The Return of One-Man Rule in China?

As the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China ( CPC) draws near, western corporatist media and analysts are out in full force and working overtime to smear and demonize CPC and its top leaders, particularly President Xi Jinping. Their ploy and antics are wearing thin. Increasingly, they don’t even bother to conceal their mendacity and hatred for China and CPC. It’s an unmistakable sign that CPC and its leaders have done good things for China and her people. To paraphrase the Bard, hell knows no fury like an imperialist frustrated.

Their narrative revolves around the sacking (purging according to the presstitutes) of Chongqing party Secretary Sun Zhengcai for corruption, whom they claim was the most worthy successor to Xi after 2022. They said the same thing about Bo Xilai when he was charged and convicted of corruption before Xi became President in 2012.

Fact is there are two other candidates eminently qualified to succeed Xi. One is Hu Chunhua, party Secretary of Guangdong province. The other is Chen Min’er, the new party Secretary of Chongqing who took over from the disgraced Sun. Veteran observers of Chinese politics regard Chen as the more likely successor of the two, given his rapid promotion since 2012.  Xi and the previous President Hu Jintao were promoted quickly before they were elected to the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) without spending time in the Politburo first.

The presstitutes claim that Xi’s failure to name a successor now (or after the party Congress) reveals his ambition to serve a third term after 2022. They are deliberately obtuse or ignorant of the fact that it’s not for Xi to name a successor. That’s the prerogative of the 200-strong Central Committee in 2022. Any observer worth his salt can make an educated guess as to the likely successor by looking at the new PSC members after the party Congress.

Since 2002, China’s leadership transition has been very much institutionalised. One major feature is collective leadership exercised by PSC, comprising 5 to 9 members. PSC acts like a cabinet in a Westminster parliamentary system. In fact, the composition and working of the PSC are more democratic than the Westminster cabinet. One, unlike the cabinet appointments which are decided by the Prime Minister in a Westminster parliamentary system, members of PSC are elected directly by the 200-strong Central Committee. Two, unlike the Westminster cabinet where the PM is the first among equals, Xi as General Secretary is just like other PSC members. PSC works on a consensual basis, rather than on the basis of majority as in a Westminster cabinet.

Talk that Xi is working to stack the 25-member Politburo (separate from PSC) and 7-member PSC with his own men is plain silly. The Central Committee, comprising 200 odd members, elect members of the Politburo and PSC. The Central Committee members are, in turn, elected by close to 2,300 delegates from the provinces, directly-administered municipalities, armed forces and other government organs. The delegates themselves are elected by tens of millions of CPC members. The provinces and municipalities control more than two thirds of the 2,000 plus delegates. No one could conceivably control the whole election process.

Credit should be given to Xi for grooming Chen, who isn’t a Red “princeling”. Chen rose through the ranks, from local official to provincial head. He was tested at his post as party Secretary of Guizhou province, an economic backwater in south -western China. Within 3 years, he has transformed the province into a centre for Big Data, and lifted many out of poverty.

When the party Congress concludes on October 24, the question as to who will succeed Xi as China’s President and General Secretary in 2022 will be answered. If I may venture my prediction here : Chen will make it to PSC and groomed as a successor to Xi, while Hu Chunhua may get elected to the Politburo or PSC in line to be the next Prime Minister in 2022 to head up the State Council, the executive branch of China’s central government.

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