As I predicted earlier this year, it appears that Chinese Communist President Hu Jintao has maneovred key members of the Shanghai Clique (supporters of former President Jiang Zemin) out of the Politburo.
Vice President Zeng Qinghong is gone and along with him other Shanghai Clique members Luo Gan and Wu Guanzheng.
Hu is close to scoring a major home win in his battle against the remaining Jiang/Shanghai faction members and the influence of both the former President and his protoges from Shanghai is seriously on the wane.
Hu now needs to be careful not to overplay his hand otherwise he may find that he will effectively split the CPC into two parts which ironically could have the effect of hastening the arrival of democracy.
I've been slightly surprised at the reaction of the press to this. If I could see this coming why on earth couldn't they? It has been patently obvious that Hu had become exasperated at the blocking tactics of Jiang in letting him take up the reins of power and had decided that the only way in which he could effect an enduring legacy for himself would be to take on and remove the Shanghai clique.
Hu isn't interested in balancing the competing interests of different factions inside the CPC because he is a conviction politician with more powerful older backers. Jiang was only seen as a "safe pair of hands" and was not the first choice candidate of Deng Xiaoping after the Tiananmen crisis to replace Zhao Ziyang. Jiang's legacy is therefore compromised and Hu knows it.