Sunday, July 01, 2007

Is China Changing?

That's certainly what this appointment is intended to communicate -- particularly in advance of the upcoming Beijing Olympics:

China’s government has appointed a second non-Communist cabinet minister as the party seeks to burnish its reformist credentials before this year’s five-yearly congress and next year’s Beijing Olympic Games.

French-trained scientist Chen Zhu, 54, was named health minister, handing him a difficult and sensitive portfolio at a time when the sector is debating extensive reform.

But the manner of Mr Chen’s appointment underlined the limits of his real powers, even as a minister – in theory, the top job in the health bureaucracy.

In a puzzling move, Gao Qiang, the present minister, was retained both as a vice-minister and as the secretary of the ministry’s Communist party committee, meaning he will continue to outrank the minister...

Mr Chen’s appointment follows that of Wan Gang, a German-trained engineer who worked at Audi for many years who was made science minister this year.

No comments: