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China's Rising Leaders

China's Rising Leaders

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Published by Chi-Chu Tschang

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Published by: Chi-Chu Tschang on Nov 12, 2010
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communist party 
Congress might seemlike a throwback to anolder, less dynamicChina. What the pub-lic sees o these events,scheduled once every ve years, are video clips o 2,000-plus bureaucrats in the Great Hall o thePeople, a monumental, socialist-realistedice in the heart o Beijing. In a vastauditorium swathed in a sea o red bun-ting, they’ll listen to hours and hourso turgid speeches and then cast near-unanimous votes. Yet when ocials rom across thecountry converge on Oct. 15 or theParty’s 17th Congress, it won’t just be aceremonial exercise. True, the aces atthe very top won’t change—PresidentHu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao willalmost certainly rule or another ve years. But below them, a new genera-tion o leaders will likely be promotedinto key positions.Most important or oreign businessand China’s trading partners, this will be a new leadership that largely knowsand appreciates the rules o the roador a market-based economy. Many o these up-and-comers have ought in thetrenches o China’s reorm wars, have theskills needed to run complex economies,and have shed earlier generations’ mis-trust o oreigners. They certainly won’tturn China into a replica o the U.S. sys-tem. But the dialogue they start with the West may be the most substantive andar-reaching yet.
in their 50s
, this bunch came o ageduring the chaos and violence o the Cul-tural Revolution, and most began theircareers ater Deng Xiaoping introducedeconomic reorms in the late 1970s. “Theprognostication is that they will be moreprogressive, pragmatic, and orward-thinking,” says Scott Kronick, presidento Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide inChina. Hu and Wen spent their ormative years in remote Western China wherethey had little contact with outsiders. Yetmany in this generation speak Englishand have traveled widely. Some havestudied at Western universities, and mosthave advanced degrees in social sciences,economics, and law.
Beijing’s next cadre is market-smart, business-savvy—and ma be even open to change
By Dexter roBertsanD Chi-Chu tsChang
China’srising leaDers
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October 1, 2007| 
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 |October 1, 2007
Case in point: Zhou Xiaochuan, cur-rently head o the People’s Bank o China. The ormer economics proessorand 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 shity 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 dier-ences are striking. Until now, China’sleaders have “had a denite discomortin 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.
more comfort
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 ocial. 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 journalismrom 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 economicreorm via his “socialism with Chinesecharacteristics.” His limited tolerance orreorm was evident in the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
Led by Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji. Both were groomed in China’s reewheelingnancial 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 reorm, but they’ve cracked downon dissent while working to improve the loto China’s poorest. The economy has comeclose to overheating as local ocials 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 reorm butprove more adept at managing China’sincreasingly complex economy.
great hall
Morethan 2000 will be atthe Oct. 15 congress

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