From Xinhua: ‘General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping (C) and the other newly-elected members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Li Keqiang (3rd R), Zhang Dejiang (3rd L), Yu Zhengsheng (2nd R), Liu Yunshan (2nd L), Wang Qishan (1st R), Zhang Gaoli (1st L) meet with journalists at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 15, 2012.’
This piece in Time Magazine, ’Meet the Men Who Will Rule China‘, briefly introduces the 7 members of the new Politburo Standing Committee (click the names above to go to them), while this link offers a video of Xí Jìnpíng’s acceptance speech (18 mins – includes an English translation). There are a few extended profiles of Xí in the previous Note below, but non of Lǐ Kèqiáng, so here is one from The Washington Post.
I just saw this quote from Cheng Li, in Tania Branigan’s recent Guardian piece, which made me smile: ‘”What’s very important is the capacity to be on the right side of history,” said Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution in Washington. “He [Xí Jìnpíng] himself probably does not know what he will do.”‘ There is also this brief but optimistic video interview with Cheng about the hopes for Xí’s leadership, from the Brookings Institution.
“Watching Xi’s remarks I was struck by his three references to “中华民族伟大复兴” (translated as “great renewal of the Chinese nation” or “great Chinese renaissance”) and his omission of most of the standard ideological benchmarks.
“中华民族伟大复兴” is not a new term and has historically been used by Deng Xiaoping and many others as the justification for reform. On November 15 Xinhua in 述评：循序渐进，中华民族复兴路线图清晰可见discussed Deng’s plan for the renewal and said that the roadmap for the “great renewal of the Chinese nation” is getting clearer.
Xi’s repeated mention of this goal may be another sign that will see a more nationalist China during his rein. The Party knows it needs more than “Scientific Development”, “The Three Represents”, “Marxism”, “Mao Zedong Thought” or “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” to justify its rule.
And that is why I think we will see attempts at reforms, though nothing like the political reforms Westerners and liberal Chinese hope for. The great renewal of the Chinese nation will not happen without significant changes to the economy, and a real crackdown on corruption (calling Wang Qishan…) Some will argue that it will also not happen without wholesale political reform, but Xi Jinping and the new leadership are unlikely to agree.
Expect Xi Jinping to be a reformer, but possibly a hardline nationalist one. Be careful what we wish for?”
Elections, like New Years, don’t immediately usher in significant change but they do offer a nice simple way to re-package our perspectives and look at things anew. With Xí up top instead of Hu, and with his more affable but stringent character, as well as his closer ties with the (expanding) military, it may be a more interesting time to keep an eye on China’s evolving political landscape, both here in China and abroad. (Also see this Nov. 16th Sinca podcast, titled: ‘The State of the [Chinese] Navy’. Kaiser Kuo chats with Taylor Fravel, who is Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT and an expert on Chinese foreign policy, with particular knowledge of China’s naval development.)
With all this in mind, here is a link to an article that a friend of mine sent me last night entitled ‘War Making and State Making as Organized Crime‘, written in 1985 by Charles Tilly (the pdf automatically downloads from the link). I include it as a matter of general perspective rather than one of critique. We shall see what a Xí Jìnpíng and Lǐ Kèqiáng future holds.
I was actually reading the following article when I saw the announcement about the makeup of the new Standing Committee, as it has some relevance to this new China context, particularly from a European laowai perspective, I thought I would add it here too - ‘Austerity is Here to Stay, and We’d Better Get Used to It‘. Just to finish here is something a little different – a heads up from a German péngyou: ‘The Wealth of the Commons‘.