中共十八大会期保密失败 马拉松比赛露端倪

Beijing’s marathon guessing game nears end

By Simon Rabinovitch and Kathrin Hille in Beijing

Beijing marathon organisers, hotel receptionists and even florists all know something that the Chinese communist party has so far refused to make public: its most important political meeting in a decade will be held in the middle of October.

The party has yet to announce the date of the big occasion, when a new generation of leaders will be unveiled. But for all their efforts to maintain a cloak of secrecy over the event, officials are struggling to keep the timing under wraps.

The Beijing marathon organising committee had applied to hold the annual race on October 14 but this date was rejected, according to a representative. “We are now hoping to get approval for sometime after October 20, when the Party congress is over,” he said.

In another hint that party officials from all over China will gather next month, five-star hotels near the congress venue in central Beijing reported that they were mostly booked up for the middle of October. A receptionist at Capital Hotel, long favoured by provincial officials, said it had only a few rooms available from October 10-25.

Confirming Beijing’s worst-kept secret, government advisers say they have been told to expect the party’s 18th National Congress in mid-October.

In contrast to other countries such as the US, where political conventions are transparent affairs announced months if not years in advance, China’s ruling party and government rarely say in advance when they will hold meetings. The schedule of the annual parliament is published just days before it convenes for a brief session – usually held in March – and even Chinese leaders’ attendance at international summits is often confirmed at the last minute.

As a result there is much intrigue surrounding the leadership that will emerge at the party congress, although the two most important personnel changes are clear. Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang are expected to succeed, respectively, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao as president and premier .

Municipal planners in Beijing are also taking steps to ensure that riffraff are kept at bay during the week-long congress.

Over the past two weeks, law enforcement squads have told restaurants they must suspend open-air service and closed down some wet markets. A market in Shilipu, in Eastern Beijing, was shut to stop farmers from coming into urban areas on their donkey carts, residents said.

Last month Beijing police began rounding up petitioners, who take their grievances to higher levels of government, and evicted them from the capital. Hotels around Beijing South railway station were warned they would be fined if they admit petitioners over the coming two months.

The party congress will be a boon to some businesses, however. One city district announced it would spend Rmb50m on flowers for the National Day holiday on October 1 and the party congress.

中共十八大会期保密失败 马拉松比赛露端倪

英国《金融时报》文章报导,至今中共尚未宣布十八大会议的具体日期。官员们为了会议的保密工作做了大量努力,但要对会议日期保密还是很有难度。

  文章说,北京马拉松赛事组织者、酒店接待员、甚至花商,都已经知道了中国共产党至今不愿告诉外界的一件事:中共近十年来最重要的一次政治会议将于10月中旬举行。

  北京马拉松组委会的一位代表透露,组委会此前曾申请于10月14日举办年度赛事,但没有获得批准。他说:“现在我们希望获准于10月20日之后的某天举行赛事,那时‘十八大’应该已经闭幕。”

  还有一条线索暗示全国各地的中共官员将于下月齐聚北京:北京市中心靠近会场的五星级酒店均表示,10月中旬前后几乎已经订满了。一位来自首都大酒店(Capital Hotel)——很多省级官员在北京的首选酒店——的接待员表示,该酒店在10月10日至25日期间只有少量房间剩余。

  一些政府顾问们表示,他们被告知中共第十八次全国代表大会将于10月中旬召开,从另一个侧面印证了中国政府这一最难以保守的秘密。

  与美国等国家不同——这些国家的政治会议十分透明,开会日期在数月甚至数年以前就已公布——中国共产党以及中国政府很少提前宣布他们将于何时举行会议。通常在每年3月举行的全国人大年度会议,通常要到召开前几天才会公布日程安排。就连中国领导人是否出席国际峰会这样的事情,也通常要等到最后一分钟才会确认。

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