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The Big 19th: China's 2017 19th National Party Congress

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  • #31
    Time to mark to market:

    General Secretary, President, MAC Chair and head of every significant Leading Group: Xi Jinping.
    Gopher Premier, weakest since Hua Guofeng: Li Keqiang
    X TBD NPC Chair, insignificant Vice President: Li Yuanchao
    X TBD CPPCC Chair and youngest leader with no future: Hu Chuanhua
    (or, possibily Xinjiang hard-ass Secretary Zhang Chunxian)
    Secretariat Secretary and Party School President: Li Zhanshu, heir apparent No. 1
    DIC Secretary: Zhao Leji, heir apparent No. 2
    Executive Vice Premier and PM-in-waiting: Wang Yang or possibily Hu Chunhua
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    • #32
      The 19th Politburo

      (by stroke order):

      Ding Xuexiang CC Secretariat member (10/17-), CC General Office Deputy Director (2013-), Shanghai Politics & Law Secretary under Xi Jinping (2012-13), Shanghai cadre (1999-), CCP (84)

      Xi Jinping (b. 1953). Returnee; CCP General Secretary (2012-), State President (2013-), MAC Chair (2012-), The Core, Thought Man, He Who Must Be Obeyed

      Wang Chen (b. 1950), NPC SC Vice Chair (2013-), Secretary General (2013-), Cyberspace Administration of China Director (2011-), CC Propaganda Dept Deputy Director (2008-), St Council Information Office Director (2008-11), CC (16, 17, 28), CCP (69)

      Wang Huning (b. 10/55, Shandong) returnee. Theoretician. CC Policy Research Office Director – former deputy Wei Minzhou investigated (7/17).

      Liu He (b. 1952), CC Leading Small Group for Finance and Economy General Office Director (2013-), National Development and Reform Commission Deputy Director (2013-), CC (18), software, data IT expert. Harvard man

      Xu Qiliang (b. 1950) returnee. MAC Vice Chair (2012-); Shenyang MR Commander (2000-07), Deputy Commander (1999-04)

      Sun Chunlan (f) (b. 1950), token female; returnee. United Front Work Dept Director (2014-), Tianjin CCP Secretary (2012-14)

      Li Xi (b. 1956), Liaoning CCP Secretary (2015-), NPC Chair (2015-), Acting Governor (2014-15), Deputy Secretary (2014-15), Shanghai CCP Deputy Secretary (2013-14), CCa (18, 17), DIC (18), Shanghai Party School President (2011-14), Organization Dept Director (2011-13), Shaanxi posts (2004-11)

      Li Qiang (b. 1959), Jiangsu CCP Secretary (2016-), Zhejiang Governor (2013-16), Acting Gov (2012-13), Deputy Secretary (2011-16), Politics and Law Secretary (2011-16), SC member (2005-11), Secretary General (2001-11), Wenzhou city roles (2002-04), CCP (86)

      Li Keqiang (b. 1955) returnee. State Premier (2013-)

      Li Hongzhong (b. 1956), Tianjin CCP Secretary (2016-), CC (18), CCa (17, 16, 15), Hubei CCP Secretary (2010-16), Governor / Acting Governor (2007-10), Deputy Secretary (2007-10), Shenzhen City CCP Secretary (2005-07), Mayor / Acting Mayor (2003-07), Deputy Secretary (2003-05), Guangdong CCP SC (2002-07), Vice Governor (2001-03), PRD roles (1995-2001), Electronics Industry Ministry General Office under Li Tieying with Yu Zhengsheng and Zeng Peiyan 1985-87), Shenyang Liaoning (1982-85) under Li Changchun, Li Tieying. CCP (76).

