18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
|18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China|
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China began on November 8, 2012 in Beijing, China, at the Great Hall of the People. Due to term and age limits restrictions, seven of the nine members of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) retired during the Congress, including Hu Jintao, who was replaced by Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. The Congress elected the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and saw the number of Politburo Standing Committee seats reduced from nine to seven.
The seven PSC members elected during the Congress were Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. Five of these were identified as associates or having benefited from the patronage of former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, who reportedly exerted considerable influence in shaping the composition of the new Standing Committee. Only Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan are considered to be members of the tuanpai.
The 18th National Congress will have 2270 delegates selected from 40 constituencies. This represents an increase of 57 delegates and two constituencies from the 17th Congress. 31 of these constituencies represent China's province-level Provinces, Autonomous Regions, and Municipalities. Six other delegations represent: Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army, The Central Party Organization, The Central Government Ministries and Commissions, Central State Owned Enterprises, and Central Banks and Financial Institutions. The remaining three delegations are the subject of conflicting accounts. Hong Kong and Macau may represent two delegations or one delegation or they may be treated as part of the Guangdong delegation. Other delegations that have been identified by various sources include the Peoples Armed Police, units involved in “social management”, the public service sector, workers in private enterprises, and workers in foreign and joint enterprises. No more than 68% of the delegates may hold leadership positions within the party. The remaining 32% will be "grassroots" party members who hold jobs outside of the party apparatus. The number of female delegates will be required to increase. Each delegation will be selected (by the province level congresses) in an election in which there are at least 15% more candidates than there are delegates to be selected. The candidates in these elections are heavily vetted by multiple party organs. In addition to these 2270 delegates, an uncertain number of additional delegates, primarily retired veteran Communist leaders, will be selected. At the 17th National Congress there were 57 such delegates.
Selection of the Standing Committee
It was widely speculated that Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang would succeed Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao as top Politburo Standing Committee members by November 2012, and take over the Presidency and Premiership in March 2013 at the National People's Congress. Since 2002, all Standing Committee members had retired if they were 68 or older at the time of a party congress. As a result of this largely unspoken convention, it was expected that all other members of the outgoing standing committee would have to retire at the 18th Congress. About 70% of the members of the Central Military Commission and the executive committee of the State Council would also turn over in 2012; in addition, every member of the 17th Central Committee born before 1945 relinquished their Central Committee membership at the Congress. The Congress marked the most significant leadership transition in decades.
Chinese politics prior to the 18th National Congress trended towards "collective leadership", where the paramount leader had to share power with his circle of senior leaders in the Politburo Standing Committee, particularly the Premier. Thus ultimately the paramount leader was not expected to have the same amount of power accorded to it during the era of Mao and Deng. The practice of governing through consensus within the Politburo Standing Committee became the norm following the 16th Party Congress in 2002. During that Congress, the size of the Standing Committee was increased from seven members to nine, with Luo Gan and Li Changchun being added to handle the law enforcement and propaganda portfolios, respectively. However, these two factors led to inefficiencies in the decision-making process. In order to improve the efficacy of the Standing Committee, the 18th Party Congress was expected to end in a return to a smaller, seven-member committee. The propaganda and public security portfolios were expected to be downgraded to the level of the Politburo.
Apart from the largely pre-ordained selection of Xi and Li for its top two positions, intense speculation mounted over who else might join the standing committee. Two unexpected events upset the carefully balanced political equilibrium in the lead up to the Congress. The Wang Lijun incident in early 2012 no longer made former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai a viable candidate for the PSC, and "Ferrari crash" of the son of Ling Jihua, a top aide of Hu Jintao, was said to have reduced Hu's bargaining power in the leadership selection process. Initial speculation placed Yu Zhengsheng, Zhang Dejiang, Li Yuanchao, Wang Qishan, and Wang Yang on the new standing committee. However, Li and Wang, largely seen as belonging to the 'liberal' wing of the party, were ultimately not selected. Instead, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli joined the standing committee. Liu, a former propaganda department head, took over as both the head of the party's Central Secretariat and the top official in charge of propaganda, and was seen as the most strongly conservative member in the new PSC. Zhang, a bookish party bureaucrat known for presiding over economic growth in numerous regions, was ostensibly selected for his technocratic competence. It should be noted that apart from Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, all the other members of the new standing committee were born in the late 1940s and therefore would need to retire at the 19th Party Congress if the informally mandated retirement rules still holds in 2017. Li Yuanchao (born 1950) and Wang Yang (born 1955) ostensibly could still join the 19th standing committee at that time.
The new standing committee was noted for the diverse regional experience of its members. Apart from Liu Yunshan, every member of the new PSC had some experience serving in provincial-level positions prior to ascending to the apex of political power; all of them at at one point been a provincial party chief. Xi served in Fujian, Zhejiang and Shanghai, Li Keqiang served in Henan and Liaoning, Zhang Dejiang served in Jilin, Zhejiang, Guangdong, and Chongqing, Yu Zhengsheng served in Hubei and Shanghai, Wang Qishan served in Guangdong, Hainan, and Beijing, and Zhang Gaoli served in Guangdong, Shandong and Tianjin.
