China’s new leaders: Time to choose

China’s new leaders: Time to choose | The Economist

The nature of elite political power has changed since the days of Mao Zedong. His word was law and he led China into chaos. After Mao, Deng Xiaoping saw that economic reform was China’s salvation. The next two generations of Chinese leaders—Jiang Zemin, the party chief from 1989 to 2002, and Mr Hu—continued economic reform but saw their own power decline as the influence of interest groups within the party grew. Mr Xi now inherits their problem. Leaders of state-owned enterprises, senior army figures and former leaders (including Mr Jiang and now Mr Hu) will all push their interests directly or through their proxies on China’s most powerful party body, the Politburo standing committee, which is now ruled more by consensus. Vested interests have become so entrenched that reform is hard. Are the new men up to the job?

Three things sadly make change less likely. The first is the type of leader who rises to the top in China’s opaque system. Officials achieve promotion not by being bold but by playing safe, and by cultivating high-level patrons. They still live in constant fear of China going the way of the Soviet Union. Second, many of those in power are “princelings”, the offspring or sons-in-law of China’s revolutionary families, who have become a self-enriching, hereditary class. Mr Xi is the son of one of Mao’s closest comrades. He is married to one of China’s most famous singers (see article) while his daughter attends Harvard under a pseudonym. Will a group of “red aristocrats” really be prepared to reform the system that has so enriched their families? The third is the continuing influence of party elders. The re-emergence of Mr Jiang as kingmaker has been especially clear this week.

中国の新たな指導者:選択の時 | Japan Business Press

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