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May 30th - "China's Domestic Political Situation" with Dr. Paul Heer. Lecture II of the Policymakers Seminar Series

Dr. Heer began his lecture with an explanation of China's informal political system. This system has created a power struggle between China's technical leader, Hu Jintao, and the former president and party secretary, Jiang Zemin, who may cling to control long into the future. Dr. Heer explained the formal structure of the government, including the varying significance and insignificance of the Politburo, Central Committee, and the National People's Congress. Overall, in this section he emphasized the supremacy of the Chinese Communist Party over all government structures and the military.

Dr. Heer listed three mostly unspoken but widely recognized party mechanisms for steering China. Each member of the politburo is the head of a leading group on a different topic. These leading groups are rarely publicly acknowledged, but determine a great deal in Chinese politics. Each summer the Chinese leadership vacations in the resort town of Bei Dai He. This vacation spot becomes the center of government each summer and the informal meetings held there influence the topics and tenor of the coming formal government meetings. Lastly, the place of Party Elders has had a huge impact on Chinese politics, though their power may be waning over time. These retired members of the CCP have been known to reassert power in crisis situations, including the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989. Each time the elders return to power it sets the party's progress back considerably.

Lastly, Dr. Heer summarized some of the trends in current Chinese politics including the process of institutionalization as the revolutionary leaders of the early CCP fade from the picture. He also emphasized the obsession with order and achieving China's economic goals to maintain sovereignty now that the Communist ideology has morphed into fascism.
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