Thoughts from the Chairman: Looking Beyond the Horse Race: Can China's New Leaders Reform?

Freeman Report | Issue 3 | October 2012


Looking Beyond the Horse Race: Can China's New Leaders Reform?
By Christopher Johnson

After much anticipation, and one of the more difficult years in its recent history, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in a few weeks’ time finally will unveil the new leadership team that will guide the world’s most dynamic nation over the course of the next decade. The fact that China watchers, as well as influential political insiders, still cannot say with certainty which leaders—or even how many—will comprise the new lineup is a testament to how opaque and anachronistic the selection process is for the rulers of a rapidly modernizing nation playing an increasingly important role in the global marketplace. In that sense, no matter who walks out onto the rostrum at the Great Hall of the People when the next Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) is introduced to the world, attention will quickly shift from the identity of the new leaders to whether they can successfully manage the many challenges facing the regime. 


Watch Bonnie Glaser’s interview with the Wall Street Journal on North Korea’s missile capabilities and the threat of a missile attack on the U.S., held on October 9, 2012.

Watch Chris Johnson’s October 8, 2012 interview with 60 Minutes, in which he discusses the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Huawei.

Bonnie S. Glaser