By now just about every observer knows that the Chinese leadership will undergo a major generational change at the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the fall of 2012. The leadership transition’s actual procedures and mechanisms are less well known. This essay describes the Chinese leadership’s ongoing preparations for the transition on both the personnel and ideological fronts. It addresses two crucial questions: How will the delegates to the congress and the members of the new central committee be chosen? And how will the party’s ideological platform be formulated?

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