THERE is really only one intellectual pursuit as unhealthy as a burning drive to reach the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, and that is a morbid fascination with the apparatchiks—their faces pasty and most of their hair unnaturally black—that compose it. But bear with this column. For in the new seven-man line-up at the top of China’s leadership that was unveiled last week is a striking character: a 62-year-old, Wang Huning.
It is probable that Mr Wang will be put in charge of the party’s ideology and propaganda. He, along with Huang Kunming, the head of the propaganda department, whom Mr Wang will oversee, are loyal supporters of China’s paramount leader, Xi Jinping. Perhaps that is not a surprise, but it is worth stating, because through Mr Wang, Mr Xi now has even greater control of a vast and essential part of the Communist Party apparatus, something that is not foreordained for the ruler.
The fascinating part is that Mr Wang is…Continue reading