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The new leaders of the Chinese Communist Party:
Some Brief Comments
Lin Bao Hua
11/17/2002



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The 16th Chinese Communist Party leadership has been announced. The Politburo Standing Committee, the supreme policymaking council in China, is set to include Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun, and Luo Gan. The supposedly corresponding positions of the first four should be President Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao, and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin. Luo Gan's position at the bottom of the list is obviously related to his boss Li Peng’s loss of power.

Jiang Zemin continues to hold onto the position of Chairman of the Central Military Committee, indicating an extreme unwillingness to leave his official post and his extreme fear of losing power. Tending to state affairs from behind the veil is still not enough, for he does not quite trust "Jiang's gang." Instead, he has to "take the gun to direct the Party." So, what is Jiang Zemin afraid of? Mainly, he has two fears. First, he fears that his family's embezzlement and corruption will be exposed and criticized. Second, he fears that Falun Gong will be redressed and he will be forced to pay his bloody debt.

Jiang Zemin's son, Jiang Mianheng, was not given a post in the Central Committee, not even as an alternate member. This shows that the bottom line of the "non-Jiang's gang" is simply to not let Jiang Zemin have the possibility to transfer power hereditarily like an emperor. Therefore, the above-mentioned worrisome issues of Jiang Zemin still cannot be thoroughly resolved.

Among the nine, Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, and Li Changchun are part of Jiang Zemin's circle. In addition, Luo Gan will naturally come to rely on "Jiang's gang" in his search for a new boss. Some think that Li Changchun has yet to show himself as an iron rod for "Jiang's gang." But whether or not that is the case, "Jiang's gang" will still make up the majority in the new leadership. Therefore, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao will face difficult times on the committee.

In the new leadership, what the "non-Jiang's gang" side obtained is Wu Guanzheng, Secretary of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission. With this post, Wu is to prevent the two major corruption groups of Jiang Zemin and Li Peng from doing whatever they want without restraint. However, if neither Zhu Rongji nor Wei Jianxing has been able to restrain them up to now, will Wu Guanzheng succeed?

The new leadership is the result of the redistribution of power of the interest group. Since "Jiang's gang" makes up the majority, there will be an initial period of Jiang Zemin's interest time without Jiang Zemin. Nonetheless, it is inevitable that the new interest group will gradually replace Jiang's interest group. Jiang Zemin has not bestowed the title of "(leadership) core" on Hu Jintao. Therefore, there might be potential problems of stability for the new ruling group, and Hu Jintao's authority will be tested.

* Lin Bao Hua is a free-lance columnist.

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