The 16th Party Congress in China: A Note on Personnel Changes

  • Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard Copenhagen Business School


At the recent 16th Party Congress a comprehensive change of the Chinese leadership was carried through. Even though there was much speculation as to whether Jiang Zemin and his generation would retire as scheduled, the change of the old guard took place without much drama when the congress finally convened in Beijing. How do we evaluate this development? Does it mean that Chinese politics have matured in the sense that major decisions now conform to fixed rules and regulations rather than factional politics? Has the Chinese political process become more transparent? Have consensual decision- making processeses finally taken over, relegating patrimonial policies to a phenomenon of the past? Since the mid-1990s, clear and detailed regulations for the selection and appointment of leading cadres have been promulgated. Is the 16th Party Congress the final step in this process of procedural normativization? Before attempting to answer these questions, this paper will first deal with the personnel changes that took place at the 16th Party Congress and the Central Committee (CC) meeting shortly after the conclusion of the conference.

Author Biography

Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Copenhagen Business School
Professor, Director of Asia Research Centre Copenhagen Business School Porcelænshaven 24 DK-2000 Frederiksberg