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USCC - The Chinese Communist Party and Its Emerging Next-Generation Leaders

USCC - The Chinese Communist Party and Its Emerging Next-Generation Leaders

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U.S.-China Economic and SecurityReview Commission Staff Research Report
March 23, 2012
The China Rising Leaders Project, Part 1:
The Chinese Communist Party and Its Emerging Next-Generation Leaders
by
John DotsonUSCC Research Coordinator
With Supporting Research and Contributions By:Shelly Zhao, USCC Research FellowAndrew Taffer, USCC Research Fellow
 
2
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review CommissionChina Rising Leaders Project Research Report Series:
 
Part 1: The Chinese Communist Party and Its Emerging Next-Generation Leaders
(March 2012)
 
 
Part 2:
China’s Emerging Leaders in the People’s Liberation Army 
(forthcoming June 2012)
 
 
Part 3:
China’s Emerg
ing Leaders in State-Controlled Industry 
(forthcoming August 2012)
 
Cover Photo:
CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member Xi Jinping acknowledges applause
in Beijing’s
Great Hall of the People following his election as Vice-President of 
the People’s Republic of China
during the 5th plenary session of the National People's Congress (March 15, 2008).
Source:
 
Getty Images AsiaPac
photo, post
ed in “
NPC Fifth Plenary Session
,”
 Zimbio.com
.
. 
 
Disclaimer:
This report is the product of professional research performed by staff of the U.S.-ChinaEconomic
 
and Security Review Commission, and 
 
was prepared at the request of theCommission to support its deliberations. Posting of the report to the Commission's website isintended to promote greater public understanding of the issues addressed by the Commissionin its ongoing assessment of U.S.-China economic relations and their implications for U.S.security, as mandated by Public Law 106-398 and Public Law 108-7. However, the publicrelease of this document does not necessarily imply an endorsement by the Commission, any individual Commissioner,
or the Commission’s other professional staff,
of the views or conclusions
 
expressed in this staff research report.
 
3
Series Introduction
A sea change is quietly underway in Chinese politics. The 18
th
National Congress of the ChineseCommunist Party (CCP), expected to convene in autumn 2012, will mark only the second transition of power since the death of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping
 –
and it will be the first one not set in place
by Deng’s own unrivalled authority. The 2012 transition to a “Fifth Generation” of Pa
rty leadership willtest both the procedures for orderly succession established by the CCP over the past two decades, as
well as the ability of the Party’s senior ranks to overcome factional divides and coalesce under a new
collective leadership. In exchanges kept behind closed doors and out of the public eye, jockeying andnegotiations among institutional interests; factional and patronage networks; contending ideologies;and powerful personalities are shaping up the leadership ranks for the rising generation of leaders that
will guide China’s course well into the 2020s.
In this critical period, the views and policy preferences of these rising leaders will have tremendous
influence on the character of China’s emergence as a great power. The CCP cadres on
track to assumesenior positions in 2012 and beyond come from a variety of backgrounds, but tend to have a number of factors in common: they are better educated than their predecessors; they have all gained experience inprovincial government administration; and arguably have outlooks that are more technocratic and less
ideological than earlier generations of CCP leaders. A disproportionate number are also “princelings,”
the children of prominent revolutionary-era Communist officials. Whatever their individual background,however, all share a commitment to maintaining and strengthening the unchallenged ruling status of the Chinese Communist Party.This political transition within the CCP is taking shape as other factors affect the emergence of newleadership cadres in
the Party’s armed forces: the four branches of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The officers now emerging into the senior flag ranks of the PLA have fundamental differences with
China’s military leaders of the revolutionary generation, in
that they are better educated, less directlyinvolved in domestic politics, and more professionally and technically oriented. However, they have alsonever had the experience of actual warfighting, leaving questions as to their preparedness to matchtheory to practice in modern warfare. Many of them also display sharply nationalistic attitudes, and adeep suspicion of the United States.Leadership changes at the top are also occurring as new trends are changing the relationships betweenthe Party leadership and state-owned industry. As the Chinese government maintains control over a
number of “strategic” and “heavyweight” economic sectors, and as state
-owned enterprises (SOEs) still
constitute the majority of China’s gross domestic product (GDP), the manage
ment of state-owned
industry remains one of the Party’s highest priorities. Additionally, a number of larger SOEs have cometo occupy prominent roles as “national champions” whose operations are closely tied to state policy
goals. Over the past decade, a clear pattern has emerged of senior officials from prominent SOEs movingback-and-forth between corporate management and senior-level positions in governmentadministration, thereby blurring the line between the party-state and the business world.This series of papers will seek to identify the rising figures in the CCP bureaucracy, the military, and thestate-owned economy who appear to be on track to assume positions of increased authority after the18
th
CCP Party Congress and in the years to follow. It will also examine the social, political, and economic
trends involved in the Party’s selection of cadres for higher leadership posts, and analyze the likely
policy implications for the United States.
 

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