Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, March 23, 2012

From the crystal balls of observers

You'll have to pay attention for the next few years to discover how prescient these observers are now.

Change is coming to China – but will Beijing lead a social revolution?
This autumn, the 18th Communist party congress will formally select the next general secretary and other members of China's top political body. Since power flows from the party, the decision – in reality, made before the meeting – will determine who will lead the country and how they will govern its 1.4 billion inhabitants…

Wu Qiang, a political scientist at Tsinghua University, said: "This is the most intense moment in the past 15 years and could have a big impact on society. The upcoming political competition is healthy and worth anticipating, but could potentially result in instability."

This is the first transition that has not been shaped by the founders of the People's Republic…

Xi Jinping will almost certainly become general secretary, then president of China, with Li Keqiang as premier. The rest of the incumbents are expected to make way for newer faces – and perhaps the first woman ever to reach the body…

China is vastly wealthier and more powerful than when Hu Jintao took power a decade ago. Yet analysts say his legacy is one of maintenance: keeping GDP growth high and preserving party consensus…

Breakneck economic development has come at vast social and environmental cost. Corruption is rife; cynicism more so. While millions have emerged from poverty, many feel worse off – perhaps because inequality has soared. Protests and other disturbances are increasing. This year has seen fresh unrest in Tibetan and Uighur areas. Even the demographics look grim, with a rapidly ageing population…

Zhang Jian, of Peking University, noted: "There's a strong demand from civil society for more reforms … I don't see a serious or reliable force within the party that really wants them."

But Russell Leigh Moses, a political analyst in Beijing, suggested that on economic issues, at least, "there's a good deal of healthy rethinking in leadership circles"…

The leadership is often divided into "princelings" like Xi – the sons of powerful Communist leaders – and members of Hu's Communist Youth League faction. But such distinctions not only reflect the importance of connections and powerful patrons; to some extent they are used as a proxy for political differences…

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed.

The Fourth Edition of What You Need to Know is available from the publisher (where shipping is always FREE).


Labels: , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home