Liu Yunshan. (Photo/Wang Yuan-mao)
Liu Yunshan, head of the CCP's propaganda department, is one of the candidates expected to enter the Politburo Standing Committee following the 18th National Congress, the overseas Chinese-language citizen journalism site Boxun has quoted foreign media as saying.
Liu is considered an ally of President Hu Jintao and one of the key individuals in the personnel deployment for Hu's succession. Liu will be the most suitable person to assist Xi Jinping as general secretary and operate the party's massive PR machine, reports Mingjing News, a website allegedly sourced by political insiders.
Liu was born in 1947 in Xinzhou in northern China's Shanxi province. Compared with other members of the "fifth-generation" leadership, his resume is rather simple and he is not the son of prominent former officials. He graduated from Jining Normal School in Inner Mongolia and after graduation was dispatched to remote areas of the autonomous region, working as a teacher, a clerk in the local CCP publicity department and a local reporter for the state news agency Xinhua.
From July 1982 to February 1984, Liu served as the deputy secretary of the Communist Youth League in Inner Mongolia and its leading party members' group when Hu served as secretary of the youth league's central committee and was chairman of the All China Youth Federation. Liu is therefore considered one of the "four kings" of the tuanpai or youth league faction within the party, with a superior standing even to Li Keqiang, the man assigned to succeed Wen Jiabao as premier.
Liu is felt by observers to be the epitome of the party propaganda bureaucrat. Not only does Liu uphold the official party line, but often he was involved in drafting it.
After the Wenzhou high-speed train disaster which killed 40 and injured 172 in July last year, Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang was criticized for prematurely calling a stop to search and rescue efforts and ordered the wrecked carriages to be buried on site, which triggered a national outcry. It was Liu who demanded the country's media stop reporting about the disaster, drawing fire in turn.
A little over a year later, both men could be set for a seat on China's top decision-making body, as Zhang has won plaudits for cleaning up the fallout of the Bo Xilai scandal this year after being parachuted into Chongqing to purge the influence of the disgraced politician.
Liu Yunshan 劉雲山
Hu Jintao 胡錦濤
Xi Jinping 習近平
Li Keqiang 李克強
Zhang Dejiang 張德江