Bureau Chief, Vietnam
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Nov 15, 2012

China’s new party chief Xi gets strong mandate for action

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s president-in-waiting Xi Jinping won a strong mandate on Thursday to lead the world’s second-biggest economy and deal with problems ranging from corruption to economic uncertainty.

Xi was appointed head of both the ruling Communist Party and its top military body as the ruling Communist Party unveiled a new leadership line-up consisting of conservatives and respected financial reformers.

Nov 14, 2012

Respected China vice-premier tipped to head anti-graft effort

BEIJING (Reuters) – One of China’s most senior financial officials is likely to lead the fight against corruption, a top priority in the world’s second-biggest economy, following his appointment to a key council at the end of the Communist Party’s 18th congress on Wednesday.

Known as “the chief firefighter”, Wang Qishan, 64, is currently the vice-premier in charge of economic affairs, under Premier Wen Jiabao.

Nov 14, 2012

Respected China banker tipped to head anti-graft effort

BEIJING, Nov 14 (Reuters) – A respected trade negotiator and
former banker is likely to head China’s fight against
corruption, a top priority for the world’s second-biggest
economy, following his appointment to a key council at the end
of the 18th congress of the Communist Party.

Known as “the chief firefighter”, Wang Qishan, 64, sorted
out a debt crisis in southern Guangdong province where he was
vice governor in the late 1990s. Later, he replaced the sacked
Beijing mayor after a cover-up of the deadly SARS virus in 2003.

Nov 14, 2012

China party enshrines tighter oversight after Bo Xilai scandal

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party amended its guiding charter on Wednesday to tighten oversight of officials, a move reflecting the depth of concern about abuse of power in the wake of a scandal involving former political heavyweight Bo Xilai.

The closing session of the five-yearly party congress also changed the party constitution to explicitly endorse reform and opening as “the path to a stronger China” and made a nod towards growing environmental problems by promoting “ecological progress” as part of the party’s development strategy.

Nov 12, 2012

Buried in a bleak text, hope for a Chinese political experiment

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Jintao’s opening speech at the ongoing 18th Party Congress was a disappointment to many listeners, offering no major signals that the leadership is willing to advance political reform.

The 64-page keynote speech he delivered was couched in the usual conservative and Marxist terminology, but one paragraph buried deep in the text was just what proponents of a long-running experiment in public policy consultations have been waiting for.

Nov 11, 2012

At China party congress, allegiance trumps reform

BEIJING (Reuters) – As the senior Communist Party official in one of China’s most prosperous regions, 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.

Nov 9, 2012

Rising China leaders say open to wealth declarations

BEIJING (Reuters) – Two rising Chinese political stars who may join the top leadership next week said on Friday they believe officials will eventually have to declare their assets publicly, as the Communist Party battles persistent corruption.

The comments by Wang Yang, party boss of Guangdong province, and Yu Zhengsheng, Shanghai’s Communist chief, come at a time of heightened sensitivity about the wealth of China’s top leaders on the eve of a once-a-decade leadership transition.

Nov 6, 2012

As China enters new era, how much of Mao will stay?

BEIJING (Reuters) – In 1981, five years after his death, China’s ruling Communist Party began to save history from Mao Zedong.

Today, speculation about whether it is poised to finish the job has cast a spotlight on one of the most emotive debates simmering inside the party – how much of Mao can it erase without undermining its authority.

Nov 1, 2012

China struggles for solution to growing NIMBY movement

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – It looked like another victory for the people when the Chinese city of Ningbo announced the suspension on Sunday of a petrochemical project after days of street protests by citizens concerned it would pollute their community.

It may turn out to be more complicated.

As China’s increasingly affluent urban population battles back against the breakneck growth-at-all-costs model that has fuelled the economy for three decades, environmental activists say the apparently straightforward narrative that has played out several times in recent years – government backs down, citizens win – is simplistic.

Oct 28, 2012

Insight: China grassroots democracy challenge awaits new leaders

XIANGSHAN/WUKAN, China (Reuters) – Hua Youjuan is an unlikely Chinese official.

Free-spirited but driven, she left her village at age 17, got a degree in marketing, and opened a string of businesses in nearby cities in eastern China before settling in the coastal boomtown of Ningbo, 160 km (100 miles) from home.