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China considers internal democratic reform ahead of leadership change

A link from Reuters

China may be moving toward a more open process for choosing its next leaders. According to sources close to the leaders of China’s Communist Party, current President Hu Jintao and his successor Xi Jinping have proposed that elections be held for the powerful 25-person Politburo, the second most powerful body in China, at the 18th party congress that begins Thursday. The proposal allegedly calls for 20% more candidates to be added to the pool of candidates who are selected by China’s Central Committee, a group of 200 chosen by delegates at the congress. Party elders may veto the move but experts say the reform is needed after a series of political scandals have embarrassed the party, including ex-Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai’s involvement in the death of a British man with ties to British intelligence and a New York Times report suggesting that Premier Wen Jiabao’s relatives earned billions of dollars through his connections. China begins a once-in-a-decade transition of leaders this Thursday.

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