From China Leadership Monitor (No. 22):
Party congresses are first and foremost about personnel arrangements: who gets promoted and who does not. Without a delicate combination of supporters and balancing of interests, Party leaders can find it difficult to implement their preferred policies. But Party congresses also make statements about political priorities. The general secretary of the Party always gives a “political report” that reflects the balance of opinion within the top leadership on the important issues of the day but also–and importantly–underscores where the general secretary stands. Thus, it was important in 1997 that Jiang Zemin, then subject to strong pressure from the left wing of the Party, strongly affirmed Deng Xiaoping‘s approach to reform. [Full Text]
Joseph Fewsmith is Director of East Asian Studies Program and Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Boston University. Click here to read other articles from this issue of China Leadership Monitor.