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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid