Is this the committee for ‘comprehensively deepening reform’ that came out of the Third Party Plenum? Or at least its vanguard? A group of 28 senior officials, including ministers, vice-ministers, and provincial party bosses has met under the chairmanship of propaganda chief and Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan. State media say the committee is charged with promoting the reform plan put forward at the plenum, and will start a tour of the country to that end at the end of the week. It comprises a lot of heavyweights just for a PR push.
Liu is a protege of former President Hu Jintao and similarly comes out of the Party’s Youth League, the faction of its career officials. That should aid him in coordinating reforms, if that indeed is his role, across the many agencies of government at national, provincial and local level, all of which have great scope to be obstructionist where they feel their interests are at risk. Liu’s team appears to be reporting to President Xi Jinping. If this is indeed going to be steering committee for reform, putting of it under direct presidential report is another example of how Xi is centralizing power and thus tightening his political control.