If U.S. politics have taught us anything, it’s that it’s never too soon to start talking about the next election cycle. And while the masses in China have no hand in choosing their top leaders, Reuters’ Ben Blanchard kicks off the 6th generation rumor mill with a profile of rising leader Hu Chunhua, known as “Little Hu”, a man who many believe will be promoted in the next Party Congress and go on to play a large role in China’s political future:
Hu has overseen rapid growth in Inner Mongolia while dealing with ethnic Mongol unrest without resorting to the heavy-handed violence often turned on protesters in China. He spent two decades in Tibet, where he came under the wing of Hu Jintao.
His next role is likely to be very different .
Sources close to the leadership have told Reuters that Hu, 49, is frontrunner to be appointed party chief in the sprawling southwestern city of Chongqing. There has also been speculation he could be sent instead to Shanghai.
If he goes to Chongqing, he would have to deal with the legacy of the man at the centre of China’s biggest political scandal in decades.
Meanwhile, as the guessing game continues over who will make up the next lineup of CCP leaders, The South China Morning Post reports that Wang Huning, a trusted adviser to both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, may become the vice-premier in charge of political affairs:
It is expected Wang, 57, will be elevated to the 25-seat Politburo after the Communist Party’s 18th national congress, which opens on November 8.
The twin promotions would give the country’s top diplomat greater authority, something seen as lacking as China’s global influence grows.
Neither Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to the US, nor State Councillor Dai Bingguo, the government’s foreign policy mastermind, currently sit on the Politburo.
“The adjustment to let a vice-premier lead diplomatic affairs has been boosted by the apparent need to overhaul the country’s foreign policy and its policymaking apparatus,” said a source familiar with the discussion.
“The fact that Chinese leaders appear to be taking more interest in foreign affairs, especially their growing keenness to get international media exposure, also means the leadership will attach an ever greater importance to foreign policy structure.”
See also previous CDT coverage of the 18th Party Congress and the CCP 5th Generation.