China: The Eclipse of the Politburo

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China: The Eclipse of the Politburo
« on: January 27, 2015, 02:36:31 PM »
China: The Eclipse of the Politburo

Evidence suggests the Politburo Standing Committee is in decline, while the central party bureaucracy gains more clout.

It is commonly believed that an incoming General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can enact whatever policies he chooses, so long as the top seven or nine leaders of the PBSC agree. If they do not agree, conventional wisdom presumes, then it is unlikely that the leaders will get much done. Such, at any rate, was the prevailing view at the start of Xi Jinping’s tenure. Analyses published at the time of Xi’s ascension confidently predicted that he would prove weak and achieve little, due to the challenge of gaining consensus among PBSC members of such varying backgrounds. Outcomes starkly at odds with such forecasts have done little to deter experts from making additional assertions following the same logic. It is not hard to find analyses today that claim Xi’s anti-corruption drive is fundamentally a power grab that is alienating fellow PBSC members and thus setting Xi up for long-term failure once his peers turn against him.

Xi may well fail in his reform agenda for a variety of reasons, but lack of consensus in the PBSC will not be the primary driver. The importance of consensus for enacting policy between the top seven leaders who comprise the PBSC is overstated. Consensus remains necessary, at least on the surface, for the most important policy initiatives such as the pursuit of structural and systemic reforms under which the current anti-corruption drive is nestled. In reality, though, PBSC members are increasingly constrained in their ability to undermine or drastically change the general direction of policy. For the overwhelming majority of the country’s policy directives, what really counts is the degree of consensus within the central party bureaucracy, or staff organizations (i.e., the key staff bodies and organizations primarily in the Central Committee, such as the General Office, Central Policy Research Office, Central Party School, Organization Department, etc.) and between the same central party staff organizations and the General Secretary. Individuals who seek to anticipate the future trajectory of PRC policy-making would be well served to master the publicly available documents produced by these bureaucracies in support of the General Secretary....

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Re: China: The Eclipse of the Politburo
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 02:37:39 PM »
I have nothing to add. I just thought it was interesting that this kind of process has come to light.

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Re: China: The Eclipse of the Politburo
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2015, 12:13:13 AM »
So, if I read this right...the decision making process in China is becoming LESS centralized.

interesting, as just the opposite has been happening back in the US.
The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
- Jung