      Yang Jiechi (b. 1950), State Councilor (2013-), environmental issues (2013-), Foreign Minister (2007-13), Vice Minister, Ambassador, etc (1975-2013). Studied at LSE with Long Yongtu, Wang Guangya, Zhou Wenzhong (1973-75),

      Yang Xiaodu (b. 1953), CC Secretariat member (10/17-), Supervision Minister (2016-), DIC Deputy Secretary (2014-), DIC (18), Shanghai DIC Secretary (2012-13), United Front Dept Director (2006-12), SC member (2006-13), Vice Mayor 2001-06), Tibet Vice Governor (1998-01), posts with Hu Jintao, Hu Chunhua (1986-95). CCP (73)

      Wang Yang (b. 1955), Vice Premier (2013-), water flooding roles; CC (18, 17), CCa (16), Guangdong CCP Secretary (2007-12), Chongqing CCP Secretary (2005-07), NPC (2006-08), State Council Deputy Secretary General (2003-05), National Development and Reform Commission Vice Minister (1999-2003), Anhui CCP Deputy Secretary (1998-99), Vice Governor (1993-99), Secretary General (1993-98), posts with Wang Yang, Liu Qibao, Luo Huining, (1982-99). CCP (75)

      Zhang Youxia (b. 7/50, Beijing; son of Gen Zhang Zongxun, co-county w/Xi Zhongxun). CC (17, 18); General (7/11); MAC member (11/12); PLA Equipment Development / General Armaments Dept Director (10/12-9/17); Shenyang MR Commander (9/07-10/12); Beijing MR Deputy Commander (12/05-9/07); 13th Group Army Commander (8/00-12/05); Vietnam Vet (79, 84); 14th Group Army Yunnan with Yang Jinshan (76); PLA (68)

      Chen Xi (b. 1953), CC Secretariat member (10/17-), CC Organization Dept Executive Deputy Director (2013-), CC (18), China Association for Sci & Tech CCP Secretary (2011-13), Liaoning CCP Deputy Secretary (2010-11), Education Vice Minister (2008-10), DIC (2007-12), Tsinghua roles (1979-08), CCP (78)

      Chen Quanguo (b. 1955), Xinjiang CCP Secretary (2016-), CC (18), Tibet CCP Secretary (2011-16), Hebei Deputy Secretary, Governor / Acting Governor (2009-11), CCa (17), Henan CCP Deputy Secretary (2003-09), Organization Dept Director (2000-04), Vice Governor with Li Keqiang (1998-01), mayor, etc (1988-09). CCP (76)

      Chen Min’ir b. 1960. 18th CC. Chongqing CCP Secretary (7/17-); ex-Guizhou CCP Secretary (2015-7/17), Deputy Secretary (2013-15), Gov (2013-15); ex-Zhejiang Exec Vice Gov (2007-12)

      Zhao Leji (b. 1957), returnee. CC Organization Dept Director (2012-), CCP (75)

      Hu Chunhua (b. 1963), returnee. Guangdong CCP Secretary (2012-)

      Li Zhanshu (b. 1950, Hebei), CC General Office Director, Secretariat member, National Security Commission General Office Director, Work Committee for Organs Directly Reporting to the CCP Secretary. Hebei County CCP Secretary next door to Xi Jinping (ca. 1983-85); Shaanxi (98); Hebei government (-98); Xi’an CCP Secretary (-03), Heilongjiang Gov, Vice Gov (2004-10); Guizhou CCP Secretary (2010-12),

      Guo Shengkun (b. 1954), CC Secretariat member (10/17-), St Councilor (2013-), Public Security Minister (2012-), CC (18), CCa (17, 16), Guangxi CCP Secretary (2007-12), Deputy Secretary (2004-07), SOE roles (1977-04). CCP (74)

      Huang Kunming (b. 1954), CC Secretariat member (10/17-), CC Propaganda Dept Executive Deputy Director (2015-), Deputy Director (2013-15), CCa (18), Hangzhou Zhejiang CCP Secretary (2010-13), Propaganda Dept Director (2007-10), Tsinghua Management PhD (2005-08), Zhejiang municipal roles (1999-13), Fujian municipal roles (1982-99), PLA (74), CCP (76)

      Han Zheng (b. 1954) returnee Shanghai CCP Secretary

      Cai Qi (b. 1955) Beijing CCP Secretary (2017-), Mayor / Acting Mayor (2016-17), Vice Mayor (11/2016-3/17); National Security Commission General Office Executive Director (2014-16); ex-Zhejiang Vice-Governor (2013); 22 years with Xi Jinping in Fujian, Zhejiang (1985-07)

      Secretariat (non-PB)

      You Quan (b. 1954), CC Secretariat member (10/17-), Fujian CCP Secretary (12/12-), State Council Executive Deputy Secretary-General (2008-12), CC (18), CCa (17), State Electricity Regulatory Commission chair (2006-08), State Council Deputy Secretary-General (2000-06), General Office Director (1988-00).
      Last edited by DOR; 25 Oct 17,, 12:23.
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      • #33
        What is all this re-writing the book stuff?


