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Why would Xi Jinping allow himself to be seen flanked by Chen Min'er and Hu Chunhua? Perhaps to prepare for a political battle that is still more than three years away.
China up close

Xi poses a riddle and reignites speculation about his successors

Talk of a 'President Chen Min'er' and 'Premier Hu Chunhua' swirl in capital

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer | China

TOKYO -- Beijing's political nerve center has been abuzz since last week with rumors of a bombshell whose implications could reach deep into the 2030s.

For the first time in months, perhaps years, the fate of China's future leaders has become the hot political topic. "The idea of appointing Chen Min'er as China's president and Hu Chunhua as the country's premier was supposed to have fizzled out," said a source who keeps up with the hubbub in the Zhongnanhai area, which houses the offices of China's leaders. "But it remains intact."

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