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Opinion – Predicting leadership succession in China

Due to the nature of internal politics, predicting the succession of China’s leaders is often a bewildering task for political observers. Nevertheless, the next 20th The party congress is likely to feature a younger generation of Chinese leaders who will become seven members of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).

The oft-cited political practice of “seven ascents, eight descents” (those who reach the age of 67 can continue and those who reach the age of 68 can resign) were not strictly adhered to in the 19th century. Li Yuanchao, 67, a member of the Politburo and vice chairman since March 2013, resigned from the Central Committee at the party congress. Another good example of him is Wang Qishan, who in November 2012 was 64 years old and he joined the PSC as a member, but in October 2017 he became secretary of the PSC and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. I resigned. He was elected Vice President in March 2018, succeeding Li Yuanchao.

Most importantly, the Xinhua News Agency reported at the end of 19th At the party convention in October 2017, he said, “Those who meet the age requirements may not be continuously nominated. It depends on the needs of the career position regarding what to do’. When political practices can change over time, this is no exception in China’s leadership succession.

(210701) — BEIJING, 1 July 2021 (Xinhua News Agency) — Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, said: He delivered a key address at the memorial ceremony held on July 1, 2021. July 1, 2021, his 100th anniversary since the establishment of his CPC in Beijing, the capital of China. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

Xinhua’s claims in 2017 have gone unnoticed by some outside observers who have made many and often conflicting predictions about leadership succession at the next party congress.

The above new political practices suggest that many news reports suggest that President Xi Jinping will definitely continue to hold three key posts (Chairman, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission). I’m explaining. This “trinity” of national, party and military leadership is undoubtedly important to mainland China’s political stability and strong leadership.

Premier Li Keqiang has already served two terms, and it is widely reported that he is likely to step down as prime minister. In fact, Lee had openly said in March 2022 that this would be the end of his term.

Another Chinese leader likely to step down is Wang Qishan, now 73. Whether Li Keqiang will succeed Wang as the new vice president remains to be seen. If Li becomes vice president, President Xi Jinping and his successor will appreciate his achievements.

Currently, the average age of the 7 members of the PSC is 68, all very experienced but a little older. They are 69-year-old Xi Jinping, 67-year-old Li Keqiang, 67-year-old Wang Yang (Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC)) and 68-year-old Han Zheng (Vice Chairman of the State Council). 72-year-old Li Zhanshu (Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress), 67-year-old Wang Huning (Secretary of the Communist Party of China), 65-year-old Zhao Leji (Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, or his CDIC) secretary). Given the elderly nature of the PSC configuration, his two scenarios occur: (1) A phased and coordinated process of retaining the younger Zhao Yueqi and the more experienced Wang Yang and Wang Wangning, but forcing Li Keqiang, Han Zheng, and Li Zhanshu to resign. (his three new positions in the PSC); (2) to ensure a smooth leadership succession in China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, possibly retaining only Wang Wang Ning or Zhao Le Ji, but at least five A more drastic reform that injects new members of man into his PSC.

If the first scenario comes to pass, Wang Yang, who has extensive experience in the State Council and has experience governing as party secretary in both Chongqing and Guangdong, could succeed Li Keqiang as the next premier. But given that Wang is already 67, Wang’s premiership is likely to be short-lived, with him likely to be short-lived for five years, succeeding Li Keqiang as premier. If chosen, continuity would be an issue. Also, it is unusual for the chairman of the CPPCC to become prime minister.

Wang Huning, as China’s ideological architect, could be promoted to Vice Premier or perhaps SCNPC chairman if he stays in the PSC. Zhao Yueqi, who has played a key role in China’s anti-corruption movement, is likely to be nominated to the chairmanship of the SCNPC or the position of vice premier of the State Council to rid the country of key corrupt cadres and officials. Leaders arrange their own division of labor in the new political system.

However, the second scenario is more likely for two reasons. A more radical overhaul is to train new, younger leaders to succeed generations of leaders like Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. President Xi Jinping, like previous presidents like Jiang Zemin, will undoubtedly become the central leader of the Chinese Communist Party, leading the party and overseeing its younger leaders for at least the next five years.

Therefore, in the second scenario, more young blood may participate in PSC. They are 59-year-old Hu Chunhua (Vice Premier of the State Council), 60-year-old Ding Xuexiang (Director of the General Bureau of the Communist Party of China), 62-year-old Chen Ming’er (Chongqing Party Secretary), and 63-year-old. Li Qiang (Secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party) and Huang Kunming (Chinese Communist Party Public Relations Director) aged 65.

Hu is likely to succeed Li Keqiang as prime minister. One of his reasons is his young age and his extensive governing experience, mainly in Hebei, Inner Mongolia, and Guangdong. In addition, Hu rose from the Chinese Communist Party Youth League (CYL). This is Li Keqiang’s pattern of career sharing experience. If Li Keqiang resigned from his position as premier, he could have encouraged Hu to take over his prominent position.

(220423) — BEIJING, April 23, 2022 (Xinhua News Agency) — Members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) commemorate the 1st National Congress of the CPC in Shanghai, eastern China, on June 3, 2021. At the ceremony, consider the party’s oath of admission. (Xinhua News Agency/Liu Ying)

Ding Xuexiang has been a key political adviser to President Xi Jinping for many years. In 2007, Mr. Ding, 45, was the political secretary to Xi Jinping, party secretary of the city of Shanghai. In October 2017, Ding became a member of the Politburo and secretary of the Central Secretariat. Ding’s name has appeared frequently in the mainland media in recent months. All signs point to him being promoted to the PSC as a key member, and as CDIC secretary he could succeed Zhao Leji. Ding’s political future is bright.

The other three rising stars are Chen Min’er, Li Qiang and Huang Kuming.Chen Min-er and Li Zhang were frequently reported in the media before 19th It was a party convention, but it was not eventually incorporated into the PSC. However, if the CPC leaders want to develop young leaders in the next five years, they both tend to join the PSC as promising new members.

Li Keqiang (Xinhua/Li Tao)

Finally, Huang Kunming, as the Chinese Communist Party’s chief propaganda officer, is also more likely to be recruited and promoted to a member of the PSC, especially since ideological architect Wang Huning is now 67.

There are other candidates who are currently members of the Politburo and have the chance to be ‘promoted’ to the PSC. Li Xi, the party secretary of Guangdong Province, and Li Hongzhong, the party secretary of Tianjin. But for both he is 66 and doesn’t seem like a strong contender to the PSC.

Whether Li Keqiang is appointed vice-president or chairman of the SCNPC, his political influence is likely to last.

In conclusion, while China’s leadership succession is characterized by uncertainty in terms of recent top political practices, two scenarios can be foreseen for personnel changes of Politburo Standing Committee members. I can do it. The first scenario is minimal changes, the second involves injecting more young blood into Top his echelon. The second scenario, as widely reported in the mainland media, is that President Xi Jinping will undoubtedly become the core leader, leading China to the next stage of social, economic and political development. seems more likely. If this analysis is correct, Hu Chunhua and Ding Xuexiang are very likely to become the next generation of young, politically significant Chinese leaders in the years to come.

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