        • #34
          Originally posted by snapper View Post
          What is all this re-writing the book stuff?
          Editing typos
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          • #35
            Ladies and Gents,
            We have a naked authoritarian, regressive, dictatorship in display here. Makes me wonder if Trumph is really the Devil here. Loving it. Sinophiles may disagree.

            Enjoy while it lasts!!!
            Last edited by Oracle; 26 Oct 17,, 17:24.
            Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!


            • #36
              Originally posted by Oracle View Post
              Ladies and Gents,
              We have a naked authoritarian, regressive, dictatorship in display here. Makes me wonder if Trumph is really the Devil here. Loving it. Sinophiles may disagree.

              Enjoy while it lasts!!!
              Where is the like button


              • #37
                Amend, Brother, Amend!

                BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Friday proposed writing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the Constitution.

                Why? It is necessary to amend the Constitution to incorporate theoretical, practical and institutional achievements made by the Party and the people, according to the communique.

                Well, I suppose there’s a first time for everything, eh? The People's Republic of China enacted its first Constitution in 1954. In 1982, the fifth National People's Congress adopted the present Constitution, which underwent four amendments in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004.

                Oh. So, what’s new?

                -- Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is a guideline that the Party and state will uphold in the long run.
                -- Leadership of the Party must be strengthened and upheld in all areas of endeavor.
                -- The five-sphere integrated plan, which is to promote coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement, and the new vision of innovative, coordinated, green and open development that is for everyone, are vital for national rejuvenation.
                -- The goals of finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, basically realizing socialist modernization by 2035, and building China into a great modern socialist country by the middle of the 21st century, are also emphasized.
                -- Following the path of peaceful development, pursuing a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind are of great significance to the cause of peaceful development for humanity.
                -- The reform to establish a national supervisory system, which is under the Party's leadership and covers all who exercises public power, is a significant political system reform and a major decision to strengthen the self-supervision of the Party and the state.

                Wow. Anything else?
                The CPC Central Committee communique stressed the important role of the Constitution in state governance and pledged to guarantee its implementation.
                "Efforts to adhere to the rule of law should give priority to the rule of Constitution. Efforts to adhere to the governing by law should put the governing in line with the Constitution in the first place," the document said.

                "All anti-Constitutional behavior shall be corrected, without fail," said the communique. "No organization or individual has the power to overstep the Constitution or the law."

                All people, state organs, armed forces, political parties, civil groups, public institutions and companies should take the Constitution as their fundamental guide to activities.

                "People at every level of public office, especially leading officials, should exercise power and work according to the Constitution and the law and subject themselves to supervision of the people," the communique stressed
                Wait a minute. State government? Civil groups? Public institutions and companies? I thought this was the Party’s constitution!
                The revision to the Constitution is a crucial political decision made by the CPC Central Committee based on the overall situation and the strategic height of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, according to General Secretary Xi Jinping. The representatives at the symposium all approved the CPC proposal to revise the Constitution, and agreed to the general requirements and principles.

                So, only Party members get a say?
                The CPC Central Committee maintains the idea of consultation before decision-making, Xi stated.

                It values the opinions and suggestions from non-Communist parties, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and those without party affiliations before holding important conferences, issuing important documents, and making important decisions, said Xi.

                Xi stressed that non-Communist parties and the united front have made significant contributions to the establishment and the development of China's constitutional system. He asked attendees at the symposium to think over the revision, and to put forward opinions and suggestions.

                He also asked them to raise their awareness of the rule of law and lead the way in sticking to the Constitution, as well as to build consensus, regulate development, resolve conflicts and maintain harmony by the rule of law, in order to bring people together and collect power for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
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                • #38
                  May 4th, 1919

                  Can't find another thread where this fits, and it probably isn't worth starting a new one.

