1 October 2012


Michael Dillon


  • The leadership transition from what has come to be called the 'fourth generation' of Chinese leaders to that of the fifth has become one of the most carefully watched issues in recent Chinese studies. 
  • Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will succeed Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao as President/General Secretary and Premier respectively. Hu Jintao is expected to retain control of the Central Military Commission for some time after the transition. The identity of the new members to be selected for the powerful Politburo Standing Committee and the size of the committee are less certain.
  • There will be no immediate alteration of Beijing's policies or attitudes as a result of the changes. The emphasis will remain on economic growth and the robust defence of China’s interests internationally.
  • In the longer term, some concessions to democracy within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and, more widely, in society are possible. 
This paper forms part of the ECRAN project's publication series. ECRAN is a three-year project funded by the European Union to provide advice on China to European policy makers. More about ECRAN.