China’s New Leadership: A One-Year Assessment

At the 16th Party Congress, convened in November 2002, then 59-yearold Hu Jintao was named general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, succeeding 77-year-old Jiang Zemin. The Congress was widely touted as the first time power in the CCP changed hands peacefully, according to procedure, and a new political leader came to power not because of the death or purge of his predecessor. The leadership succession was completed when the National People’s Congress (NPC), the government’s legislative arm, named a new premier in March 2003. It appointed Wen Jiabao to succeed Zhu Rongji, who was retiring. Political maturity and institutionalization were the words of the day.

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