Modern History of China

By Nicholas Miller


Modern China began with the founding of Republic of China after collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Qing Dynasty entered its decline starting in the 19th century, which was categorized with intense social upheaval with the Taiping Rebellion of the 1850s the Boxer Rebellion of the 1890s being some of the most notable incidents. In addition to public unrest the Qing Empire had the Opium Wars of the 1840s and 1850s with the Western Powers that left the state with extensive debt and sections of China were put under the control of foreign powers.[1]

The Republic of China was established in 1912 after the Qing Empire was overthrown during the Xinhai Revolution. After the collapse of the Qing Empire Sun Yat-Sen was elected Provisional President of Republican China but lacked the ability to assert control over the country and establish centralized rule. Sun Yat-Sen abdicated his control over to Yuan Shikai in 1913.[2] Yuan Shikai in attempt to revive China’s imperial past declared himself the “Great Emperor of China” in 1915. Yuan Shikai but was unable to maintain popular support and abdicated his rule in 1916. During this tumultuous period it was common for provincial governors to declared their independence from the Republic of China and become warlord states.

Sun Yat-Sen returned from exile in 1917 in effort to establish a centralized authority to China and sought to re-establish the Kuomintang (KMT) control over all of China. However, Sun Yat-Sen did not have the resources to achieve this goal. After Sun died in 1925, Chiang Kai-Shek became the new leader of the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang ultimate goal was for China to become a constitutional democracy. To achieve this Chiang had to first conquer the Northern provinces, which were under various warlord control and check the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1928 the Nationalist forces overthrew the Beiyang Government and pushing the Communist forces into the outer regions. The Kuomintang established Nanking as their capitol in 1927. However, while Chiang had succeeded in unifying the country, albeit nominally, his actions against the Communist forces lead to the Chinese Civil War.[3]

The Kuomintang government struggled with maintaining power after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. During the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and Chiang Kai-Shek saw the Communists as a greater threat to China and would not allow a truce to fight the Japanese. It was only after the capture of Kuomintang General Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng did Chiang sign a truce with the Communist faction to focus on fighting the Japanese.  However, throughout the Second-Sino Japanese War both sides continued to strike against each other while attacking the Japanese.[4]

After World War II concluded the Chinese civil war continued to rage and the Kuomintang forces were losing popularity because of widespread corruption problems within the government and was generally being seen by the people as too close to foreign powers for support. The Kuomintang government was also unable to curb the high rate of poverty within China. However these problems were partially beyond the control of the Kuomintang as there was a lack of foreign investment capitol, China had a huge population for the government to take care of, and lastly the economic depression of the 1930s hindered most nations. It was no surprise that the average Chinese person did not improve during the reign of the Kuomintang but it was partially because of these economic inequalities and instabilities that eventually lead to the Communist victory in 1949.[5]

The Kuomintang government was able to survive throughout World War II because of the assistance it received from Western powers in fighting the Japanese. When the war ended Chiang Kai-shek was successful in ending the past treaties China had signed with the Japanese after the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 that seceded Chinese territory to Japanese control. In addition Chiang was successful in gaining greater recognition for China as an equal player in the international community by getting China a seat in the UN Security Council for being a major ally against the Axis powers.

While the Communist forces were based in Northern China after being routed by the Kuomintang forces in 1927 they lacked strong popular support. In order to gain wider support for their policies the Communist worked to establish centralized institution throughout the areas they controlled and opening membership to people across all social strata. During the tough economic times of the 1930s the Communists worked to gain greater support by using the stark economic inequality that was facing the Kuomintang government as an effective recruiting tool. The Communist forces ensured goods were fairly distributed, carried out programs to lessen rent payments, and free farmers from unfair credit arrangements.[6]

It is important to note that the Communist forces were no better able to fight the invading Japanese forces through conventional means, as were the Kuomintang forces. The Communists focused on guerrilla tactics and working to help organize and train militias in order to liberate Northern China.

