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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs