Profiling Future Chinese Politburo Members: Looking at Trends and Characteristics of Newly Promoted Central Committee Members (1992–2012)
Efforts at finding the next Politburo members have, since the mid-1970s, been at the center of Chinese Elite and leadership studies. From the late 1980s onwards, leadership selection has become more institutionalized. This allows scholars to narrow down their search to more “propitious” elements in order to try to predict who might ascend to the Politburo. Consequently, this article ponders if it was possible to differentiate these individuals from their less “promotable” counterparts upon their entry into the Central Committee between 1992 and 2012. Based on statistical reassessment of variables commonly found in the literature, the article argues that soon-to-be Politburo members were already displaying a different profile than that of their counterparts 5 to 10 years before their entry into the Politburo. This article does not seek to establish a perfect predictive model rather than circumscribe the profile-type and environment in which these rising Elites can be found. Lastly, the latter opens a discussion on what to expect from the results as well as competing profiles found inside the Central Committee.
KeywordsChinese Elite politics Central Committee Politburo membership Ranking structure Elite formation
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This research is to be funded by the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Postdoctoral Grant (756-2015-0018). Funds accepted in September 2015—coverage starting from January 2016 until April 2018.
The manuscript has not been submitted to any other journal for simultaneous consideration.
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
- 1.Bo, Zhiyue. (2007). Chinaʼs new provincial leaders: major reshuffling before the 17th National Party Congress. China: An International Journal, 5, 1, 1-25.Google Scholar
- 2.Bo, Zhiyue. (2009). Chinaʼs Elite Politics: Governance and Democratization. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.Google Scholar
- 3.Bo, Zhiyue. (2014). Paths to the top leadership in China: the case of provincial leaders. In Chien-Wen Kou and Xiaowei Zang (eds.), Choosing Chinaʼs Leaders (pp. 65-96). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- 4.Li, Cheng. (2012). China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch: Biographical sketches of Possible Members of the Post-2012 Politburo (Part 1-4). China Leadership Monitor, 39.Google Scholar
- 5.Li, Cheng. (2010). China's Midterm Jockeying: Gearing up for 2012 (Part 1 the Provincial Chiefs). China Leadership Monitor, 31.Google Scholar
- 6.Lam, Willy W.L. (2010). Changing of the Guard: Beijing Grooms sixth-generation Cadres for 2020s. Washington, DC: The Jamestown Foundation.Google Scholar
- 7.Li, Cheng. (2013). A Biographical and Factional Analysis of the Post-2012 Politburo, in: China Leadership Monitor, 35.Google Scholar
- 8.Zang, Xiaowei. (2004). Elite Dualism and Leadership Selection in China. London: Routledge Curzon.Google Scholar
- 9.Zang, Xiaowei. (2005). Institutionalization and Elite Behavior in Reform China. Issues and Studies, 41(1), 204–17.Google Scholar
- 13.Fewsmith, Joseph. (2013). The 18th Party Congress: Testing the Limits of Institutionalization. China Leadership Monitor, 40Google Scholar
- 14.Huang, Hsin-Hao. (2012). CCPʼs Political Elites Composition and Rotation during the Reform Era: Retrospective and Prospecting [改革开放时期中共党政菁英的结构与轮替: 回顾与前瞻]. In Desheng Chen and Siqin Xu (eds.), 18th Party Congress and Political Succession: Continuities, Changes, and Challenges [中共『十八大』政治继承:持续、变迁与挑战] (pp. 29-55). New Taipei City: Taiwan INK PublishingGoogle Scholar
- 15.Huang, Hsin-Hao. (2013). Entry into the Politburo of the CCP: a Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Institutionalization. In Chien-wen Kou and Xiaowei Zang (eds.), Choosing Chinaʼs Leaders (pp. 22-41). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- 16.Payette, Alex. (2015). Institutionalisation of the Party’s Leadership Nomination system: The “Path” to the Top in Communist China. International Journal of China Studies, 6(3), 231-272Google Scholar
- 17.Shirk, Susan. (2002). The Delayed Institutionalization of Leadership Politics. In Jonathan Unger (ed.), The Nature of Chinese Politics (pp. 297-311). Armonk: M.E Sharpe, 297-311.Google Scholar
- 18.Shirk, Susan. (2012). Age of Chinaʼs New Leaders May Have Been Key to Their Selection. http://www.chinafile.com/age-chinas-new-leaders-may-have-been-key-their-selection. Accessed April 30 2016.