It was the social programs that were instituted and the guerrilla training that helped gain greater popular support for the Communists after World War II concluded. The Kuomintang forces were unable to maintain power despite having the support of Western powers. After losing three crucial battles namely Liaoshen, Huaihai and Pingjin campaigns, in 1949 Chiang Kai-Shek and the remnants of the Kuomintang fled to the island of Taiwan and on October 1st Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Mao’s reign as Chairman of the CCP was a complex and controversial one. With the Communist Party in power Mao instituted widespread reform across the country. One of the first major reforms instituted was land reform (1950-52). The Communist Party believed that through the redistribution of the land to the peasants this was a necessary step in improving the rising inequality within China. This was seen as the first step in the attempt to abolish private property and the vestiges of capitalism throughout China.[7] Land reform had already been carried out in one fifth of villages within China by the time the CCP came into power in 1949. The next step was implementing it on widespread basis, as one of the assurances that the CCP gave when coming into power was to end, what they saw as, feudalistic practices that were hindering the country.[8]

Under the reform peasants were categorized under six classes: landlords, rich peasants, upper-middle peasants, middle peasants, lower peasants, and poor peasants. Those who were put under the category of landlords and rich were demonized while those within the lower strata were considered more virtuous.[9] Those were within the upper classes could show their loyalty to the Party through five years of labour and their negative class status would be removed.[10]

The Agrarian law of 1950 preserved the economic status of the middle and rich peasants but achieved its goal of working to end the control of the landed-gentry classes. One of the results that came about from the land reform was a transformation within the peasant classes as the villagers within each village were given participated in and were given a voice in judging and determining the fates of their fellow villagers. Once the reform was completed the government issued title deeds to the new landowners and gave them the initial ability to rent, buy, or sell their lands. The Communist Party saw this as a transitional phase towards the eventual collectivization of farms.[11]

In late 1956 Mao wanted to open the discussion of how the country was moving with the intellectuals hoping a dialogue would help bring the country faster towards development of a socialist nation. Mao gave the famous speech, On the Correct Handling of the Contradictions Among the People[12]stating that criticism of the government would be necessary in making the country better.

At first there was not a strong response in the voicing of criticism against the Party but when Mao announced in 1957 that it was necessary to have healthy criticism intellectuals began to petition their grievances against the Party extensively. Mao ended the campaign in June 1957, as Mao was concerned it could lead to the ousting of the Party and did not want revolutions, such as the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, from occurring within China.[13] This level of opening to the public was the first time the CCP opened itself to criticism from the general public.

The Anti-Rightist Movement in 1957 originated as a reaction to the criticism from intellectuals during the Hundred Flowers Campaign but it soon turned into a campaign against the intelligentsia. Those who were seen as strayed to far from the party ideology through their criticism of the Party or seen as not “enthusiastic” enough of the Party were targeted and attacked.[14]

The Great Leap Forward was Mao’s attempt to use the Soviet economic model and move China’s economy through the collective farming and having farmers produce iron and steel for the state. The collective farming that was implemented during the Great Leap Forward lead to one of the largest famines in human history as it was encouraged within the Party to continually report a high level amount of grain production or risk being purged from the Party.[15]

The failure of the Great Leap Forward greatly diminished Mao’s power within the CCP. He lost his position of State Chairman to Liu Shaoqi. In addition the failure of the Great Leap Forward China was experiencing a disintegrating of ties with the Soviet Union, which became known as the Sino-Soviet split. In 1953 Nikita Khrushchev succeeded Joseph Stalin and began a period of de-Stalinization. Mao saw these actions as betraying the spirit of Marxist-Leninism. The relations reached a low point when the Soviet Union refused to support the PRC case for joining the United Nations and withheld on supplying the PRC with the materials needed for the production of nuclear weapons.[16]

In order for Mao to regain his prestige and control over the direction of the Party he started with the purging of his opponents’ accusing them of revisionists to Marxist-Leninism. The first people purged in the Cultural Revolution were the Mayor of Beijing Peng Zhen, the Chief of Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Liu Ruiqing, Director of Propaganda Lu Dingyi, and the Director Central Committee’s General Office Yang Shangkun.[17]

Mao used the Cultural Revolution to mobilize the youth support, which became the Red Guard, to promote Mao’s vision of a socialist revolution throughout China. The Red Guard focused on denouncing what they saw all things “bourgeoisie” and to the old ideas that were seen as holding China back from further advancement (Confucianism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc). In addition to the purging of government officials children and university students were sent to work in the fields to gain a better appreciation of the life of the peasants. The youth that were sent to the fields became known as a ‘lost generation” because they lost the ability to further their education while living in the fields. This policy was known as Down to the Countryside Movement.[18]

