BEIJING, AUG. 23 -- The children of three of China's top leaders, including Deng Xiaoping's oldest son, have been rejected as delegates to the Communist Party congress, according to well-placed Chinese sources, an indication of growing resentment of privileges received by relatives of party cadres.
Such resentment does not spring from any one political faction and is directed at the children of both pragmatic and conservative leaders, the sources said.
The recent "vote against nepotism" by party members electing delegates to the congress was never mentioned in the official press, undoubtedly because it would have embarrassed several party leaders and their sons.
Deng Pufang, 43, son of the country's top leader and director-in-chief of the China Welfare Fund for the Handicapped, is widely credited with improving the lot of the handicapped in China. He uses a wheelchair because of injuries suffered during the Cultural Revolution, when Red Guards pushed him out of a window.
The other two rejected nominees with fathers in top leadership positions were Chen Yuan, member of the Beijing municipal Communist Party committee, and Bo Xicheng, who heads the Beijing branch of the China International Travel Service.
Chen Yuan is the son of Chen Yun, influential "conservative" economist and member of the powerful standing committee of the Politburo.
Bo Xicheng is the son of Bo Yibo, vice chairman of the party's Central Advisory Commission.
The voters also rejected Chen Haosu, a deputy mayor of Beijing who is the son of a former foreign minister.
Chen Haosu and Chen Yuan are described as having risen "like helicopters" in their careers.
Chinese officials argued that the two men are talented and deserve their positions.
But the resentment of such "offspring of high-ranking cadres," as they are called, is widespread among ordinary Chinese. It was an issue in student demonstrations earlier this year.
Chinese intellectuals attribute a lack of respect for authority in China partly to the fact that many children of high-level officials set bad examples, flouting laws and regulations.
The privileged children tend to have better jobs and more opportunities to travel than ordinary Chinese.
In early 1986, then Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang launched an anticorruption drive aimed at punishing "tigers," meaning sons and daughters of highly placed officials who abused their status. The drive achieved only limited results.
In April, Nie Rongzhen, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, stated that there was widespread "public indignation" against "a small number of children of senior cadres who have done evil and perpetrated outrages by relying on their powerful family connections."
In another unexpected result of the voting, the sources said, Hu Yaobang, who was forced out of office early this year, received a large number of votes during the recent election. Hu has been accused of weakness in the face of student prodemocracy demonstrations.
Hua Guofeng, another disgraced former leader, also received a high number of votes.
Hu and Hua have little in common when it comes to their political views, but they were forced from power, and many party members apparently believe they were treated unfairly.
Observers said they doubted that Hu Yaobang would regain any real power at the party congress, but there is speculation that he might be given an honorary position.
The votes for more than 1,000 delegates to the 13th Communist Party Congress, now scheduled for the first week in October, are symbolically important and confer status on those who are elected.
But real power over the proceedings of the congress is held by the party's top leaders.
Unlike most Communist Party elections, the votes for delegates allowed for some real choices, sources said.
There is no indication, however, that the election shifted the balance of power within the Communist Party leadership.