…Meanwhile, in the land of the unfree, China prepares to “unveil” new leader to the world

Two days after the US elections, we see the other side of the coin in the Chinese Communist party congress, where they will "announce" their new leadership.

 

The US isn’t the only nation where the topic of who leads the country is top of people’s minds. The Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is in the final stages of preparation; on Thursday they officially their unveil new leadership to China and to the world.

The change of leadership has been pre-ordained by a nine-man committee. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao are expected to be succeeded by Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang respectively.

The once-in-a-decade congress and the change in leadership coincides with tentative moves by the Chinese Communist Party to suggest more open and accountable government.

A poll, published in a state-run and party affiliated paper, details the majority of Chinese citizens who want political reform and a more accountable government.

The nature of Chinese political leadership abhors changes and is inherently secretive and rigid. Xi Jinping has been in poll position for this post since 2007.

Interest in the affairs of leadership is now more intense than ever, with China representing the second largest economy in the world and a fifth of the world population.

This year has not been the smoothest for the party, with speculation as to Xi Jinping’s whereabouts getting massive overseas coverage and the subsequent bungled mishandling by Beijing.

The murder of British businessman Neil Heywood by the wife of Chongqing party chairman Bo Xilai proved a massive blow for the party. And even if it hadn’t happened, there were serious concerns about the populist nature of the chairman, something the party has vehemently tried to avoid. All in all, a pretty turbulent year for the party that choreographs their congresses down to a tee.

The actions of the new leadership will be of paramount importance, both for China and the rest of the world.

The Chinese economy is juddering along, social inequality is growing and the huge advances in internet use and the fomenting of public opinion are yet to dealt with.

The new party leadership will have many obstacles to face during their time at the top and will be the focus of much international concern and courtship.

We will know by the end of the week-long congress the full line up of the party leadership, a process taking place in the starkest of contrasts to the neon-lit US elections. They will be previously unrecognisable politicians brought in from the shadows, groomed and thrust onto the world stage by the party. TV debates? Ads? Voting? Not a bit of it…

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