a n d r e w w o n g / g e t t y i m a g e s
|October 1, 2007
Case in point: Zhou Xiaochuan, cur-rently head o the People’s Bank o China. The ormer economics proessorand fuent English-speaker is a strongcontender or vice-premier in charge o nance. One o China’s most sophisti-cated economic minds, he can hold hisown with the likes o Alan Greenspan,Ben S. Bernanke, and other central bankers. He has already grappled withintransigent rivals opposed to his driveto clean up China’s notoriously shity equity markets: His drive to crack downon stock manipulators earned him thenickname “The Flayer.” He shares ma- jor responsibility or China’s opening o its nancial sector to big Western banksand brokerages.Contrast Zhou’s record with the cur-rent leadership team, and the dier-ences are striking. Until now, China’sleaders have “had a denite discomortin dealing with the outside,” says KentD. Kedl, a China hand or the pasttwo decades and now general managero Technomic Asia, a Shanghai-basedmarket strategy consulting rm. Mostare career bureaucrats in their 60s whostudied hard sciences or engineering.Few have graduate degrees and somehave no higher education at all. MaoZedong’s comrades-in-arms are longgone, but today’s top leaders are romthe rst post-revolutionary generationand began their careers during the Cul-tural Revolution.
with the outside doesn’tnecessarily mean a greater willingnessto do what outsiders want. CommerceMinister Bo Xilai, or instance, may become vice-premier and take over asChina’s top trade ocial. Bo would beat home in Washington or New York:“He’s stylistically very un-Chinese, aMayor Ed Koch type,” says SinologistKenneth G. Lieberthal o the Univer-sity o Michigan. Highly educated—heholds a master’s degree in journalismrom the Chinese Academy o SocialSciences—he has been a requent critico Washington on trade. “Bo Xilai won’t be so accommodating,” says ChengLi, a senior ellow at the BrookingsInstitution, a Washington think tank. What’s more, those who have seen Boat work in negotiating rooms say hisrhetoric is matched by the brilliance o his arguments.Overall, however, this generation willdeepen China’s engagement with the West. Li Yuancho, 56, is a contender
Passing The Torch
Five generations of leadership
Mao consolidated power with the supporto revolutionaries rom the civil war and theLong March. This group was largely ocused on building the Party and therevolution to the detriment o economicgrowth and pragmatism.
Deng Xiaoping shared Mao’s revolutionary background and endured several purges, but ultimately opened China to economicreorm via his “socialism with Chinesecharacteristics.” His limited tolerance orreorm was evident in the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
Led by Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji. Both were groomed in China’s reewheelingnancial capital, Shanghai, and had regularcontact with oreign businesspeople. Jiangsecured the place o private enterprise by writing its role into the Constitution, andthe economy started to take o.
Some thought current President Hu Jintaoand Premier Wen Jiabao might introducepolitical reorm, but they’ve cracked downon dissent while working to improve the loto China’s poorest. The economy has comeclose to overheating as local ocials pursueGDP growth at all costs.
Unlike engineers Hu and Wen and theirtechnocrats, the new leaders are trained inlaw, economics, and social sciences. Thehope is they’ll embrace political reorm butprove more adept at managing China’sincreasingly complex economy.
Morethan 2000 will be atthe Oct. 15 congress