China's leadership change

6 November 2012

Professor Kerry Brown, Executive Director of the China Studies Centre, commented on leadership change in China to the Australian Financial Review, Bloomberg Business Week and the Weekend Australia.


During the interview with the Australian Financial Review on 5 November, Professor Brown suggested that it was almost impossible to predict whether incoming leaders would introduce political or economic reforms.


"There's no election campaign," he said. "No one knows how the leaders are chosen and they haven't had to stand on a policy platform."


In the Weekend Australian on 3 November, Professor Brown questioned the little sense of what the new leaders will actually do. "How can you have a major change of leadership and not once have any discussion of policy, not one sniff?" said Professor Brown. "This seems to me to be the fundamental trick. We are going to change all these people but have no change of policy. It's all very generic and very abstract. There is none of the grit that makes elections in the West. Where are they going to be putting resources? What will they be spending on? Will there be any change in areas that may damage others?"


"The Politburo has got to be a credible balance," he continued. "If there is a big gap, if there is not a voice for the military or the state-owned enterprise or the princelings, then we should get nervous because it will be unbalanced."


"At the moment they are trying to figure out how to carve the pie up so all these well-known networks across society and the economy have got a voice.


"The party buys off people to support it via economic links and the golden goose is really in state-owned enterprises, who are the cash machine they have become incredibly profitable since 2004." said Professor Brown.


On the Bloomberg Business Week, Professor Brown thought Hu's commentary on the judicial system and people's rights is "a sort of subliminal campaigning. A lot is still up for grabs and people want to get their say in just in case it can influence the whole process."


To read this article, please visit the Bloomberg Business Week.