BEIJING -- Senior Chinese leaders advocating rapid economic change have reached a compromise with their go-slow rivals on changes in the top leadership that are to be endorsed at a Communist Party congress next month, according to diplomats and analysts here and in Hong Kong.
These sources say party elders who are apprehensive about the scope, pace and side effects of economic reforms introduced by senior leader Deng Xiaoping have given their qualified support to continued economic reforms and to the promotion of a number of younger leaders. But in return, the elders, who are sometimes described as conservatives, or traditionalists, will retain a number of key positions and continue to exert influence, the diplomats and analysts said.
The compromise, these sources said, will fall short of a breakthrough hoped for by Deng's reformists. But it is likely to guarantee China's opening to the outside world -- and to foreign investment -- for years to come, they said, because the factions largely agree on these matters.
For the Chinese people, however, it is likely to mean more power struggles and ideological conflicts. Within this framework, Deng, 83, will remain the final arbiter in many decisions, the analysts said. But they added that Deng will also be constrained by rivals and by his conservative instincts on certain political issues.
Chen Yun, 82, one of the major figures in the Chinese communist movement and Deng's most eminent aging rival, is expected to replace Deng as chairman of the party's central advisory commission following the congress, to be convened Oct. 25, the sources said. The ailing Chen's continuing influence at a high level is the strongest sign yet that a compromise has been struck between economic reformists led by Deng and the conservatives, whose most prestigious representative is Chen.
The advisory commission ostensibly serves only to advise the party. But a number of its members played an important role in forcing the ouster of then-party general secretary Hu Yaobang on Jan. 17. Hu was accused of weakness in dealing with student demonstrators who called for democratic reforms.
At the October party congress, Deng's allies, such as acting party general secretary Zhao Ziyang, are expected to announce an acceleration of economic change. At the same gathering, Zhao is expected to be made permanent party secretary. But the sources said the compromise will mean that Deng and his allies will have to move cautiously in introducing reforms.
The aim is to transform a Soviet-style, centrally planned economy into one that brings more free-market forces into play. Chen Yun is said to have agreed to resign, along with Deng, from the five-member standing committee of the party Politburo. But Deng is to retain the chairmanship of the party's military commission, which controls the Army.
In a public appearance two months ago, Chen appeared feeble. But Chinese sources say his mind is sharp and he is consulted by orthodox Marxist ideologues who fear the "capitalistic influences" that have accompanied economic reform.
Foreign analysts in Hong Kong tend to differ with those in Beijing in their view of Chen. The Hong Kong analysts see a struggle for power in Beijing in which Chen challenges Deng. Beijing analysts argue that Chen avoids open challenges to Deng and sometimes sides with him. Although the two leaders do not have a close personal relationship, they have cooperated well in the past, analysts here say.
Chen advocated the beginnings of some of the current reforms, but Deng has carried them further. He has favored rapid development while Chen has emphasized balanced development. One analyst, David M. Bachman of Princeton University, describes Chen as someone who "favors centralized control over economic processes somewhat more strongly than Deng and Zhao do."
Although he works mostly behind the scenes, Chen Yun, in a widely publicized speech two years ago, criticized party cadres who "put money above all else" and voiced concern over farmers who prefer to grow lucrative cash crops instead of grain.
Chen is said to favor the appointment of Vice Premier Li Peng to the key post of premier, and diplomats say that all signals now point to Li's appointment to that post in either a permanent or acting capacity early next year, if not sooner.