In practical terms, Wang Huning is to Xi Jinping what Amit Shah is to Narendra Modi. That comparison should help situate for Indian audiences Wang Huning’s importance in the Chinese political firmament somewhat. If Shah’s job is to help Modi do the electoral math and draw up strategies to win elections, it is Wang’s job to help create the narrative that legitimizes Xi Jinping in power in an authoritarian system.
If Modi and Shah have together turned a political party otherwise identified with religious extremism and vested business interests into one that appears to espouse a new work ethic in government and a vision of modernity based on new technologies – digital India, smart cities and the like – there has been a similar makeover underway in of the Communist Party of China (CPC) under Xi and Wang for much longer. Only in the Chinese case, it has been of trying to convey the image the CPC as not only the best thing to have ever happened to China but also as an exemplar for the rest of the world.
Wang has been speechwriter and ideologue to three successive General Secretaries of the CPC Read more
This article was originally written on 23 October 2017 and published online on 29 October as Jabin T. Jacob, ‘Red Alert’ in The Week (issue dated 5 November 2017).
China is the world’s second-largest economy and one its major political powers. While it has not been tested in battle for some 40 years, it has the largest military in the world and the second-largest military budget. For nearly 70 years, the world’s most populous country has been ruled by a single political party – the Communist Party of China (CPC) – and so when it holds its once-in-five-years national congress, it is an important event that the rest of the world and especially neighbouring India would do well to watch closely and understand. Read more
Xi Jinping is officially China’s strongest leader in decades. The Communist Party of China’s Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) was unveiled at the end of the 19th National Congress of the CPC in Beijing yesterday with Xi Jinping reelected General Secretary for a second term. The 7-member PBSC includes besides Xi and his Premier Li Keqiang, at least four of Xi’s close allies in key positions. Also, in a departure from Party norms it offers no choice of potential successors to take over from Xi in 2022 when again according to norms, he is supposed to step down from power.
This composition of the PBSC in favour of Xi is the culmination of a series of steps he has taken over the past five years, foremost of which was a popular and far-reaching anti-corruption campaign that netted hundreds of senior Party and military officials including a potential rival and a former PBSC member, no less. Read more
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. Read more
(original version in English follows below Malayalam text)
ദശാബ്ദത്തിലൊരിക്കല് നടക്കുന്ന നേതൃമാറ്റം പൂര്ത്തീകരിച്ച് ചൈനീസ് കമ്യൂണിസ്റ്റ്പാര്ട്ടി (സി.പി.സി.)യുടെ 18-ാം കോണ്ഗ്രസ് ഈയിടെ ബെയ്ജിങ്ങില് സമാപിച്ചല്ലോ. ഹു ജിന്താവോയ്ക്കുകീഴില് പ്രവര്ത്തിച്ച നാലാംതലമുറ നേതൃത്വം ഷി ജിന്പിങ്ങിനുപിന്നില് അണിനിരക്കുന്ന അഞ്ചാംതലമുറയ്ക്ക് ചുമതല കൈമാറി. ചൈനയുടെ രാഷ്ട്രീയവും സാമ്പത്തികവും സൈനികവുമായ വളര്ച്ചയെ ലോകം ആരാധനയോടെയോ അങ്കലാപ്പോടെയോ നോക്കിക്കാണുമ്പോഴും രാജ്യം നേരിടുന്ന നിരവധി ആഭ്യന്തര വെല്ലുവിളികളിലാണ് സി.പി.സി.യുടെ 18-ാം കോണ്ഗ്രസ് ശ്രദ്ധയൂന്നിയത്. Read more