- 19.Zheng, Shiping. (2003). The Age Factor in Chinese Politics. In Gungwu Wang and Yongniang Zheng (eds.), Damage Control: The Chinese Communist Party in the Jiang Zemin Era (pp. 175-89). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.Google Scholar
- 20.Miller, Alice. (2011). The Politburo Standing Committee under Hu Jintao. China Leadership Monitor, 35.Google Scholar
- 21.Miller, Alice. (2013). The New Party Politburo Leadership. China Leadership Monitor, 40.Google Scholar
- 22.Miller, Alice. (2010). “Who Does Xi Jinping Know and How Does He Know Them?”, China Leadership Monitor, 32.Google Scholar
- 23.Kou, Chien-wen. (2010). Paths to the Top: The Political Mobility of Chinese Civilian Leaders After 1987 [迈向权力核心之路:一九八七年以后中共文人领袖的政治流动]. Taiwanese Journal of Political Science (政治科学论丛), 45, 1-36Google Scholar
- 29.Lam, Willy W.L. (2015). Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping. Renaissance, Reform, or Retrogression? New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- 30.Nathan, Andrew. (1973). A factionalism model for CCP politics. The China quarterly 53, 33-66Google Scholar
- 32.Wang, Zhengxu. (2006). Hu Jintao’s Power Consolidation: Groups, Institutions, and Power Balance in China’s Elite Politics. Issues and Studies, 42(4), 97–136.Google Scholar
- 33.Payette, Alex. (2016). Factional pull: measuring the “tuanpai effect” on Elite formation from 1992 to 2012. International journal of Chines studies, 7(3): 319-350.Google Scholar
- 35.Landry, Pierre F. (2003). The Political Management of Mayors in Post-Deng China. The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, 17, 31-58.Google Scholar
- 38.Li, Cheng (2003). A Landslide victory for Provincial leaders. China Leadership Monitor, 5: 69-83Google Scholar
- 39.Yang, Zhong. (2003). Local Government and Politics in China: Challenges from below. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
- 40.Central Organization Department. (2004). Dictionary of previous Central Committee members of the Chinese Communist Party 1921-2003 [中国共产党历届中央委员大辞典]. Beijing: Beijing Publishing house.Google Scholar
- 41.CPC News (2016). Chinese communist Party and Government Leaders’ Database. http://cpc.people.com.cn/gbzl/index.html. Accessed April 30 2016.
- 42.Zhao, Suisheng. (2004). The New Generation of Leadership and the Direction of Political Reform after the 16th Party Congress. In Yun-Han Chu, Chih-cheng Lo and Ramon H. Myers (eds.), The New Chinese Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities After the 16th Party Congress (pp. 33-68). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- 43.Lam, Willy W.L. (2007). The Traits and Political Orientation of Chinaʼs Fifth-generation Leadership. In Joseph Y.S. Cheng (ed.), Challenges and Policy Programmes of Chinaʼs New Leadership (pp. 35-62). Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.Google Scholar
- 44.Lien, Te-Hung. (2012). A Study on Changes in Regional Development in Mainland China [中国大陆区域发展变化之研析]. Economic Research (经济研究), 12, 369-386.Google Scholar
- 46.Payette, Alex. (2016). Quelle Composition du Politburo et du Comité Central Chinois après 2017? IRIS – Asia Focus 3, 25p.Google Scholar
- 47.Payette, Alex (2016). What went wrong? The case of the non-selected alternate members of the Central Committee from 1992 to 2007. Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia, 15(2): TBAGoogle Scholar