News / Asia

China’s New Leaders Facing Pressures to Reform

China’s New Leaders Facing Pressures to Reformi
|| 0:00:00
X
November 06, 2012 1:43 AM
China begins a once-in-decade leadership transition this week when officials meet for the 18th Communist Party Congress on Thursday. The stakes are higher than previous transitions because of growing public concerns about corruption and the party’s lack of transparency. VOA’s William Ide reports from Beijing that how the new leaders will respond to the challenges remains a mystery.

China’s New Leaders Facing Pressures to Reform

William Ide
— China begins a once-in-decade leadership transition this week when officials meet Thursday for the 18th Communist Party Congress. The stakes are higher than previous transitions because of growing public concerns about corruption and the party’s lack of transparency. Just how the new leaders will respond to the challenges remains a mystery.

As China gears up for its biggest political party in 10 years, its leaders are trying to keep the public focus on the party’s accomplishments and the country’s bright future.

The congress is the closest thing the communist country has to the excitement of political campaigns in democratic nations, where policies are discussed and debated ahead of time, said David Kelly of China Policy, a research group that monitors Chinese views on the economy, reform and other topics. 

“Even though we foresee at the moment without final confirmation that there will be a fairly conservative team, they are not facing routine questions, they are facing some momentous questions,” said Kelly.

China has seen growing tensions with its neighbors in recent months, in particular Japan, about disputed islands in the East China Sea. Its massive economy - the second largest in the world - also is facing uncertainties. Kelly said that has helped strengthen the case for reform.

“Reform in China is not a mild issue, it's going to hurt some people and benefit others. And the balance of these two is going to be decided by the people who now step up into politburo's standing committee and the other important parts of the party,” he said.

How much China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping is willing to make a break with the past is unclear. Xi’s father was politically prominent and that makes him what the Chinese call a "princeling."

Many people in China tend to view princelings as elitist. Chinese economist Hu Xingdou said princelings tend to be more reform-minded, though, than other party factions, which are cautious and afraid of losing power.

“The princelings are different, since they were kids they thought that this country was theirs, because it was their parents that laid the foundation for this world. For them the ownership is clear, this country is theirs,” said Hu Xingdou.

But some princelings, such as Bo Xilai, have taken that sense of entitlement to an extreme, and because of his case and countless others, there is growing public discontent in China about wealth inequality and corruption.

Bo was once a rising political star in China, who now faces a wide range of accusations from corruption and other wrongdoing. On Sunday, he was formally expelled from the Communist Party and is expected to soon face criminal charges.

Although most analysts say they do not expect to see any dramatic reforms from China’s new leaders right away, they do hope for more transparency.

One significant change would be for officials from the top to the bottom to make their finances public, said lawyer Wang Cailiang.

“The moment they open up the finances of public servants to public scrutiny and once they install a system like that, then it will be a very significant change for the Chinese public," said Wang. "There are many who hope for multiparty political system, but I don’t think that is key. The key here is that if you are a civil servant then you have to submit to public scrutiny. If you don't, you will have to step out of office.”

Analysts say that although there are many ways officials could make sure such changes never happen, popular sentiment for clean governance is growing.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid