China’s leadership: the next generation

… All Hu can now do is bring a group of potential successors (probably three or four people) into the politburo standing committee and see who can establish the most authority for themselves over the coming five years. Then, before he steps down at the eighteenth party congress in 2012, he must put in place a strict system for choosing between these candidates. This system can only be in the form of an election – there is no other legitimate way of selecting the next leader. This will be the start of the democratisation of the Chinese Communist Party.

The party was founded in 1921, and intra-party democracy could be established by 2012. Ninety years is a long time for this development to emerge, but the rule in Chinese politics has always been the same: the older generation has to disappear before the new generation can truly emerge.


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