During the Cultural Revolution one of the most notable purges of Lin Biao, who was Mao’s chosen successor and one of Mao’s greatest generals serving as his Defense Minister since the 1950s. Mao believed Lin’s son, Lin Liuguo, was involved in planning to overthrow Mao.[19] Lin Biao and his family were in route to escape to the Soviet Union when their plane crashed in September 13, 1971. So far there has been no evidence to support that Lin Biao was involved in any coup attempt against Mao.[20]

One of the prominent political factions that rose during the Cultural Revolution was the Gang of Four: Jiang Qing, Mao’s last wife, Zhang Chungqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen. They controlled most of the political organizations of the CCP throughout the latter half of the Cultural Revolution and were responsible for most of the higher level purging of officials. Some of the more notable purges that the Gang of Four perpetrated were Lin Biao and Deng Xiaoping. When Mao died on September 9th 1976, the Gang of Four attempted to seize power despite Mao anointing Hua Guofeng as his successor on his deathbed. The Gang of Four failed in their attempt to usurp further control over the CCP and they were arrested and media campaign was launched against them putting a majority of the blame of the excesses of the Cultural Revolution on the Gang of Four.

Hua Guofeng supporters succeeded in installing him as Chairman. Hua later rehabilitated Den Xiaoping who started to challenge Hua’s power in 1978[21]. By 1980 during the Fifth Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee, Deng was able to oust several of Hua’s supporters from the Politburo and replaced them with his own supporters. Hua lost his position as Premier of the State Council to Zhao Ziyang. Though Deng only held the title of Chairman of the Central Military Commission he had support throughout various areas of the government. His era of rule officially started at the Twelfth Party Congress in 1982.[22]

Deng instituted various changes to the CCP believing that the political leadership needed rejuvenating. He promoted a greater distribution of power within the CCP and promoted coalition building instead of power stemming from one person. For Deng, political control was balanced between ‘second generation’ leaders Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang and the Central Advisory Commission (CAC),[23] which was established at the Twelfth Party Congress in 1982. The CAC during the 1980s consisted of ‘retired’ Long March veterans and rehabilitated victims of the Cultural Revolution. The CAC was abolished during the Fourteenth Party Congress in 1992 largely because many of the ‘elders’ had either died or were too frail.[24] Nonetheless, Deng was faced with the problem of how to manage a peaceful transition from the revolutionaries to younger leaders.[25]

In addition to creating a peaceful transition Deng had to find ways to bring in new Party members with the necessary technical skills to implement economic reforms. Deng instituted a system of phased cadre retirement to increase the number elder leaders going into retirement.[26] There were several waves of retirement in 1985, 1988, and 1993.[27] Kenneth Lieberthal contended that though the Politburo was filled with protégés of the ‘elders’, the later were the ‘real leaders’ of the country during the 1980s despite having retired.[28]

According to Tanner and Feder, at the Fourteenth Party Congress in 1992 Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin issued general instructions that up and coming leaders must have four qualifications: nianqinghua (young) to be in their forties and fifties; zhishiihua (well-educated) holding a college degree as the minimum;zhuanyechua (specialist in training) with a preference for science or technology, which was in keeping with Deng’s Four Modernizations strategy; and geminghua (politically reliable) or known service to the Party and not known as a part of the Red Guard or other taken part of other extremists actions during the Cultural Revolution.[29]

After Zhao Ziyang was replaced as General Secretary in June 1989 by Jiang Zemin, Deng designated Jiang as the ‘core of the third generation leadership’ and the next leader for China as a compromise between the Party elders and younger leaders, and to avoid further fracturing the political leadership after Tiananmen. In order to improve some of Jiang’s vulnerabilities he was appointed Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee after Deng stepped down in 1990.[30] After the Fourteenth Party Congress and Eighth National People’s Congress in 1992 Jiang was the party chief, Chairman of the Military Affairs Commission, and elected President of the People’s Republic of China. China watchers believed initially that Jiang’s rule was going to be a repeat of Hua Guofeng’s interregnum. It was thought that Jiang did not have strong support within the Party or military and was and the ‘third generation’ leadership was going to be fragile, which would fall apart when Deng eventually ‘went to see Marx’.[31] Since Jiang could govern in a different way Mao or Deng, he relied on power sharing and seeking a broad consensus within the central leadership to support his policy reform agenda.[32]

