News / Asia

China Discusses Leadership Transition Online

A screenshot of a Weibo message commenting on Hu Jintao's pledge to double Chinese people's income by 2020, November 12, 2012. (VOA)
A screenshot of a Weibo message commenting on Hu Jintao's pledge to double Chinese people's income by 2020, November 12, 2012. (VOA)
VOA News
China's once-in-a-decade leadership reshuffle is a highly orchestrated event aimed at touting the successes of the outgoing leaders and hinting at the plans of the future ones.
 
But unlike previous leadership transitions, this year’s is being discussed as it happens by tens of millions of people online. Almost 40 percent of the Chinese population is now on the Internet, and public opinion has become more of a factor in China's decision making process.
 
A survey run by the state-run Xinhua news agency reports that so-called netizens' biggest expectation is to share the fruits of development. There is also intense interest in plans affecting people's livelihoods such as education, housing, food safety, and employment.
 
Online, some users who avoided the attention of state censors were skeptical about whether the party is measuring the right economic indicators of progress.
 
“We are always intoxicated by our cities' row upon row of high buildings, thinking that is the mark of a country's power and prominence,” a user from Guangdong province wrote on her Weibo account, “But if the livelihood problems of the common people are not resolved, superiority in any other respect is just of no use.”
 
Online and in state media, much of the commentary has focused on departing President Hu Jintao's speech and his warnings about China's future.
 
One of Hu Jintao's most discussed remarks, judging by Chinese newspapers' front pages, was his pledge to double Chinese people's per capita income by 2020, to which many online responded with some caution.
 
A user from Chongqing calls Hu's pledge a “game of numbers.” “Income will double, but commodity prices will triple, and the property prices will grow fivefold,” he wrote on his microblog account. “What is the use of income growth then?” he added.
 
To better illustrate this sentiment, a user called “A dictatorship superiority,” posted a picture comparing Chinese farmers' income in the span of 10 years. Drawn next to the 2000 figures, when farmer's yearly income was only six thousand yuan, were the four cows that a farmer could afford then. In 2010, after their yearly income had doubled to 12 thousand yuan, farmers could only afford one cow a year.
 
Chinese authorities have in recent years resorted to a tight management system for online communication, that includes keywords censorship on online searches, doctoring of content and deletion of anti-party online speech.
 
Li Chengpeng, an influential Chinese writer with over six million followers on Weibo, repeatedly posted a positive message about the meeting that read “Gladly welcome the 18th party congress!”
 
“It is unlikely that they will delete this post,” he wrote, as a way of acknowledging online censorship while making fun of it at the same time.
 
An op-ed in the Global Times, a state owned newspaper that often provides insights into the Chinese leadership's own viewpoints, acknowledged that China's public had many questions and different opinions about the country's future path, but stated that the 18th party congress had given an authoritative answer to the issue of how China should move forward.
 
“We think that many voices, including the more extreme ones have the right to continue to exist in China,” the op-ed read. “But China needs to have a consensus regarding its path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, it is not just an official jargon, it is not only a slogan, it is the long term political route that the Chinese people have arrived to at tremendous costs. It has brought huge prosperity and all kinds of hope, so we must treasure it and protect it,” the editorial read.
 
The editorial referred to a quote in Hu Jintao's report in which China's president warned against changing China's current model in favor of old or foreign ones. In his last major speech as China's president, Hu praised the outcome of the last 30 years of opening up and reform, and warned against “the old and rigid closed-door policy and any attempt to abandon socialism and take an erroneous path."
 
China's Communist party historian, Li Zhongjie interviewed on Xinhua, further explained Hu's remark.
 
“Only 30 years ago, who would have thought that so many Chinese people would be able to own their own car? That is why the implementation of the reform and opening up, and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has brought about an historical change,” Li said, “To forge this path was not easy, so it cannot be easily abandoned nor easily changed.”
 
Hu Jintao will pass his post as party secretary and China's president to Xi Jinping, whose policies for China's future are still unclear.
 
Compared to when Hu Jintao took power, analysts say Xi is likely to inherit the leadership of a nation that is far more equipped to voice its concern and a party whose legitimacy, traditionally based on the steady delivery of economic results, is less certain.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Samurai from: Japan
November 13, 2012 5:05 AM
What is required in China is not to double per capita income but to resolve income divide. For instance, no children in rural districts can even go to school because of their miserable poverty. Xi Jinping, who was born with a silver spoon in the mouth, can never understand ordinary people's poor lives. If China adopts Communism as its slogan, why not equally share national fortune with all Chinese nationals? Only Communist leaders are enjoying the good fortune.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More