New Wave of Leaders to the Helm in China

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Acrobats perform in front of an electronic board showing the emblem for the Chinese Communist Party during an event celebrating the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Hangzhou, on 19 October 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Chance Chan)

By: Omar Nashabe

Published Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The ruling Communist Party in China will be holding its eighteenth National Congress in Beijing soon, and a new generation of leaders will take the reins of one of the biggest – and growing – economic powers in the world.

On November 8, the vice president, assistant general secretary of the Chinese Communist party and vice president of the central military council, Xi Jinping, will take over the leadership of the party from Hu Jintao, who has been president since 2003. At the conference, the names of the new members of the nine-member central committee and the 25-member politburo will be announced.

Many Chinese are wary of the changes that might take place as power changes hands, but some of their current leaders have no doubt that changes on the international scene require them to modernize the way they deal with the challenges they face. Their biggest challenge lies in some American and Western policies that target China’s interests and seek to distort its relations with the international community.

The new president, Xi Jinping, seems to be qualified to lead his country in overcoming the challenges of the future in a calm manner and without resorting to any violence which could have negative repercussions for the local economy and regional or international stability. Xi has two doctorate degrees, one in political science and the other in chemistry. To his friends in the Communist party, he is known as “the man with the hand that solves the problems.”

Xi’s promotion to general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party will coincide with the promotion of several other leaders, including the vice premier, Wang Qishan, the party leader in Shanghai, Yu Zhengsheng, and the head of the party’s media department, Lio Yunshan. There is a chance that they will join the central committee, which may be reduced back to seven members from nine after being expanded in 2002. The most prominent candidate for the post of premier is current member of the central committee, Li Keqiang.

This will be the fourth time a change of leadership has occurred since the People’s Republic was established in 1949. The first generation ruled from 1949 until the death of Moa Zedong [Tse Tung] in 1976. They were followed by the second generation, led by Deng Xiaoping, who ruled until he stepped down in 1992 when the central committee and politburo were reformed.

The third generation, which sought to implement Jiang’s tripartite plan focusing on economic advancement, political harmony and cultural progress under the leadership of Jiang Zemin, took over after the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989.

In 2003, the fourth generation, known as the republican generation, took over under the leadership of Hu Jintao. The leaders of this generation were mostly technocrats and poured their efforts into developing the country’s production capabilities and technology.

The fifth generation will come to power next month. They are expected to concentrate on developing technological innovation, stimulating economic growth in the western regions of China, sustainable development, modernizing China’s foreign policy and widening their international relations network on all levels.

Most of those expected to take over leadership positions have promised to address several key concerns. First, they say they will modernize the one party system that has been the basis for ruling China since the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, while reiterating their adherence to the fundamental principles of the party.

Second, they have vowed to address demands for further economic reforms and to keep up a high level of economic growth and advancement. Third, leading party officials have said they will increase access to the internet and modern communications systems in all areas of China. They have also promised to fight corruption and hold officials accountable by pushing out party leaders who are unable to deal with the new realities facing the Chinese people and government.

The congress is expected to address these points and make decisions about how to proceed in the future. The US and other Western powers are paying particularly close attention to internal Chinese politics, especially in light of the country’s growing economic clout, political influence and technological and military abilities since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The congress is being held at a time when the Western media, particularly the American and British press, has been focusing on corruption cases against certain Chinese officials. One of these cases is against a member of the politburo, Bo Xilai, who was one of the candidates for membership in the central committee before it was revealed that his wife was involved in the murder of a British businessman for financial reasons. Xilai was expelled from the party, despite his father having been one of its most prominent founding leaders.

Another corruption case which has attracted the interest of Western media is the investigation into a fatal car crash involving the son of Chinese leader Ling Jihua.

No to Intervention in Syria and No to Sanctions on Iran

“The party’s policies are based on ideology, not personality,” a high ranking Chinese official told Al-Akhbar in response to questions over how China’s foreign policy might change when its new leaders are announced.

“China’s position of rejecting foreign intervention in Syrian internal affairs is unwavering,” he added.

Commenting on positions taken by China at the UN Security Council where it blocked sanctions against Syria, the Chinese official explained: “The West’s hostile attitude towards China forces us to be confrontational. This explains China’s repeated vetoes against Western draft resolutions.”

As for the sanctions that the US and Europe are enforcing on Iran, the Chinese official emphasized that “We are serious partners of Iran and our relations with them are still normal.”

He went on to say that the party rejects international sanctions on principle, including those recently imposed by the American administration on Hezbollah leaders.

On another front, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who will take over at the coming conference, met Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Beijing back in March. After the meeting, Xi stated: “China has sought, and will continue to seek, a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict in the Middle East...The principle of land for peace should be the basis of negotiations.”

A Chinese diplomat elaborated on this statement to Al-Akhbar, explaining that a just and comprehensive solution entails returning the occupied territory to the Palestinians and establishing a fully sovereign Palestinian state.

The diplomat also emphasized that China considers the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah to be the leadership of the state of Palestine and has even appointed a Chinese ambassador to Ramallah who has the same powers as all of China’s ambassadors to other countries.

The diplomat went on to say that China recognizes East Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Palestine, and interpreted Jinping’s comments about “land for peace” to mean that “Not returning Jerusalem to its rightful owners would be an obstacle to peace.”

Does this mean that China supports armed resistance until the conditions for peace are met?

Chinese officials prefer not to reply directly to this question. They smile and say that China seeks peace. However, in explaining their basic tenets, they admit: “Had it not been for the Korean War [against the Americans in the fifties], China would not have reached its current position.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


The change in the leadership of the Chinese political scenario is being perceived as a welcome change to bring in a fast change to the various financial as well as governmental policies of the country. I am looking forward to see how the new regime performs.

USA sold their technology to China and soon China will rule the word economicly and militaryly. The world will be only in China :)

"The ruling Communist Party in China will be holding its eighteenth National Congress in Beijing soon, and a new generation of leaders will take the reins of one of the biggest – and growing – economic powers in the world."

Thanks to the USA that committed the greatest Technology-Transfer in History.

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