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Two Chinese Politburo Members Call for Loyalty to Party

Member of the Elite Politburo Standing Committee Zhou Yongka
Member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee Zhou Yongkang. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Two members of China’s elite Politburo Standing Committee said in separate remarks that Communist Party officials must uphold loyalty to the party and stay in line with the central committee.

Zhou Yongkang, 69, said the party’s Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, which he heads, will train party secretaries so they “implement the Party’s lines and policies more conscientiously,” according to a March 26 speech printed today in the official People’s Daily. He Guoqiang told officials in Shandong province that members at all levels of the party must ensure discipline.

The appearance of the remarks comes after the Financial Times and the Associated Press reported that Zhou is under investigation after he opposed the decision to strip ousted Chongqing party leader Bo Xilai of his Politburo post this month. Zhou’s speech may indicate that he has fallen back in line behind President Hu Jintao, the party’s general secretary, said Huang Jing, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

“I would assume that he caved in and is trying to soft-land,” Huang said.

Bo, 62, was suspended from the Politburo and has been accused of “serious violations of discipline,” the Xinhua News Agency said April 10. His wife, Gu Kailai, and an aide were put in custody for suspicion of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood.

Zhou’s Retirement

That was after his former police chief, Wang Lijun, had spent a night in February at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, an event confirmed by both the U.S. and Chinese governments. Xinhua reported that Wang disclosed the murder allegations.

The AP and Financial Times reports cited the dissident website, which reported last week that Zhou would likely keep his seat on the standing committee until a Communist Party congress later this year, when he is scheduled to retire as part of the country’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition. The nine-man standing committee exercises supreme power in China.

Zhou, the former minister in charge of China’s police force, praised Bo’s policies in Chongqing at a March meeting in Beijing with Bo and the municipality’s delegation to the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature. A week later, Bo was removed from his post as Chongqing party secretary.

Zhou’s March 26 speech mentioned President Hu Jintao four times and called on the legislative affairs system to create a “harmonious and stable social environment” for this year’s party congress.

He Guoqiang said officials should be strict with themselves as well as their relatives, children and aides. His remarks came during a trip to Shandong province from April 20 to today and were published on the central government’s website.

He stressed that party organizations should “reinforce ideological and political work.”

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