China Leadership Monitor

The "Shanghai Gang": Force for Stability or Cause for Conflict?

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Of all the issues enmeshed in China's on-going political succession, one of the most intriguing concerns the prospects of the so-called "Shanghai gang" associated with party leader Jiang Zemin. The future of the "Shanghai gang" will determine whether Jiang will continue to play a behind-the-scenes role as China's paramount leader after retiring as party general secretary at the Sixteenth Party Congress in the fall of 2002. More importantly, contention over the future of the "Shanghai gang" constitutes a critical test of whether China can manage a smooth political succession, resulting in a more collective and power-sharing top leadership.