With Jiang’s succession in 1992 the Party was deeply concerned about securing stability and ensuring the PRC did not collapse in a manner similar to the Soviet Union in 1991. The Tiananmen Square incident served as a reminder that the Party had to ensure that internal political disputes were not made public.[33]

Jiang surprised analysts in his ability to solidify his power base within the CCP. At the National People’s Congress in 1993 Jiang replaced Yang Shangkun as President and was re-elected as Chairman of the Central Military Commission.[34] In 1995 Jiang launched strong anti-corruption probes in an effort to remove Beijing Party Boss Chen Xitong, who was one of Jiang’s political rivals.[35] Deng was key in consolidating Jiang’s powerbase during the Party Congress in 1992 by orchestrating party leaders to resign and promote younger leaders in their place.

Jiang has been credited by some China scholars with the further institutionalization of the succession process within the CCP.[36] First, he implemented the policy of a retirement age of 70 for Politburo members and other top officials, which was to begin during the 14th Congress in 1992. Jiang was exempted from the policy as he turned 71 during the 15th Congress and was 76 by the time he retired in 2002.[37]

Secondly, the top leadership positions of General Secretary, President, Chair of the Standing Committee of the NPC and Premier were now limited to two terms.[38] Thirdly, younger and better-educated leaders were to be appointed to the Politburo during each Congress to serve as the foundation for the upcoming ‘generation’.[39] There was strong emphasis on re-electing Politburo members till they reached retirement and for a successor to be chosen one Party Congress ahead to eliminate the risks of political instability and power struggles amongst elites.[40]

While these changes did not lead to fundamental political reform within the CCP it led to greater regularization of political competition within the Party. Susan Shrik, expressed concern that the more regular procedures might unravel during the election of Hu Jintao in 2002. [41] At the time China analysts were uncertain as to how much of a role Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, and Zhu Rongji, who were all retiring, would play during the 16th Party Congress. The succession procedures that Jiang brought into Chinese politics were thought of as being implemented in his own interest as they consolidated his power base, the Shanghai Clique, while limiting that of his rivals.[42] The problems that the ‘third generation’ leadership of Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, and Zhu Rongji was that it lacked the political clout as the elders of the Long March Generation had exercised during the 1980s.[43]

In terms of Jiang Zemin’s successor, Hu Jintao was not thought initially to be a strong candidate when he was being promoted from the Central Committee to the Politburo at the Fourteenth Party Congress in 1992.[44] During the Ninth National People’s Congress in 1998, Hu was made Vice-President and then Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission in September 1999.[45] This made him the second most powerful official in China after Jiang Zemin.[46] Frederic Tiewes contends that once Hu Jintao received the CMC position the chances of anyone else succeeding Jiang Zemin were remote.[47]

Hu’s rise stemmed from having similar political background to Jiang Zemin, which appealed to the Party’s ruling elites. Both were not involved in the Tiananmen Square incident, were reformers and were what they describe as an acceptable moderates to both conservative and liberal factions within the CCP.[48] According to Zheng Yongnian and Chen Gang, Hu had the support of Deng Xiaoping who called him a ‘fine person.’ This settled the debate within the Party.[49]

Hu is expected to retire at the end of his second term as General Secretary at the 18th Party Congress in 2012. When Hu succeeded Jiang it was seen as one of the first examples of a communist nation having an orderly and planned succession without purges. The ‘fourth generation’ succession is being seen as the model for the 2012/2013 successions.[50]

For the upcoming transition Hu Jintao instituted further changes to the selection process at the 17th Party Congress in 2007. He sought to expand inner-party democracy in order to bring greater transparency to Party affairs and prevent decision-making by “individuals or a minority of people”.[51] It is currently unknown whether the assertions that the implementation of inner-party democracy might be more than ‘lip service’ to appeal to the peoples.

Prior to the 17th Party Congress, the CPC Central Organization Department held elections requiring various provincial and ministerial officials to vote on candidates from the Politburo to become members of the Secretariat. Xi Jinping received the most votes. Hu accepted the results and it is believed by some China scholars that similar voting process will likely be used to choose the future leaders.[52] Xinhua news commented that the new democratic system of how Party leaders will be chosen was of considerable importance, marking the beginning of democratic elections within the Party.[53] It will not be until after the election that China analysts will have the ability to ascertain the influence that inner-party democracy had in 2012/2013 succession.

