China may see its first female member reach the highest level of government

Liu Yandong is speculated by some to have a chance of being the first woman to sit on the governing Standing Committee of the Politburo in China. She is currently the only female in the 24-member Politburo.

From CNN:

Woman could break Chinese political glass ceiling

Hong Kong (CNN) — A record number of American women will hold U.S. Senate seats after Tuesday’s election. In China, there is speculation over whether a woman will also make history by ascending to its top political core.

No woman has ever held a post in the elite nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo that governs China. Thousands of senior Chinese officials gathered in Beijing this week and at the end of the conference next week, a new set of leaders will be unveiled.

Some observers consider Liu Yandong a possible contender for the exclusive ruling committee. Liu is the lone female member of the Politburo, a 24-member body atop the Chinese Communist Party. If promoted to the standing committee, Liu would make a crack in the political glass ceiling.

Even with the historic prospect of a woman joining the most powerful Chinese political entity, some are skeptical of the overall progress for Chinese women in power.

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Wife of Chinese Politician Bo Xilai Charged with Murdering British Businessman

Gu Kailai is pictured on the left, and with her husband, Bo Xilai, on the right.

News outlets are reporting that Gu Kailai, wife of popular and ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai, has been charged with murder in the death of British businessman, Neil Heywood. Chinese officials argue that Gu and a family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, poisoned Heywood; the murder was allegedly prompted by “economic interests” disputed between Gu and Heywood.

It remains unclear (at least in my mind) whether these charges are authentic, or politically motivated. Or both. CNN has the full scoop.