To glean a sense of the dimensions of the organisation department's job, conjure up a parallel body in Washington. The imaginary department would oversee the appointments of US state governors and their deputies; the mayors of big cities; heads of federal regulatory agencies; the chief executives of General Electric, ExxonMobil, Walmart and 50-odd of the remaining largest companies; justices on the Supreme Court; the editors of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, the bosses of the television networks and cable stations, the presidents of Yale and Harvard and other big universities and the heads of think-tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation. All equivalent positions in China are filled by people appointed by the party through the organisation department. With a few largely symbolic exceptions, the people who fill these jobs are also party members. Not only that, the vetting process takes place behind closed doors and appointments are announced without any explanation about why they have been made. When the department knocks back candidates for promotion, it does so in secret as well.