From Wall Street Journal, via Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation website:
When the Chinese Communist Party’s 17th National Congress opens on Monday, President Hu Jintao is certain to receive another five-year term as Party head. But the real nail-biter isn’t Mr. Hu’s tenure, but who will be positioned to succeed him in 2012. If the Congress can’t settle on a single candidate, the fierce contest for power could blow the fragile regime wide open during the next five years.
Unlike previous rulers, Mr. Hu isn’t a political strongman in the mold of Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping. He must broker a consensus among the present party leaders on whom to nominate as a successor. The Party Congress, which meets every five years, elects the next Central Committee, which in turn approves the nominations of China’s top leaders. [Full Text]
Susan L. Shirk is director of the University of California system-wide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and professor of political science.