Generations of Chinese leadership

Generations of Chinese leadership

Because both the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership. [The landmark study of military generations and factions is William Whitson's "The Chinese High Command," Praeger, 1973] These groups of leadership have each promoted an extension of the ideology of the former, which in some cases stirred away the direction of national development.

First generation

From 1949 to 1976, Mao Zedong as core, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi, Chen Yun, Peng Dehuai, later Lin Biao and Gang of Four (neither Lin or the Gang are considered formally to be part of this generation because of political antagonism resulting from the Cultural Revolution). These were the leaders that founded the People's Republic of China after the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. One characteristic of these leaders were that they tended to be both political and military leaders. Most had some education outside China, and their formative experiences included the Long March, the Chinese Civil War, and the Second Sino-Japanese War. The guiding political ideology from the first generations were general principles of Marxism and "Mao Zedong Thought".

econd generation

From 1976 to 1992, Deng Xiaoping as core, Chen Yun, Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang, Hua Guofeng, Ye Jianying, Song Ping. These leaders were also involved in the Chinese revolution, but with the exception of Deng Xiaoping, served in more junior roles. Unlike the first generation, many were educated overseas, particularly in France. Their young formative experiences were similar to the first generation. Most had some position of authority during the Cultural Revolution, although as a rule those that held power after the 1980s were purged during that decade. This generation turned the focus from class struggle and political movements to economic development, pioneering Chinese economic reform.Dominant political ideology of the era was Deng Xiaoping Theory.

Third generation

From 1992 to 2003, Jiang Zemin as core, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Qiao Shi, Li Ruihuan - These leaders were born before the revolution but were educated afterwards before the Sino-Soviet split. Most of them received education in the Soviet Union as engineers and entered the party initially as factory managers. Unlike their predecessors, there is a split between the political and military leadership. Their formative experiences included the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Korean War. This generation continued economic development while China saw the emergence of various serious social issues. Dominant political ideology was officially Jiang's Three Represents.

Fourth generation

From 2003, likely will last until 2013. Hu Jintao is the core figure, the prominent leaders include Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong and Wu Yi. It is also known as the "republican generation" or the Hu-Wen Administration. These were promoted to top leadership at the 16th Party Congress and are expected to remain in power until the 18th party congress in 2012. The majority of this generation of leaders were engineers whose academic lives were disrupted by the Cultural Revolution and, unlike both their predecessors and successors, have spent very little time overseas. Dominant political ideology of this era is Hu's Scientific Development Concept and a goal for a Harmonious Society. They are generally seen as more populist than the previous generation.

Fifth generation

The fifth generation will likely come to power at the 18th Party Congress in 2012. Current Vice-President Xi Jinping, a former party boss in Shanghai and Zhejiang, is widely speculated on becoming the core figure of this generation [ [ Duowei:两会:中共第五代新星登场,唯怕张扬] ] . Vice-Premier Li Keqiang will likely succeed Premier Wen Jiabao. Other prominent figures that are speculated to be top figures in the 5th generation include CPC Organization Chief Li Yuanchao, Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan, Guangdong Party Chief Wang Yang, Tianjin Party Chief Zhang Gaoli, State Councilor Liu Yandong (likely successor of Wu Yi as the number one female figure), National Reform and Development Commission Minister Ma Kai and Tibet Autonomous Region Party Chief Zhang Qingli. In the fifth generation, one sees fewer engineers and more management and finance majors, including successful entrepreneurs. Most of the fifth generation of civilian leadership were educated in elite universities in the European Union and the United StatesFact|date=April 2008. This generation will be dominated by Hu Jintao's Communist Youth League faction. [Willy Wo-Lap Lam. [ China's 5th generation comes of age] , CNN, January 1, 2003]

ixth Generation

Provided China's power transitions and government institutions remain stable in the next two decades, the sixth generation of leaders will come to power at the 20th Party Congress in 2022. Under current unspoken Chinese political conventions the leaders of this generation would be mostly born in the 1960s. China specialists believe this is the generation where significant political reform will take place after economic growth has been stabilized. Current speculation places Communist Youth League head and current Hebei Governor Hu Chunhua as a possible core figure. Of course, it is much too early to judge.


ee also

* Politics of the People's Republic of China
* Political position ranking of the People's Republic of China
* History of the People's Republic of China

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