A Guide to China's Upcoming Leadership Transitions
This report is intended to provide Congress with a guide to the transitions, covering their distinct features and specific issues of interest, including the Party's next steps in the ongoing scandal involving Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing Party Secretary and Politburo member who fell from grace after his wife was implicated in the murder of a British businessman. This report also previews some of the challenges facing China's new leaders, starting with the requirement to consolidate their power. Xi Jinping would be the first top leader in the post-Mao Zedong era not personally selected by Deng Xiaoping, the dominant political figure of the era. He and his colleagues will also have to contend with not one but two retired Communist Party General Secretaries jockeying for influence behind the scenes, and with an irreverent micro-blogging Chinese public primed to pounce on their mistakes. Policy challenges for China's new leaders include determining the appropriate role for the state sector in an ambitious shift in economic growth models, re-conceiving China's foreign policy, and deciding how to respond to growing public expectations for political reform. The United States has a strong interest in how China's new leaders choose to approach all those challenges. Subsequent reports will cover the outcomes of the 18th Party Congress and the 12th National People's Congress. For a detailed discussion of the Chinese political system, please see CRS Report R41007, Understanding China's Political System , by Susan V. Lawrence and Michael F. Martin. For background information about Xi Jinping, the man expected to be named General Secretary of the Communist Party at the 18th Party Congress in November, see CRS Report R42342, China's Vice President Xi Jinping Visits the United States: What Is at Stake?, by Susan V. Lawrence.
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