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China’s 2012 Party Leadership Transition

China’s 2012 Party Leadership Transition

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Philip Ballentine and Ken Sofer profile the 10 most likely candidates to fill China's ruling Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party heading into the party's leadership transition this fall.
Philip Ballentine and Ken Sofer profile the 10 most likely candidates to fill China's ruling Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party heading into the party's leadership transition this fall.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Aug 16, 2012
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1Ct  Aca Pg | Ca’ 2012 Pat Lap Tat
China’s 2012 Party Leadership Transition
Key Faces to Watch
Philip Ballentine and Ken Sofer August 16, 2012
Introduction
Predicing Chinas nex round o pary leadership appoinmens is no always an easy game o play, paricularly his year, as our colleague Melanie Har deails in her new paper, “China’s Real Leadership Quesion.” Her analysis demonsraes why know-ing who may or may no make i ino he remaining seas on China’s ruling SandingCommitee o he Chinese Communis Pary is no as imporan a his poin in imeas is predicing wheher he new Sanding Commitee as a whole will mee he seriouseconomic and poliical challenges acing heir naion in he coming decade.Te op wo posiions were setled monhs ago, and are highly unlikely o change.Curren Vice Presiden Xi Jinping is slaed o become pary general secreary while VicePremier Li Keqiang is slaed o become premier, he highes posiions in he pary andhe governmen, respecively.Te res o he Sanding Commitee is much less cerain. Te Chinese poliical sysemhrives on predicabiliy and we can make airly accurae guesses abou who will bepromoed ino hese poss based on he posiions, senioriy, and acional aliaionso he curren candidaes. Tis year, however, he ongoing scandal surrounding ormerCommunis Pary high-ier Bo Xilai—who ran one o China’s bigges municipaliies incenral China beore a rapid downall—is adding an addiional elemen o uncerainy.Bo’s now deniely ou o he running or a sea on he Sanding Commitee, bu his down-all makes predicing who will ll some o he seven o nine available seas dicul.o disrup expecaions a his poin in he game would sugges ha i is no business asusual wihin he pary, and ha is no a message Beijing wans o send. We can make aconden predicion abou our likely members o he Sanding Commitee Xi Jinping,Li Keqiang, Li Yuanchao, and Wang Qishan bu deermining who will ll he remaininghree o ve seas is more dicul. Te mos likely candidaes are divided beween he Hu Jinao acion o Communis Youh League members and he Jiang Zemin acion o so-called princelings, individuals wih amily imes o China’s revoluionary elie.
 
2Ct  Aca Pg | Ca’ 2012 Pat Lap Tat
Below is a lis o he 10 mos likely candidaes o ll he Sanding Commitee headingino he Chinese Communis Pary’s leadership ransiion his all.
Xi Jinping
Current position:
 Vice presiden, China People’s Governmen; vice chairman, Cenral Miliary Commission; member, PoliburoSanding Commitee
Age:
59
Factional ties:
Princeling (son o Xi Zhongxun, ormer vice premier);considered o be a Jiang Zemin proégéTe son o a high-ranking People’s Liberaion Army general, Xi Jinping worked on a arm in rural Shanxi province or six years, unil he age o 22, aer his aher was imprisoned during he Culural Revoluion. Ximanaged o leave he arm, join he pary and graduae rom he pres-igious singhua Universiy wih a degree in chemical engineering. Aer graduaion, Xi worked in adminisraive roles or he People’s Liberaion Army. Aer serving in increasingly senior pary and army roles in Hebei, Fujian, and Zhejiangprovinces, Xi was promoed o he Sanding Commitee, became pary secreary o Shanghai, and ook on a series o new iles ha suggesed he would succeed Hu Jinaoas China’s nex pary general secreary and People’s Governmen presiden.
1
  Xi’s amily ies place him closer o he Jiang Zemin acion, which implies ha hisapproach o economic developmen will be more marke-riendly and ocused onproecing wealh han some o his Hu Jinao-aliaed peers.
2
Bu Xi has been relaively opaque abou how he would ac economically or poliically, which has conribued ohis posiive sanding among boh acions and enabled his rise o he general secreary.Mos recenly, in 2008 Xi was appoined o vice presiden o he Chinese People’sgovernmen. Since hen he has raveled o Lain America, Europe, Asia, and Americaon diplomaic missions.
3
Xi is married o a amous Chinese olk singer, Pei Liyuan, andheir daugher is currenly sudying a Harvard Universiy. Xi Jinping will almos cerainly be appoined o pary general secreary his all, China’shighes leadership pos.
AP PhoTo/The QuAd CiTy Times, Kevin e. sChmidT
 
3Ct  Aca Pg | Ca’ 2012 Pat Lap Tat
Li Keqiang
Current position:
Execuive vice premier, China’s Sae Council (henaional cabine); member, Poliburo Sanding Commitee
Age:
57
Factional ties:
uanpai (Youh League) member; considered o be aHu Jinao proégé Aer working in rural Anhui or our years aer graduaing rom highschool, Li joined he pary and was acceped o Peking Universiy inhe “Class o 1977.”
4
Ta year China re-opened many o is universi-ies aer nearly a decade o closure during he Culural Revoluionand 5.7 million sudens compeed or only 273,000 universiy spos.In he early 1980s Li worked in he Communis Youh League’s 11-person governing body direcly under Hu Jinao and alongside uure Poliburo members Liu Yandongand Li Yuanchao. Hu Jinao nominaed Li or promoion in he league several imes andhe succeeded Hu as he head o he league in 1993.
5
 Following his ime wih he Communis Youh League, Li was sen o Henan provinceo gain more provincial experience. Given Li’s close ies o Presiden Hu and his work in Henan, as premier he may ocus on income equaliy issues such as he provision o  beter social services.
6
Li will no be able o deermine policy programs on his own,however, and will insead require consensus wih Xi Jinping and oher leaders.Li’s sin as pary secreary and provincial governmen leader in China’s coasal Henanprovince was hauned by a serious AIDS crisis caused by unscrupulous blood plasma buyers.
7
Li’s provincial governmen covered up he crisis and prevened journaliss rom visiing sick villagers. Hu Jinao unsuccessully lobbied or Li o succeed him as China’snex pary general secreary, bu managed o ge his proégé he premiership.Li Keqiang will almos cerainly be named he nex premier o China, he naion’ssecond-highes pos.
AP PhoTo/LAurenT FieveT

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