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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
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 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 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 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.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs