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Whither China?


Parimal Maya Sudhakar

THE 18TH NATIONAL CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA: A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR CHINA
Edited by C.V. Ranganathan and Sanjeev Kumar
ICWA, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 341, Rs. 1295.00

VOLUME XXXVIII NUMBER 3 March 2014

The 18th National Congress of the Com- munist Party of China (CPC), which took place on 8 to 14 November 2012, drew the attention of China scholars and foreign governments for multiple reasons. During the 18th Congress, CPC’s model of peaceful leadership transition was under test as the very first generation of leaders who came to power positions through a predetermined regulated script was set to retire after handing over the torch to the new leadership. Apart from this, the growing societal discontent, regularity in eruption of violent incidents in Tibet and Xinjiang, world financial crisis and China’s growing tensions with Japan and other neighbours were some of the important issues which formed the background to the 18th National Congress.   The book edited by C.V. Ranganathan and Sanjeev Kumar is an excellent collection of insightful essays by Indian scholars and commentaries on the backdrop of the CPC’s 18th National Congress, analysis of the CPC General Secretary’s Work Report and outcome in terms of leadership change, amendments in the Party Constitution and expected directions to economic and political reforms. The first part of the book titled Prelude to the 18th National Congress of the CPC is a Summary and Assessment of Hu Jintao’s Report to the 18th National Congress of the CPC followed by 5 expert commentaries in the Annexures. The Appendices section carries the Report of Hu Jintao to the 18th National Congress of the CPC and Resolution on CPC Central Committee Report.   The first part of the book captures the insecurities experienced by China’s one-party state. These insecurities can be categorized into economic uncertainty, social instability, pressures of expectations on the Party, incidents of corruption and high ambitions by leaders, fear of reversal of civil-military relations, question of nationalities and growing reach of the social media. Many of the essays explain the subtle shift in policies during Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao’s leadership from the Jiang Zemin period. Contrary to popular division of Chinese polity into Maoist and post-Maoist phases; a trend emerges from this book that classifies Chinese politics into Mao, Deng-Jiang Zemin and Hu-Wen eras.   Hu Jintao placed the policy of inclusive growth above Deng’s policy of allowing a few people and region to get rich first. Similarly, Hu Jintao’s Scientific Outlook on Development is a deliberate attempt to move a step ahead of Jiang Zemin’s Three Represents as the former emphasizes ...


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