Outgoing President Hu Jintao‘s anointed successor Vice-President Xi Jinping (whom President of Ireland, Mary McAleese met in June 2010) is still considered to be on track to take over as China‘s next leader.
While no reason to assume anything other than a peaceful transition to the fifth leadership generation, it’s certainly a time of political infighting, not just in Beijing, but all over China, the various party ideology and interest cliques, and there are many, all jockeying for position and influence, using state media to subtly draw attention to their disparate agendas.
The Sixth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) from the 15th to 18th of October is the most important meeting of the year. According to local media, this year’s gathering is focusing on “proposing new ideas for reform and development culture into the 21st century” (http://roll.sohu.com/20111016/n322327334.shtml) and maintaining social unity at a time of rising inflation, slowing economic growth, and over half a billion people using the web -the perfect theme for pitting reformist and leftist factions against each other.
Over the past few weeks leftist criticism of China’s current and future direction has been more marked in state media, for instance, highlighting the excesses of runaway capitalism in the Zhejiang city of Wenzhou (which is dealing with a subprime loan crisis of sorts). Meanwhile, last month Li Changchun, Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization, China’s propaganda czar who visited Ireland last year, was warning that China needs to do much more to guard against destructive western influences.
The following article from The Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/world/chinas-princelings-break-their-silence-20111016-1lrkh.html) about a recent get-together of elite children of present and former leaders provides an intriguing insight into how ‘The Princelings‘ are “networking and rallying to influence personnel and ideology ahead of Mr Xi“, many united in the belief the Communist Party has “lost its way“.
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