China’s 17th Party Congress: Maintaining Delicate Balances – David Shambaugh

From Brookings Institution website:

… The Congress itself was a meticulously scripted event, with all decisions taken in secret behind closed doors. The public sessions were carefully stage-managed political theater (including the “press conferences”). The much-anticipated changes in the leadership hierarchy were held until the final day, when the new nine-member Politburo Standing Committee was unveiled. Such cautiousness reflects both the personal style of preeminent leader Hu Jintao, and also the institutional nature of the CCP system.

The policy substance of speeches and documents released at the Congress was not notable for bold new visions or policy pronouncements”being more a series of slogans and regurgitation of policies undertaken over the past five years since the 16th Congress. While not necessarily new, these policy documents nonetheless evince a party-state that is aware of its many problems and challenges, and has developed a series of programs to address these issues. [Full Text]

David Shambaugh is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Director of The China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. Read also China’s 17th Party Congress: Leadership, not Policy by Kerry Brown.

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