                  May the Fourth Be With You!

                  Today marks the 99th anniversary of China’s May Fourth Movement (五四运动), an event that marks one of the sparks that resulted in the People’s Republic of China.

                  On that day in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles’ terms triggered outrage and protest among intellectuals in China. The post-WWI treaty gave German colonies in China to Japan, without any consideration of China’s interest. Moreover, China’s entry to WWI in 1917 was based on the condition that all Germany possession in China would be returned to China after the war.

                  The jewel in the crown was Tsingtao (Qingdao), in Shandong Province. It was a strategic location near to Japan and Japan’s Korean colony, and very much part of the reason Japan joined the Triple Entente.

                  This wasn’t the first effort by Japan to grab pieces of China. In 1915, it issued Twenty-One Demands to the nascent Republic of China government that would have granted Japan extensive extraterritorial rights on the continent.

                  The main result was to radicalize intellectuals who would later (in 1921) found the Chinese Communist Party, including Mao Zedong.
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                  • #39
                    New from the China Leadership Monitor
                    Winter 2020 Issue 66, Dec 1, 2020

                    The PLA's Evolving Role in China's South China Sea Strategy, by Oriana Skylar Mastro

                    During the past eight months of the global COVID pandemic, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been active in promoting China’s claims in the South China Sea. This essay evaluates PLA statements, military exercises and operations, and deployment of relevant platforms and weapons in the South China Sea during this period. I leverage Chinese-language sources in addition to my own operational knowledge from over a decade of military experience to provide greater context for these activities. I argue that the greatest change in the PLA’s role in the South China Sea has not been operational. Instead, the most interesting development has been the fact that the PLA has taken on a more significant signaling role. Specifically, the Chinese military seems to be purposefully using, and perhaps even exaggerating, its capabilities and activities to enhance deterrence against the United States. This may be seen as necessary as the US increases its own efforts to push back on China’s militarization of the South China Sea. In other words, the PLA has taken a more active role in China’s South China Sea strategy, but not necessarily a more aggressive one

                    Continuous Purges: Xi's Control of the Public Security Apparatus and the Changing Dynamics of CCP Elite Politics, by Wu Guoguang

                    This essay identifies three waves of purges in the Ministry of Public Security under the Xi Jinping leadership, and then focuses on the third wave, which, corresponding to similar measures beyond the public security system, featured the cleansing of those who rose to prominence due to their support of Xi’s earlier anti-corruption campaign. Such a development whereby Xi turns his sword against his previous political allies indicates that continuous purges are becoming a new political dynamic in CCP elite politics. The essay finds that Xi’s prolonged tenure in power and the governance challenges he confronts are the two leading factors that have helped to shape China’s current proto-Maoist power struggles and elite politics. According to this line of reasoning, Xi’s ongoing efforts to control the public security apparatus indicates that CCP elite politics is becoming increasingly dominated by internal repression and coercive means.

                    Will China Eliminate Poverty in 2020?, by Terry Sicular

                    In 2015 China announced the ambitious target of eliminating poverty by 2020. Since then China has launched an all-out, campaign-style push to meet this goal, using a “Precision Poverty Alleviation” strategy that targets individual households and monitors their progress using a nationwide poverty database. Investments of financial and human resources in this program have been considerable. Although the poverty reduction target is ambitious, it is also pragmatic. It applies only to the rural population and it is based on a low poverty line. Funding for the program, while large in absolute terms, is a small percentage of government revenue. Thus, the target is achievable. Reaching the target, however, will not mean that China has won the war on poverty. Many households will remain vulnerable to poverty, and the government’s current definition of poverty does not adequately reflect what it means to be poor in China going forward.

                    From 'China Inc.,' to “CCP Inc.': A New Paradigm for Chinese State Capitalism, by Jude Blanchette

                    CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping has overseen a significant transformation of China’s domestic economic system, undergirded by important new reforms that have drastically expanded the reach of the Chinese state into the economy and Chinese firms. This has included the integration of CCP organizations into public and private firms, the regulatory shift of SASAC from “managing enterprises” to “managing capital,” and the role of government guidance funds in driving industrial policy. The overall change in China’s economic and regulatory structure – and the political control wielded by the CCP – combined with the Xi era blending of the public and private, and market and planning, is of such a proportion that it marks a new paradigm in China’s development trajectory.

