China Leadership Monitor

The Emergence of the Fifth Generation in the Provincial Leadership

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The 16th Party Congress marked a shift of power to a younger generation of Chinese leaders, the so-called "fourth generation." These fourth generation leaders, led by new General Secretary Hu Jintao, not only have now held almost all top ministerial and provincial leadership posts, but also have occupied about 80 percent of the seats on the 16th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But ironically, these "younger generation" leaders are not really that young. Most generational studies on Chinese political elites define the fourth generation as the generation whose members were born between 1941 and 1956 and had their formative years during the Cultural Revolution. Now these leaders are between 47 and 62 years old.