The 2012/2013 election will be the first time members of the Central Committee has recommended potential candidates to the Politburo. This could be seen as another step to increase political stability and ensure a smooth transition for Hu Jintao’s successor in 2012, what actually occurred is unknown.[54] While inner-party democracy lacks transparency it could change how future successions occur. Previously, the CCP promoted grass-roots elections at the village/township level. Using elections to determine senior positions is an indication that the CCP believes it may be necessary for stability.[55] New leaders would have to reflect not only the incumbent but also a compromise among various factions or alliances in an attempt to help preserve CPC power and ensure stability. The two chief contenders that are believed to replace Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin are Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang.

  • Xi Jinping

China analysts agree that the promotions gained by Xi Jinping since the 17th Party Congress that he is seen as the most likely candidate to succeed Hu Jintao.[56] Xi was born in 1953 in Beijing. His father was Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary veteran who helped with the creation of the special economic zones in the 1980s, which became the model for China’s economic transformation. Xi Zhongxun was also politically controversial because he had strong ties to the reformist CPC General Secretary Hu Yaobang, whose death in 1989 helped spark the Tiananmen protests. Deng was uncomfortable with Hu’s bold promotion of political reforms and his sympathy towards reform minded intellectuals, forcing him to resign as General Secretary in 1987. As a result, Xi Zhongxun lost his position on the Politburo and became Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress. It is because of his father that Xi Jinping has strong support from the progressive Party officials and populists.[57]

As with many other fifth generation leaders during the Cultural Revolution Xi Jinping was sent to the countryside, after which he gained a degree in Chemical Engineering from Tsinghua University in 1979 and a doctorate in Law in 2002.[58] Through his father’s connections Xi spent time as Secretary to Geng Biao in the General Office of the Central Military Commission. One of Xi Jinpings’s chief patrons was Zeng Qinghong, who moved Xi from Zhejiang province to Shanghai and then eventually to the Standing Committee of the Politburo at the 17th Party Congress in 2007. Some China analysts assert that Xi’s father connections with Hu Yaobang that Hu Jintao allowed Xi Jinping to be promoted to the Politburo.[59]

His promotion was a deviation from the ‘normal’ practice of promotion over the previous 20 years. For an unknown reason he was promoted directly to Standing Committee of the Politburo from his position in Zhejiang as Party Secretary. Before joining the Politburo Xi spent half a year in Shanghai. China watchers are still analyzing the reasons for his short stay in Shanghai.[60]

Alice Miller argues that Xi was being groomed for succession when he started receiving appointments in 2007.[61] Xi’s first major appointments were to the Standing Committee of the Politburo the 17th Party Congress, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat, and President of the Central Party School in 2008. Xi was promoted to Vice President of the People’s Republic at the 11th National Party Congress in 2008 and Vice-Chairman of the Party, thus preparing him for the succession at the 18th CCP Congress as the new Party General Secretary.[62]

During the 4th Plenum of the 17th Party Congress in September 2009 it was generally believed by Western analysts and the media that Xi was going to be promoted to the Vice-Chairmanship of the CMC, thus confirming him as Hu’s successor, but he was not. This generated much speculation about possible divisions within the CCP.[63] Russell Leigh Moses, Director of International Relations at the Institute for Global Studies, contended that during the Plenum Xi and Li Keqiang agreed not to challenge political protocols though there is no firm evidence that there was such an agreement, as Xi and Li are competitors for the same position.[64]

When Xi was passed over for the Vice-Chairmanship of the CMC most China watchers were surprised. No reason was given publically as to why. It highlights the ongoing unpredictable nature of elite level politics in China. James Mulvenon, at the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, highlighted the fact that during the 16th Party Congress in 2002 Jiang Zemin did not step down from his position as Chairman of the Central Military Commission.[65] China-watchers contended that there could be a growing power struggle for influence between Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin as Hu had just become China’s new political leader.[66]

