The 16th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party: Institutionalization of Succession Politics
The 16th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), convened in Beijing on November 8–14, 2002, marked the first ever smooth and peaceful transition of power since the Party was founded more than 80 years ago. Neither Mao Zedong nor Deng Xiaoping, despite their impeccable revolutionary credentials, successfully transferred power to their chosen successors. The originally appointed successors, Lin Biao, Liu Shaoqi, Hu Yaobang, and Zhao Zhiyang, all fell by the wayside. The fact that Jiang Zemin, a technocrat whom detractors dismissed as no more than a mere seat-warmer in 1989, has presided over such an unprecedented transition is all the more significant, as Hu Jintao was not even Jiang’s preferred successor.
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