Voice of America (VOA) reported that, on October 31, 2016, Deng Maosheng, the Deputy Director of the Research Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee, held a press conference to explain the CCP’s 6th Plenum of its 18th Congress. The issue that attracted the attention of Hong Kong reporters the most was his statement about the age rule regarding who can serve as a Politburo Standing Committee member.
A Hong Kong reporter asked, “As some of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee members will be over 68 years-old next year, will they follow the “67 in, 68 retire” rule. [Editor’s note: This is a current unwritten rule that an official who is age 67 or under can serve a new term as a Politburo Standing Committee member while people who are age 68 or above must retire.]
Deng answered, “The 6th Plenum didn’t discuss official’s positions; the Party has its own strict organizational rules and principles. There are rules on whether a key official should retire or not, but it can also be flexible depending on the situation. There is no strict “67 in, 68 retire” rule. People say it as a rule, but actually it cannot be taken as a rule.
VOA quoted some commentators, “This clear statement by a CCP’s official was to prepare for Wang Qishan to serve another term at the 19th Party’s Congress.” The 19th Party’s Congress starts in late 2017 and by then, Wang will be 69 years old.
VOA also quoted the Hong Kong Economic Journal as stating that the CCP’s rejection of the “67 in, 68 retire” rule showed that it has not firmly decided which Politburo Standing Committee members will retire in 2017; besides [a message indicating that] Wang Qishan can continue for another term, this [rejection statement] can also be interpreted as Beijing’s testing the water for Xi Jinping to serve a third term at the 20th Party Congress. [Editor’s Note: another normal practice for the CCP has been that the General Secretary serves only two terms.]
Source: VOA, November 1, 2011