The New Chinese Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities after the 16th Party Congress

By Chan, Alfred | The China Journal, July 2006 | Go to article overview

The New Chinese Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities after the 16th Party Congress


Chan, Alfred, The China Journal


The New Chinese Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities after the 16th Party Congress, edited by Yun-han Chu, Chih-cheng Lo and Ramon H. Myers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. viii + 256 pp. AUS$59.95 (paperback).

Twelve noted scholars in this book explore the implications of the orderly handover of Chinese leadership in 2002 by focusing on political succession and Jiang Zemin's legacy, the issues of continuity and change, and the challenges and opportunities confronting China today. Almost all political scientists, they present a wide range of stimulating opinions, although the editors could well have highlighted the differences in their introduction to give the readers a better roadmap. Several authors give the Jiang era high marks on issues such as political development and institutionalization and are optimistic about the incoming leadership's ability to cope with future challenges. Others are concerned with the incomplete succession-Jiang Zemin retaining the Military Affairs Commission chairmanship, and packing the Politburo with his protégés-fearing that conflicts might inhibit unity and initiative.

Lowell Dittmer's chapter notes the huge inequality and income gap, corruption and the failure to reform the industrial and financial sectors. But, he writes, "the major contribution of the Jiang administration has been to meet crisis with change, but change braced by stability, with an emphasis on administrative competence and a political culture of consensus and co-operation". Jiang's "three represents" broadened the Parry's support base by incorporating the middle class, and under him, China reached "maturity" in its foreign relations by engaging fully with the new world order, occupying a "powerful and satisfied" position.

Yu-Shan Wu focuses on what he calls "technocratic stability" which emerged after 1997 and consolidated in 2002. In contrast to the turbulent reform decade of the 1980s, Wu argues, the 1990s under Jiang/Zhu scored remarkable achievements in managing the economy. Economic success begat political tranquility and, paradoxically, the obsession with stability led to reforms in specific areas. The generational renewal which featured term and age limits also brought to the fore younger, pragmatic and better educated technocrats, non-ideological and status-quo-oriented. Wu suggests that although this leadership is "faceless" and displays a "lack of vision" it will be conducive to a dynamic and adaptive system; this, however, requires more explanation. Finally, Wu is concerned that the incomplete succession may exacerbate "mentor politics" and the influence of the Elders, now in their mid-70s, and even lead to gerontocracy.

David Shambaugh's chapter on the military discusses how sweeping changes in the PLA high command personnel in recent years was achieved through standardized procedures and regulations. Further bifurcation of Party and military has been conducive to professionalization and de-politicization of the PLA, making praetorian impulses and intervention in succession politics improbable. It can be expected that the PLA will focus exclusively on its own comprehensive modernization and development of its professional corporate identity.

In contrast, Richard Baum's evaluation of the mixed Jiang legacy is more reserved, as he argues that the vibrant economy and nascent civil society is offset by a political strategy of muddling through. The remaining Leninist institutions cannot handle the systemic stresses and rising socio-economic discontents. Urgently needed is the strengthening of "input institutions", and relaxation of Party control over religious and social groups, intellectual dissent, mass media and the government.

Similarly, Suisheng Zhao's chapter also claims that Jiang "has 'muddled through' in his 13 years of leadership", leaving successors to pick up the pieces. Zhao demonstrates the common background of the leadership in age, education, occupation and experience and argues that they are certain to continue gradual economic reform and political institutionalization and to shun bold policy initiatives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The New Chinese Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities after the 16th Party Congress
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.