Of the multitude of tasks confronting the top Chinese leadership, controlling local governments and training the future generations of CCP elites have the most intriguing and far-reaching implications. The Chinese leadership’s recent plan for a large-scale reshuffling of four tiers of local officials, combined with its ambitious mid-career training programs, indicate that Hu Jintao is concerned about both the short-term need to consolidate his own power and the long-term future of CCP rule. The upcoming reshuffling will likely provide Hu and his protégés with increased control in both the national and local leaderships, thus making them more effective at carrying out their populist developmental policies. However, in the not-too-distant future, the ever-changing domestic and international environment will likely push the Chinese political system to be open enough to allow talented young people with diversified backgrounds to become part of the ruling elite.

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