                    Interview with David Shambaugh on his recent book: Where Great Powers Meet: America and China in Southeast Asia (Oxford University Press, 2021).

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                    • #40
                      China Turns Inward

                      China’s Fateful Inward Turn: Beijing’s New Economic Strategy as Spelled Out by the Resolution of the CCP Central Committee’s 5th Plenum

                      By Minxin Pei
                      China Leadership Monitor, December 16, 2020

                      If the 3rd plenum of the CCP 11th Central Committee in December 1978 marks the beginning of China’s integration into the global economy under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership, the resolution passed by the CCP’s 19th Central Committee at its 5th plenum at the end of October 2020 likely signals a decisive reversal of China’s “opening” to the outside world.
                      Although aspirational and lacking in specifics, China’s new economic strategy makes it clear that Beijing will be shifting the focus of its economy inward and achieving scientific and technological self-sufficiency to improve its national security and sustain growth.

                      From the perspective of the Chinese leadership, economic interdependence with the West in general, and with the U.S. in particular, now poses unacceptable security risks.

                      Formal name: “The CCP Center’s Proposal for Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and for the Long-Term Goals for 2035” (中共中央关于制定国民经济和社会发展第十四个五年规划和二〇三五年远景目标的建议) .


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                      • #41
                        China Leadership Monitor, March 1, 2021

                        Spring 2021 Issue 67

                        How China is Responding to Escalating Strategic Competition with the U.S.

                        by Ryan Hass

                        There seems to be a growing consensus in Beijing that U.S.-China relations will remain rocky for the foreseeable future. Even so, President Xi Jinping and others have been touting that time and momentum are on China’s side in its quest to move closer to the center of the world stage. Chinese officials recognize that they will need to overcome obstacles in their country’s pursuit of its national goals. To do so, China appears to be pursuing a three-pronged medium-term strategy: maintaining a non-hostile external environment in order to focus on domestic priorities; reducing dependence on America while increasing the rest of the world’s dependence on China; and expanding the reach of Chinese influence overseas. At the same time, China’s actions are generating significant reactions, both at home and abroad. Whether China can learn from this feedback loop to address its own vulnerabilities remains an open question, one that only China will be capable of answering.

                        China’s Counter-Strategy to American Export Controls in Integrated Circuits

                        by Douglas B. Fuller

                        This article will first explain the Huawei Entity List action and analyze its potential effectiveness in light of the global position of American, Chinese, and third country firms in the global industry. It will then consider Chinese government policy and Chinese and foreign firm strategies to cope with the sanctions. In the concluding section, we will explore how foreign industrial policy in ICs will temper the effectiveness of China’s techno-nationalist counter-strategy.

                        Xi’s Anti-Corruption Campaign: An All-Purpose Governing Tool

                        by Christopher Carothers

                        The article is divided into four sections. The first section reviews how the anti-corruption campaign has become institutionalized and has expanded since the 19th Party Congress. The second section analyzes how the Xi administration has used the campaign to support a variety of recent policies and directives, while the third section examines how discipline inspections combine anti-corruption work with supervision of other party, state, and SOE functions. Finally, the fourth section discusses how governing through the anti-corruption campaign supports the realization of Xi’s highly authoritarian vision of how China should be ruled.

                        Grid Management: China’s Latest Institutional Tool of Social Control

                        by Minxin Pei

                        In this article we briefly trace how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) embraced grid management as a tool of social control in the mid-2000s and, after the rise of Xi, began to construct a nationwide system of grid management. We then describe and analyze how grid management is organized and maintained in various jurisdictions. Finally, we evaluate grid management as a tool of social control and as a critical component of China’s surveillance state.

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                        • #42
                          Provincial appointments in China

                          In the Year of the Virus, China replaced nine (of 31) provincial-level party secretaries and twice that number of governors, major city mayors and autonomous region chairs (Hong Kong and Macau are excluded from this analysis).

