As Election Day approaches, it’s useful to look at the murky political transition taking place in China this month. It’s a reminder of the benefits of America’s sometimes chaotic democracy.
The Chinese are facing a once-in-a-decade political shift as President Hu Jintao prepares to transfer power to Xi Jinping, his long-designated successor. But beneath this pre-cooked surface, many key issues are still bubbling, with a decisive Communist Party congress scheduled to start Thursday.
Imagine if the United States were deciding Tuesday not just on a president and members of Congress — but on the size and scope of the executive branch, oversight of the military and new constitutional rules. China’s leaders are still thought to be haggling over all these issues on the eve of the party congress and behind a curtain of secrecy that feeds rumors and gossip.
The coming political transition will replace most members of the country’s two key executive bodies — the standing committee of the party’s Politburo and the Central Military Commission. What’s amazing is how little even the best-informed U.S. experts know about how these personnel decisions will be made.