Leadership Transition, Intra-Party Democracy, and Institution Building in China

  • Gang Lin


The world’s most populous nation has a new leader, Hu Jintao. His election in November 2002 as Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary and in March 2003 as Chinese president was the first smooth power transfer in the history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that was not prompted by natural death or political crisis. However, the reelection of former Party and state leader Jiang Zemin as Party Central Military Commission (CMC) chairman, and his continued influence in Chinese politics, has fomented outsiders’ speculation as to who is actually at the core, if any, of China’s new leadership. Many speculate that Jiang still utters a strong voice on critical policy issues through informal channels, following the codes of conduct established by China’s former leader Deng Xiaoping, who gradually transferred power to younger leaders over several years. It is safe to say that leadership transition in China is far from sharply defined—or complete—in the absence of free and competitive elections.


Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Leadership Transition Party Leader Term Limit 
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© Weixing Chen and Yang Zhong 2005

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  • Gang Lin

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