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According to the old rule, a change of power would follow at the National Party Congress of the CP at the end of the year. This is what the great reformer Deng Xiaoping once dictated: To avoid a second Mao dictatorship, the baton was supposed to be passed on at least every ten years. And those who have reached retirement age should also step down. Xi Jinping has revoked this limit for himself.
Still, it is going to be an exciting one. After all, it is still completely unclear who will be part of the future leadership apart from him. Will Xi also hold on to other cadres from his networks in the seat of power? And won’t this deprive an entire generation of future top cadres of their careers? To kick off our Party Congress coverage, Christiane Kuehl looks at who has a chance of being part of the new leadership. And who does not.
Confucius Institutes around the globe have fallen into disrepute for being too close to the Chinese state leadership. So it was only natural that Taiwan sensed an opportunity to promote itself internationally. Mandarin language centers with a “Taiwanese touch” and a bit of cultural education – that is what the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is promising.
Most Western countries will probably gratefully accept it. Taiwan’s offer is certainly motivated by more than mere altruism. But the exchange and transfer of knowledge with Asia’s model democracy will not hurt anyone here, either.
The sixth generation: stalled for the CP leadership
Like every five years in the early summer, the great speculation begins: Who will take which post at the upcoming Party Congress of China’s communists? Technically, the old guard around Party leader Xi Jinping would have to step down at the 20th Party Congress in October – everyone who is 68 years or older. Xi himself has just turned 69. But since Xi abolished term limits for the presidency, there is virtually no doubt that China’s strongman will secure a third term at least. So will other over-68 cadres also remain in their chairs?
“The personnel changes at the upcoming congress are simultaneously more anticipated and less predictable than most previous congresses,” believes Cheng Li, Director of the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center in Washington and one of the most experienced observers of the CP leadership circles. More anticipated, because Xi’s protégés will fill more leadership positions. Less predictable because some norms and rules established in the post-Deng era no longer apply – the mandatory retirement age and term limits for top offices.
Nevertheless, Cheng Li believes that the majority of the older generation will retire. He expects that after the Party Congress, the new “sixth-generation” of those born after 1960 will make up about two-thirds of the new Central Committee with its 376 members and the majority of the 25-member Politburo. Accordingly, four or five younger members will ascend to the Politburo Standing Committee, which currently has seven members, Li predicts. Only Xi (born in 1953) and a few loyalists are likely to remain there, Li believes.