Is reform on the way for the Chinese regime? In two recent documents from the Politburo leadership circle, the words "Mao Zedong Thought" have been noticeably absent. For decades, the Chinese Communist Party has looked to Mao for ideological guidance. Mao's legacies include the disastrous Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution campaigns.
But with the recent scandals embroiling top leaders, and a power transition ahead, there's been mounting speculation that Chinese leaders are now warming up to greater political reform.
On Monday, after a meeting of the 25-member Politburo, a statement on the upcoming Party Congress omitted "Mao Zedong Thought" as something that the Party should follow. The statement also indicates there would be amendments to the Party Constitution.
Columnist Lin Zixu says this is likely the result of the current factional infighting, aimed at weeding out leftist supporters, including disgraced official Bo Xilai.
[Lin Zixu, Columnist]
"The amendment to the constitution is likely to greatly reduce the weight of Marxist-Leninist thoughts and Maoism, and increase the influence of the thoughts of Hu Jintao. It has to do with the turbulent political situation, and is aimed at eliminating Maoist-leftist thoughts, and put the final nail in Bo Xilai's coffin, so that Xi Jinping's succession can be smooth."
Political commentator Bian Xianghe is doubtful whether the removal of Maoist theories would lead to true reform.
[Bian Xianghe, Political Commentator]
"Removing Mao Zedong Thought does not mean the Party is turning over a new leaf. Rather, it wants the public not to see it as a leftist Party, and open itself to struggles within elites."
The Communist Party is approaching a once-in-a-decade leadership transition in November. While current leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are bowing out, it is customary for former Party leaders to retain power behind the scenes, and still exert considerable influence over the course of the Party.
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