes place in October. The nine Standing Committee members are considered to be the most powerful people in China, but the obscurity of the group’s inner workings leaves only speculation as to who will rise up in the ranks and who will be ousted.
Sixty-six-year-old Liu is among China’s “princelings,” which means she is the daughter of an influential senior communist official. Her father, Liu Ruilong, one of the founders of the 14th Army of the Chinese Communist Red Army, joined the party in 1926. He was struck down during the Cultural Revolution, which lasted from 1966 to 1976.
At the time, Liu condemned her father and attempted to distance herself from him, as was common during former leader Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Varying estimates put the Cultural Revolution’s death toll between 2 million and more than 30 million, with the inhuman treatment of tens of millions more.
Liu, who ascended the ranks of the Communist Youth League and the United Front, is long believed to be a stalwart ally of Hu Jintao. In 2007, she was appointed to Premier Wen Jiabao’s cabinet at the 17th National Congress.
In April, the London Telegraph newspaper speculated that the ousting of Bo Xilai (the former mayor of the Chongqing megalopolis who was tipped to be a Standing Committee member) cinched Liu’s move up the CCP’s totem pole.
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