Mulvenon contends that there could be multiple reasons why Xi was passed over.[67] It could have been the case that Hu did not want to promote someone from a rival faction to such a high position, since the ‘princelings’ already had strong representation in the PLA, while the ‘populists’ did not. Though Mulvenon accepts this hypothesis it is next to impossible to fully unravel the intricate behind the scenes compromises among the leaders. In addition Xi was given responsibility for organizing the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and 60th Anniversary of the People’s Republic in 2009. If Hu and the other senior leaders did not have faith in Xi they would not have given him such important tasks.[68] Another theory is that Hu will still promote Xi but also promote other CCYL protégés. Willy Lam, senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, contended that Xi’s promotion was delayed to give Li Keqiang enough time to build his own base amongst the military.[69] Another argument is that perhaps Xi was not promoted because he is already secure enough in his position as the heir apparent and this position was unnecessary. Cheng Li contends that this event was good news and shows the CCP is evolving better mechanisms to prevent one politician from monopolizing the key positions.[70]

Amongst Chinese intellectuals there was a wide-ranging debate over why Xi was passed over for the key CMC position.  Cheng Yu-Shek, a professor at City University of Hong Kong, believed it was a sign that the leadership could not reach an immediate consensus about the right time for Xi’s promotion, which casts some doubt on the procedures for a smooth transition.[71] Hu Xingdou, commentator at Beijing University of Technology, saw the event as having no political significance, as the precedence only started when Hu Jintao became Vice Chair of the CMC. He argues that perhaps the CCP decided it was not an important enough position to be used as a test for potential leadership candidates.[72] Zhang Ming, Professor of Politics at Renmin University, saw the event as a disagreement among the leadership as to whether Xi was ready for it.[73]

Xi did receive his promotion to the CMC during the 5th Plenum of the 17th CPC Central Committee.[74] Speculation will continue until 2012/13 because there are no clauses within the Party Constitution outlining the necessary positions one must have to succeed or how the succession will occur. The post is also not a requirement for succession and if Hu Jintao and other high party officials did not have faith in Xi they would not have given him the important positions of managing the 2008 Olympics, the 60th Anniversary, or sending him to meet various foreign leaders, including a trip to Australia in June 2010.[75] All of the indications remain that Xi is secure as the heir apparent to Hu Jintao and will be named General Secretary at the 18th Party Congress.

  • Li Keqiang


Li Keqiang is considered to be the front-runner by most China Watchers to succeed Wen Jiabao as Premier. He is also regarded as one of most knowledgeable on China’s economy after Premier Wen. [76] Li Keqiang was born in 1955 in Anhui Province. His father was a low-level government official. In 1974, when Li was nineteen, he was sent down to the countryside. Subsequently, he studied Law at Beijing University, wherehe was Secretary of the CCYL Committee, graduating in 1982. In 1994, he received a PhD in economics from Beijing University.[77]

Li developed a strong relationship with Hu Jintao during his time with the Youth League in the 1980s. Li advanced politically though the connections he made; in 1993 he became First Secretary of the CCYL Central Committee and a member of the Standing Committee of the NPC; in 1997 he was made a full member of the Central Committee of the CCP; in 1998 he became Vice Governor of Henan Province then Governor and Deputy Party Secretary in 1999; in 2002 he was made Party Secretary of Henan Province; in 2004 he was promoted to Liaoning Province; and in 2007 to the Standing Committee of the Politburo.[78]

Li’s provincial leadership was mired with frequent bad luck. During the first two years of his term as governor in Henan Province there were major fires in a furniture factory, movie theatre, a disco club, and the spreading of HIV through blood transfusions. Some human rights groups assert that Li assisted in a cover up of this problem, however these claims have never been determined.[79]

Most Chinese watchers and media list Li Keqiang as the contender amongst the ‘populist’ faction who will succeed either Hu Jintao or Wen Jiabao in 2012/13.[80] Cheng Li and James Mulvenon believe that when Xi Jinping’s sign as heir apparent was thought to be on the wane because he moved to Shanghai before his promotion to the Standing Committee in 2007 Li Keqiang was to be the new heir.[81]

Hu has to play a careful game promoting Xi and Li because of the risk of infighting and a dangerous rift between the two factions.[82] When Li was promoted to the Standing Committee of the Politburo he was made Executive Vice-Premier under Wen Jiabao. Li is one of the leading politicians authorized to speak on Beijing’s economic policies.[83]

[1] John Schrecker, The Chinese Revolution in Historical Perspective, Praegar New York, 1991, pp. 83-96

[2] John Spence, The Search for Modern China, W. W. Norton Co, New York, 1990, p. 281

[3] John Schrecker, pp. 154-158

[4] Stuart Schram, Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912-1949,M. E. Sharpe, Armonk, 2004,p. XXIII

