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The Inquiry of CCP Political Succession and Elite Recruitment—A Case Study on the Seventeenth Central Committee Politburo
17th CCP National Congress
In the past, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping both had the advantage in their revolutionary experience and personal traits, which brought them an invincible political prestige. They both designated their successors directly, which resulted in a fierce political succession that not only caused a strong man-based rule, but also lead to a serious depletion of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) political elite. In order to have a smooth succession process, succession of power and elite complements were given impetus by Deng Xiaoping’s “intention,” and which began with some “norms.” With the changing of time and senior politicians dying, the political strongmen are gradually withdrawing from Chinese politics. For objective consideration of environmental factors, the probability of generating a future political strongman has also been significantly reduced. Therefore, we note that the successor Hu Jintao and the previous generation of Jiang Zemin were selected by political strongman Deng Xiaoping. Hence, how to develop future Chinese leaders will be a problem that is important to study. In October of 2007, the CCP convened the Seventeenth Session of the National Congress. In addition to addressing policy and formulating future direction, personnel arrangements was another focus of this convention. By rule, Hu Jintao will leave his duties to the top party leaders at the Eighteenth Session and will arrange for the next generation of leadership to have their core power in advance. This may strengthen the importance of the Seventeenth Session, and this thesis has based its study upon this premise. However, exploring the elite recruitment norms from the Seventeenth’s personnel arrangements alone would allow us to have a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of the elite complement, and it may be prone to overgeneralization. Therefore, this article conducts a historical review by investigating Communist China’s accumulated development of the political elite recruitment rules or system since the Fourteenth Congress. Additionally, this article also focuses on analyzing what practical implications of personnel arrangements in the Seventeenth Congress are, and what conditions need to be had or what norms were limited to allow for the CCP’s core power.
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