The leadership lineup
Politburo Standing Committee
- 3. Zhang Dejiang (3rd-ranked Vice Premier and Party Chief of Chongqing)
- 4. Yu Zhengsheng (Party chief of Shanghai)
- 5. Liu Yunshan (Head of the CPC Propaganda Department and elected as Top-ranked Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CPC)
- 6. Wang Qishan (4th-ranked Vice Premier and elected as Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection)
- 7. Zhang Gaoli (Party chief of Tianjin)
In stroke order of surnames
- Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the People's Republic of China, 1st-ranked member of Politburo Standing Committee,
- Ma Kai, Vice Premier
- Wang Qishan, 6th-ranked member of Politburo Standing Committee, Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
- Wang Huning, Director of the Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee
- Liu Yunshan, 5th-ranked member of Politburo Standing Committee, Top-ranked Secretary of the CPC Central Secretariat, Chairman of the Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization, President of the Central Party School
- Liu Yandong, Vice Premier
- Liu Qibao, Secretary of the CPC Central Secretariat, Head of the CPC Propaganda Department
- Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission
- Sun Chunlan, head of the CPC United Front Work Department, former party chief of Tianjin
- Sun Zhengcai, Party chief of Chongqing
- Li Keqiang, 2nd-ranked member of Politburo Standing Committee, Premier of the People's Republic of China
- Li Jianguo, Vice-Chairman and Secretary-General oft the National People's Congress
- Li Yuanchao, Vice President of the People's Republic of China
- Wang Yang, Vice Premier
- Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of Xinjiang
- Zhang Gaoli, 7th-ranked member of Politburo Standing Committee, First-ranked Vice Premier
- Zhang Dejiang, 3rd-ranked member of Politburo Standing Committee, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
- Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission
- Meng Jianzhu, Head of the Central Politics and Law Commission of the Communist Party of China
- Zhao Leji, Secretary of the CPC Central Secretariat, Head of the CPC Organization Department
- Hu Chunhua, Party chief of Guangdong
- Yu Zhengsheng, 4th-ranked member of Politburo Standing Committee and Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
- Li Zhanshu, Secretary of CPC Central Secretariat, Chief of the General Office of the Communist Party of China
- Guo Jinlong, Party chief of Beijing
- Han Zheng, Party chief of Shanghai
Leaving the Politburo
- Bo Xilai expelled from the politburo before the 18th National Congress due to the Wang Lijun incident and other violations.
- Wang Gang, Vice Chairman of CPPCC National Committee
- Wang Lequan, Deputy secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee
- Wang Zhaoguo, Vice Chairman of National People's Congress, Chair of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions
- Hui Liangyu, 2nd ranked Vice Premier
- Liu Qi, Party chief of Beijing, head of Beijing Olympics organizing committee
- Li Changchun, Chairman of the Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization
- Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
- Zhou Yongkang, Secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee
- Hu Jintao, CPC General Secretary, PRC President, Chairman of the Central Military Commission
- He Guoqiang, Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
- Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
- Xu Caihou, Vice-Chairman of Central Military Commission
- Guo Boxiong, Vice-Chairman of Central Military Commission
- Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council
Central Military Commission positions
- Chairman - Xi Jinping (also General Secretary of the CPC and Vice-president of the PRC)
- Vice Chairman - General Fan Changlong, former commander of the Jinan Military Region
- Vice Chairman - Air Force General Xu Qiliang, former commander of the PLA Air Force
- General Chang Wanquan, Minister of National Defense, former Director of the General Armament Department
- General Zhang Youxia, Director of the General Armament Department
- General Fang Fenghui, Director of the General Staff Department
- General Zhang Yang, Director of the General Political Department
- General Zhao Keshi, Director of the General Logistics Department
- Air Force General Ma Xiaotian, Commander of the PLA Air Force, former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the PLA
- General Wei Fenghe, Commander of the Second Artillery Corps
- Admiral Wu Shengli, Commander of the PLA Navy
- State council positions will be confirmed at the 12th National People's Congress in March 2013 during the 1st Plenary Session.
- "Hu Jintao opens China party congress as leadership change begins". BBC News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- China seals Bo's fate ahead of November 8 leadership congress. Reuters (28 September 2012). Retrieved on 24 October 2012.
- CPC to convene 12th National Congress on Nov. 8 – Xinhua | English.news.cn. News.xinhuanet.com (28 September 2012). Retrieved on 24 October 2012.
- "Meet the New Politburo Standing Committee". Americanprogress.org.
- Cheng Li. Preparing For the 18th Party Congress: Procedures and Mechanisms. hoover.org
- Alice Miller. The Road to the 18th Party Congress. hoover.org
- "Xi Jinping's rise and political implications.". China: An International Journal 7(1). March 2009., full text on thefreelibrary.com
- Willy Lam, Finalizing the 18th Party Congress: Setting the Stage for Reform?, China Brief, Volume 12 Issue 18 (21 September 2012).
- McDermott, Roger. "The Jamestown Foundation: Professionalism and Factionalism in the PLA Leadership Selection". Jamestown.org. Retrieved 2013-04-13.