                          Shuffling nearly half of the provincial leadership as Xi Jinping's second term winds down, without a successor in sight, is significant.

                          With the exception of three highly sensitive party posts – those in Beijing, Tibet, and Xinjiang – only one other of the 62 cadres under consideration here is 65 years old: Gansu's Lin Duo, who turns 65 this month as he starts his fifth (and likely last) year as party secretary. The average age for secretaries is 62.1 years, and for governors 58.9.

                          In a country where women rarely attain high office, Shen Yiqin, the new (November 2020) party boss of southern Guizhou Autonomous Region deserves note. In addition to being the sole women running a provincial level party organization, she is also the first native-born person in such a post since 1993, and a member of the Bai ethnic minority. The two women heading up provincial-level governments, Xian Hui (Ningxia) and Bu Xiaolin (Inner Mongolia) are also ethnic minorities, although Xian was born in a neighboring region. Only around 10% of the provincial party standing committee members are women, and just four are ranked as Deputy Secretary.


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                          • #43
                            This may be my last 19th Party Congress entry ... time to ramp up for the 20th!

                            Succession Politics in China

                            In Chinese politics, there are obvious successors and there are actual ones. As we approach the 2022 20th National Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, it may be useful to recall that only twice in the past 75 years the two were one and the same person.

                            Nominating a successor in a Leninist political system is fraught with difficulty. Unless No. 2's loyalty to No. 1 is absolute, the ruler runs a risk of being sidelined before he is ready to retire. Moreover, these men-in-waiting (there are no women at the top of Chinese politics) need to be dissuaded from banding together to upset the succession plan. Fidel Castro used the expediency of picking his own brother to ensure that No. 2 wouldn't push him out before he chose to retire. North Korea 's Kim Dynasty has raised this to a fine art, but after these two, we rapidly run out of examples.

                            In the first 15 years after the founding of the People's Republic, “everyone knew” that Liu Shaoqi would be Mao Zedong's successor. One senior party cadre said it was decided as early as 1945, and certainly there are clues to support the notion. However, within the upper echelons of the Communist Party the rigid rules of rank did not reflect this arrangement until much later. In 1956, Liu was was one of four vice chairmen and ranked second in the party (he had been third since 1945). From April 1959 until his fall (as the “No. 1 person taking the capitalist road,”) during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Liu was the formal PRC head of state. As such, he began to restructure the party (he was also a party vice chair) and place his own followers in powerful positions.

                            In the latter half of the 1950s, Mao was not yet ready to yield power. But, following his controversial Anti-Rightist Campaign and the subsequent disastrous Great Leap Forward, Marshal Peng Dehuai in 1959 challenged Mao's authority. Although Peng was promptly purged, Mao was forced to take a diminished role for several years. His resentment at being treated like a dead ancestor (his words) is likely the core cause of the horrific Cultural Revolution.

                            Although ostensibly aimed at preventing China from following the Soviet Union into a bureaucracy-led governing model, the Cultural Revolution was all about replacing China's top leaders with people more beholden to Mao himself. The old guard were successful revolutionaries in their own right, and while they respected Mao, he was someone they had known personally for decades. Since Liu and his colleagues were not sufficiently in awe of The Chairman, another revolution – and a new successor – were needed.

                            After overthrowing Liu Shaoqi and his followers (including Deng Xiaoping), Mao elevated Marshal Lin Biao to the role of successor. In 1969, the Little Red Book-waving Lin ranked second in the party hierarchy. He fell in September 1971 after a failed coup d'etat, and the long-time Premier, Zhou Enlai, became Mao's third “obvious successor.” Zhou died in January 1976, and three months later Mao is said to have anointed the little-known Hua Guofeng.

                            Hua was elevated to the chairmanship over the heads of three other vice chairs (two had fallen by the wayside: Deng Xiaoping to his third purge and Kang Sheng to mortality) after just five months as No. 2. During those months, he was not thought of as Mao's obvious successor, but as a compromise figure to be replaced as soon as convenient.

