New leadership is coming to China… but what happens after?

Our helpful friends at the BBC are guiding us through China’s upcoming leadership change, one question at a time.

In a new piece, BBC journalists explain how the process works, just in time for the ruling Communist Party’s National Congress, which kicks off November 8. Some useful snippets:

“Most, if not all, of the outcomes will have been settled among top leaders before the congress gets under way.

It is not clear how long the meeting will go on for. But recent congresses have typically lasted seven days …

There has been a lot of speculation as to who the other Politburo Standing Committee members will be, and its final line-up will be closely watched for hints as to China’s future direction.

It has been widely reported that the Standing Committee will shrink from nine members to seven, in an effort to streamline decision-making …

Advocates of reform are calling on the new leadership to carry out urgent reforms to prevent economic and social problems from evolving into a crisis that could loosen the Communist Party’s grip on power.

In particular, they warn that, without incremental political reform, the unchecked powers of the state risk suffocating growth and exacerbating popular discontent.”

ABC Online begged the question: What will the transition bring?

Apparently, no one has any idea:

“For all the speculation about who might be elevated to the body which runs the country – the Politburo’s all-important Standing Committee – never once has there been talk of what policies the new leaders might support. The whole process has been policy-lite.

The party’s main aim is to ensure a smooth transition. Never before has it been attempted in this way. In the past, the patronage of Godfather figures with stacks of political capital – such as paramount leader Deng Xiaoping – was sufficient to anoint Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. His reputed support for them was a great card to play when questions were raised. If they were Deng’s men, they were worth looking at. The new leaders have no comparable figure to appeal to. Deng died in 1997.”

We’ll be waiting with baited breath to see how leader-to-be Xi Jinping handles things.

You have the outsiders’ perspectives on China, what about the Chinese perspective on the rest of the world? Check out Harvard Girl and Yang Ming to learn about the finest Chinese expats, in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique!

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