[5] John Schrecker, pp. 157-158

[6] John Schrecker, pp. 162-163

[7] Maurice Meisner, Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1999, p. 90

[8] Maurice Meisner, p. 91

[9] Kate Zhou, China’s Long March to Freedom: grassroots modernization, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, 2009, p. 2

[10] Maurice Meisner, p. 92

[11] Maurice Meisner, p. 92

[13] Janos Radvanyi, The Hungarian Revolution and the Hundred Flowers Campaign, “ The China Quarterly,Vol. 43, 1970, pp. 121-129

[14] Franz Schurman, Ideology and Organization in Communist China, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1968, p. 91

[15] Jonathan Spence, Mao Zedong, Viking, New York, 1999, p. 553

[16] Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, Mao’s Last Revolution, Harvard University Press, 2008, pp. 4-7

[17] MacFarquhar and Schoenhals, p. 37

[18] Keith R. Schoppa, Revolution and its Past: Identities and Changes in Modern Chinese History, Pearsons Education, 2006, pp. 349-356

[19] Qiu Jin, The Culture of Power: The Lin Biao Incident and the Cultural Revolution, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1999, p. 163-166

[20] R. Maclarquhar and M. Schoenhals., pp. 333-336

[21] P. Chang., ‘Chinese Politics: Deng Turbulent Quest,’ Problems of Communism, vol. 30, 1981, p. 9

[22] O. Fallaci., ‘Deng: Cleaning Up Mao’s Feudal Mistakes,’ The Guardian, 21/09/1980; R. Baum., Burying Mao: Chinese Politics in the Age of Deng Xiaoping, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1994; P. Chang., ‘Chinese Politics: Deng Turbulent Quest,’ Problems of Communism, vol. 30, 1981, p. 8

[23] P. Chang., ‘Chinese Politics: Deng Turbulent Quest,’ Problems of Communism, vol. 30, 1981 p. 8

[24] J. Cameron., ‘The Education of Modern Elites in Developing Countries,’ in James S. Cameron (ed.),Education and Political Development, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1965; M. S. Tanner and M.J. Feder., ‘Family Politics, Elite Retirement, and Succession in Post-Mao China,’ Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, Vol. 30, 1993, p. 93

[25] L. Miller., ‘Overlapping Transitions in China’s Leadership,’ SAIS Review, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1996, p. 22. A more extensive look at the retirement of elder Party veterans please look at M. Manion., Retirement of Revolutionaries in China: Public Policies, Social Norms, Private Interests, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993,

[26] B. Zhiyue., ‘Economic Performance and Political Mobility: Chinese Provincial Leaders,’ Journal Contemporary China, Vol. 5, no. 12, 1996, p. 140

[27] B. Zhiyue., p. 141

[28] K. Lieberthal., Governing China: From Revolution Through Reform, Norton, New York, 1995, p. 224

[29] Tanner and Feder., p. 99

[30] D. Shambaugh., ‘Deng Xiaoping: The Politician,’ China Quarterly, No. 135, 1993, pp. 457-90; L. Binyan., ‘After Deng Xiaoping: How Long Can Jiang Zemin Remain on Top?’ China Focus, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1993, p. 3

[31] S. WuDunn., ‘Deng is Reported to Name His Heir, The Party Chief,’ New York Times, 18/09/1989; X. D. Liu., ‘The Current Power Struggle in Chinese Communist Party,’ China Strategic Review, Volume 2, No. 4, 1997, p. 80; C. Li and L. White., ‘The Fifteenth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party: Full Fledged Technocratic Leadership with Partial Control by Jiang Zemin,’ Asian Survey, Vol. 38, No. 3, 1998, p. 236; C. Li and L. White., ‘The Army in the Succession to Deng Xiaoping: Familiar Fealties and Technocratic Trends,’ Asian Survey, Vol. 33, No. 8, 1993, pp. 757-86; S. Zhao., ‘Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour: Elite Politics in Post-Tiananmen China,’ Asian Survey, Vol. 33, No. 8, 1993, pp. 739-756

[32] K. Lieberthal., Governing China: From Revolution Through Reform, Norton, New York, 1995, p. 224; C. Li., ‘Promises and Pitfalls of Reform: New Thinking in Post-Deng China,’ in T. White (ed.), China Briefing: A Century of Transformations, M.E. Sharpe, Arnonk, 2000

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