China Leadership Monitor

China's Leadership Transition: The First Stage

Thursday, January 30, 2003

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 16th Party Congress delivered a turnover of top leaders that marks the first stage in a process of managed leadership transition unprecedented in People's Republic of China (PRC) politics. The congress brought to the party's top ranks a new generation of younger leaders and saw the retirement of the cohort of party leaders who had dominated China's politics since the early 1990s. The changes in the party's top leadership foreshadow comparable turnover in top PRC state posts at the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) in March 2003. The congress also ratified amendments to the party constitution that promise a watershed transformation of the party makeup in coming years.