BEIJING, NOV. 4 -- China's new Communist Party leaders have set guidelines prohibiting retired elder statesmen from interfering in government affairs, according to a report released today.
Veteran revolutionaries, many of whom were retired from active party work following last week's party congress, are being told to "stand at a distance from the direct handling of affairs" of the party and state.
The report is seen by analysts as another move to curtail the influence of party traditionalists who have resisted reforms introduced by senior leader Deng Xiaoping and new party chief Zhao Ziyang.
According to the official New China News Agency, the report praises the work of the party's central advisory commission, which some Chinese describe as a party retirement club. But it goes on to say that the organization is of a "transitional nature."
The report said the commission's 200 members should "vigorously support" the younger leaders who have risen to positions of power and should "warmly support" economic reforms and the opening of trade and other links with the outside world.
Some of the commission's elderly members were said to have played an important role in the ouster early this year of then party chief Hu Yaobang. A number of them participated in the enlarged Politburo meeting that forced his resignation as general secretary of the 46 million-member party. Hu resigned Jan. 16 after being accused of showing weakness during last year's student demonstrations.
Hu was partially rehabilitated Monday when he was kept on as a member of the 18-man ruling Politburo. Hu lost his position, however, on the powerful five-member standing committee of the Politburo.
A veteran foreign analyst said today that Hu's success in retaining a Politburo seat and the party's decision to set new limits on the central advisory commission must provide Hu with a sense of vindication.
The news agency said the report on the central advisory commission was prepared by the commission itself, which, until a few days ago, was headed by Deng. Deng, 83, has sought to replace aging veterans with younger, better trained officials. To set an example, he resigned from all of his top party positons except that of chairman of the military affairs commission.
The new head of the central advisory commission is Chen Yun, 82, an ailing economist who has been regarded as Deng's most eminent rival. Deng favors rapid economic development, while Chen has emphasized balanced development and continued central control over the economy. But Chen's frail health makes it unlikely that he will actively challenge Deng.
The central advisory commission is likely to be run by a vice chairman, Bo Yibo, 79, who has worked closely with Chen in the past but also has strong links with Deng.
According to Chinese sources, it was Bo who prepared a confidential report summing up "six major mistakes" committed by Hu Yaobang.
Despite the limits set on the advisory commission, some analysts warned that Chen and Bo might still be able to assert considerable influence through their personal connections with high-ranking members of the party, government and Army. Such personal connections usually count for more in the Chinese system than rules or institutions.
The party constitution says members of the central advisory commission must have 40 years' experience as party members and enjoy high prestige.