Xi Jinping has, as expected, taken over as the new General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at its 18th National Congress. The new Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) also includes Li Keqiang (like Xi, a member of the previous PBSC), Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli.
Representing the fifth-generation of China’s communist leaders after Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, Xi and his team have some onerous tasks to gear up to. While the rest of the world, including India, can often focus only on China’s increasing global economic imprint and its rapid military modernization, for China’s leaders themselves the most important concerns have always been domestic ones. And of these, none are as important as the ones about maintaining social stability and the necessity of political reform.
The new PBSC is widely perceived by Western and Chinese observers as being short of genuine political reformers. Further, quite a few on the new PBSC – including Xi himself – have depended on their identity as members of elite communist families to rise to their current posts. In this sense, there is much similarity with the Indian political scene. The cabinet reshuffle by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month for example, had several young representatives of India’s own elite political families climbing into more senior positions. Continue reading New Leadership in China: Quo Vadis Political Reform?
The dust has not yet settled on the dismissal of Bo Xilai as Party Secretary of Chongqing, one of China’s four major city-level provinces (the equivalent of states in India). Bo’s fall was especially significant given he was a leading contender for membership of the all-powerful the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at its upcoming leadership transition in October.
What does this event say about the Chinese political system? And what reflections might we derive about the Indian political system? Continue reading The fall of Bo Xilai and some reflections on Indian politics
Originally published: Jabin T. Jacob, “We are not that different, you and I,” DNA, 27 December 2011, p. 12.
With the exception of the 1962 conflict almost everything else about China is seen and understood in India through Western eyes. But, isn’t China, like India, a country of over a billion people? Why then suppose that anybody could understand the Chinese and their problems better than we Indians could? Who but Indians can really grasp the incredible complexities and myriad problems of a billion people living under one flag?
As Shakespeare’s Shylock might have continued asking, does China not have corruption and police brutality, unemployment and inflation, farmers committing suicide and migrant workers shivering in the cold? Does China not have a weak government and coalition politics, ethnic conflict and environmental protests?
“It does?”, you ask. Yes, it does. Continue reading China in 2011: Through the Indian Looking Glass