As the summer winds down, mid-term election mode is powering up. (Strolling on the Mall on Saturday amid throngs of Tea Partyers and legions of Beckian and Palinite supporters, I certainly felt something needs to be restored...and it wasn't America's honor.) No, I'm not talking about the one here in the USA. I know you haven't noticed, but there is something of an "election campaign" taking place in the PRC.
about two years, a new Chinese president will emerge to take the helm
of the world's second-largest economy--just as President Obama and
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou are up for reelection. Yes, the process
in determining the Chinese president is secretive and opaque, and some
have likened it to selecting a new Pope, except without the white smoke
at the end. But in fact, the presidential heir apparent is crystallizing
two years in advance of the formal passing of the baton in 2012. It's
usually important in the Chinese system to send political signals
internally over who the next designated leader will be so that the
political apparatus will rally around the decision. One such signal (an
important one) may be telegraphed via a Communist Party meeting later
this year to give further credibility to the presumptive nominee to the
presidency: His name is Xi Jinping.
The South China Morning Post writes: "Vice-President Xi Jinping looks set to be promoted to a military position in the upcoming Communist Party plenum, in a significant step towards finalising the succession process for him to take over the nation's top leadership post."