Victor Shih
Victor Shih

The promotion of Xi Jinping to the “core” leader of the communist party was only the start of a year of promotions in the party to get a new generation of leaders in place, tells political analyst Victor Shih in the New York Times. Shih does not expect only Xi´s friends are going to make the grade.

The New York Times:

In the days after his elevation to “core” status, Mr. Xi has moved quickly to keep positioning his allies for promotion into the party’s top ranks next year, when nearly half the 25 members of the decision-making Politburo are to retire.

On Monday, Cai Qi, an official who served under Mr. Xi in the eastern province of Zhejiang, was appointed acting mayor of Beijing. Mr. Cai, who most recently served as a senior official on the National Security Commission founded by Mr. Xi, appears likely to become the city’s party chief — a more powerful post than mayor — after the current one retires in the next year.

Speaking after his appointment, Mr. Cai heaped praise on the Chinese president, telling officials in the capital that “establishing the core status” of Mr. Xi was the most important achievement of the party meeting last week. He added that China’s achievements since 2012 were the work of Mr. Xi, a “brilliant leader,” according to the official newspaper Beijing Daily.

Similar promotions are likely to come in the year ahead, said Victor Shih, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, who closely follows Chinese Communist Party personnel changes.

“Xi has repeatedly gone out of his way to place individuals with whom he had past ties in important positions, sometimes against party norms or convention,” he said. “Xi clearly wants his trusted followers in the key positions in the party, the military and in the internal security apparatus.”

That does not mean that all posts will be stacked with Mr. Xi’s longtime friends. The decision that elevated him to “core” also emphasized “democratic centralism” — giving all senior officials a say — and said they should come from the “five lakes and four seas,” meaning from varied backgrounds.

More in the New York Times.

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