                            Hua lasted barely five years, until Deng Xiaoping and a loose coalition of Cultural Revolution victims stripped him of his titles. Deng did not take the party chair for himself. Instead, he handed it to the first of three chosen successors, Hu Yaobang. Hu presided over the rehabilitation of Cultural Revolution victim and the relaxation of social restrictions, but came into conflict with several party elders. He lasted five years before being replaced by Zhao Ziyang, who managed to stay on top for just half as long.

                            Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, Jiang Zemin replaced the insufficiently brutal Zhao Ziyang at the top of the party. Deng Xiaoping still pulled the strings from behind the scenes (as he had with Hu and Zhao), but it was clear to all that his days were numbered. In preparation, Hu Jintao was rapidly elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) in 1992, as a likely successor to Jiang Zemin. He was formally named Vice President (and ranked No. 2 in the party) by the end of the decade.

                            Jiang cannot be considered to have be an obvious successor as he had not held a significant and central position prior to his elevation. While Jiang built an impressive “Shanghai Clique” of princelings (including Xi Jinping), he was unable to reverse Deng's alleged decision to promote Hu Jintao. Instead, he mimicked Deng's retention of power through the military to prolong his tenure.

                            In 2002, at the conclusion of the 16th National Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Hu Jintao became the first candidate to survive a sip of the poisoned chalice. Although Jiang did not immediately give up all his powerful roles, Hu did take over the party and state presidency. Unlike Liu, Lin, Zhou, Hu, and Zhao before him, the obvious successor actually succeeded.

                            As Hu and his Communist Youth League colleagues assumed power, Xi Jinping was no where to be seen. Five years earlier, he had been elected as an alternate member of the central committee, albeit with the fewest votes of any candidate: 344th out of 344 candidates (the first 193 were named to the Central Committee, and the remainder as alternates). In 2002, Xi was finally named to the Central Committee, but not to the 25 member-Politburo.

                            At the 2007 17th congress, Jiang Zemin and his allies succeeded in replacing all but one of the senior-most leaders with their own men (Premier Li Keqiang was and remains the exception). Xi shot up the ranks to the top job on the powerful Central Committee Secretariat (the daily work body), second place on the Military Affairs Committee, and was named state Vice President several months later.

                            Xi Jinping thus became only the second obvious successor to survive into the top job.

                            Today, there are no obvious candidates to succeed Xi and head of the party, and every indication that he intends to keep it that way for as long as possible. Assuming that Xi is determined to (eventually) promote someone who will protect his legacy (not to mention him and his family), the ultimate candidate is likely to emerge in 2022, and to be someone younger than Xi's (then-) 70 years.

                            Three of the seven current PBSC members may be dismissed out of hand as insufficiently loyal: Premier Li Keqiang and his deputy, Executive Vice Premier Han Zheng, and the head of the token Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress, Wang Yang. All three rose in of Hu Jintao's China Youth League faction.

                            Of the remaining three, Wang Huning is an intellectual ideologue (no such person has risen to the top since Mao) and National People's Congress Chair Li Zhanshu is three years older than Xi Jinping. That leaves Zhao Leji, born in 1957 and currently head of the anti-corruption Discipline Inspection Commission. While Zhao is among the top candidates to succeed Xi, his is far less urbane and less well-educated than his predecessors. Perhaps more important, he would be 70 years old in 2027, when Xi Jinping might finally step down.

                            As noted above, helicoptering young cadres into high posts is not unprecedented in Chinese politics. Among those now sitting on the Politburo who will be below the age of 65 at the 21st (2027) party congress are Ding Xuexiang and Hu Chunhua. The latter, a protege of Hu Jintao, would succeed only if Xi loses control of the process.

                            That leaves Ding Xuexiang, Xi's right-hand man in party work. Ding worked directly for Xi when he was party secretary of Shanghai, and came to Beijing in 2013. He currently runs the party General Office as a sort of chief of staff to the boss.
                            * * *

                            I first published an article on succession politics in 1981, and have since learned that the basic rule of thumb is "you're going to be wrong." So, hedging one's bets …
                            • Chen Miner, who is two years above our cut-off date, runs Chongqing Municipality;
                            • Zhang Guoqing is the party chief of Liaoning Province; and
                            • Meng Xiangfeng, a deputy to Ding Xuexiang, previous ran the national state secrets administration and has a PhD in law.
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