China Leadership Monitor

The Road to the Sixteenth Party Congress

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

The scheduling of the Sixteenth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party by a recent Central Committee plenum inaugurates a prolonged process of preparations that will dominate leadership politics over the coming year and color Beijing's approach to policy in all areas. Expected to convene in the fall next year, the congress will lay the foundation for subsequent policy departures and put into place a new generation of top Party leaders. Judging by the themes of leadership statements and press commentary in recent months, the focus of the Congress is likely to be reform of the Communist Party itself so that it can better manage China's increasingly market-driven economy and the impact of China's upcoming entry into the WTO.