China Leadership Monitor

Where Have All the Elders Gone?

Friday, April 30, 2004

The sweeping turnover of top party and state leaders completed in 2003 brought about the retirement of more than a dozen influential men who had dominated China's politics in the 1990s. Together they join a group of leaders, commonly referred to as the "elders," who presumably retain significant political influence in the decision making of their successors. Since retiring, however, the elders have presented a very low public profile, so divining the extent and nature of their influence is a highly speculative enterprise.