The cloudy skies this weekend do not reflect the mood within the high security walls at Beidaihe, in China’s North Eastern Hubei Province, where the nations high profile politibureau members have gathered with a clear idea of the people who will fill their positions next year.
Lineage intact, China is on the cusp of announcing their next generation of leaders – stalwarts who if everything goes as planned – will drive the Middle Kindgom to become the largest, strongest super power in the world. These members of the Politburo Standing Committee — the body that effectively runs China will be announced after considerable deliberation by leaders past and present, but primarily those with high influence.
The sea-side resort might look as an ideal tourist designation, perfect for frolicking in the sun, sand and sea, yet the politibureau is there to nominate those who will carry on the mandate of heaven. Here will be decided the lucky seven that will govern China over the next decade starting this October, at the 18th Party Congress.
Luminaries include Xi Jinping, the current vice-president, who since the 17th party congress in 2007, has been expected to succeed President Hu, and Li Keqiang, a vice-premier, would replace Wen Jiabao as premier.
The four leading candidates for the other five seats are thought to be Li Yuanchao, head of the powerful organisation department which oversees personnel moves, Wang Qishan, a vice-premier recognised for his economic expertise, Zhang Dejiang, a vice-premier who replaced Mr Bo as party secretary of Chongqing, and Yu Zhengsheng, the Shanghai party secretary.
For the seventh seat, the leadership is believed to be considering Wang Yang, party secretary of Guangdong province, Zhang Gaoli, his counterpart in the Northern city of Tianjin, and Liu Yunshan, head of the party’s propaganda department.
China’s leaders have long declined the electoral process, elected by members within their own cadre, and criticised by the West for a lack of democracy, China is also in the midst of charting a more people friendly process of governance. As social unrest and economic inequalities rise, China’s readers realise that giving their people more power is the only way for them to survive. While analysts don’t expect China to move to a democratically elected governing system anytime soon, they do expect China to give her people more freedom than that which was exercised earlier.
Beidaihe has a history of serving as a quiet retreat for the CPC’s top leaders. Frequented by Mao Zedong — an avid swimmer — the resort was subsequently declared the site of annual meetings by the former leader, Deng Xiaoping.