Chinese Communist Party Begins Elaborate Transfer of Power

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Nov. 8 2012 5:17 PM

Chinese Communist Party Begins Elaborate Transfer of Power

You know a leadership transition might be tricky when your president warns that political corruption could cause the collapse of the state. Nonetheless, China’s ruling Communist Party will orchestrate an elaborate transfer of power from President Hu Jintao and other senior leaders to Vice-President Xi Jinping and a host of rising officials as its national congress launches this week.

As more than 2,200 delegates assemble in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, the party prepares to deal with sagging economic growth—China has had its lowest quarterly growth rate since 2009—as well as growing calls for political reform. Party newspaper Global Times recently published a survey that indicated 8 out of 10 Chinese want political reform.

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So as the gears slowly turn in the Communist Party, it’s possible Xi Jinping, who assumes power after 10 years under Hu Jintao, will shuffle the government toward addressing reform. Though as Professor Patrick Chovanec quipped to Al Jazeera, when the Communist Party thinks of reform, “They mean perhaps having two party members running for an office, instead of one.”

Chris Wade is a producer for Slate Video and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.