June 14 "China's Domestic Political System" with Dr. Paul Heer
Dr. Heer began his lecture by explaining the historical developments
that have created the political backdrop for China's current leaders.
Of the many important factures that have contributed to China's present
domestic political system, two stand out. The first was the accession
of Deng Xiaoping, who brought China into the modern world through
economic reform, and the second was the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre,
which reminded everyone China was still an authoritarian country that
does not tolerate dissention and limits personal freedoms. Moreover,
Heer stated a source of tension for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
still continues to be the struggle to gain its legitimacy through
economic development, while simultaneously attempting to maintain
their grip on power.
Dr. Heer also explained that another important development happening
later this year will be the 16th Party Congress, which takes place
every 5 years. During this legislative gathering a "fourth generation"
of leaders will be ushered into China's domestic political arena.
The successor to President Jiang Zemin will be Vice President Hu Jintao,
who was hand picked by Deng Xiaoping before his death in 1997. However,
due to legacy concerns, President Jiang is less than willing to totally
relinquish his current hold onto power and has launched a propaganda
campaign in order to stay on as Party Secretary and maintain influence
in Chinese affairs. With an estimated 50% turnover in the Politburo,
Dr Heer believes the succession contest will bring about many domestic
political changes in China and therefore will be watched closely.