Do leaders matter? Chinese politics, leadership transition and the 17th Party Congress
AbstractThe opaque nature of decision making in China has generated considerable interest in the internecine machinations of elite politics. Particularly, but not only, when it comes to issues of leadership transition, considerations of factional formation and conflict come to the fore. This is partly to explain the transition process itself, but also out of concern for how new leaders might change the direction of Chinese policy. This paper suggests that whilst leaders and leadership changes do matter, they matter less than they once did. This is partly a result of the de-ideologicization and increasing diverse nature of elite interests and group formation. But it is also partly a result of the changed nature of China's political economy; in short, there is less desire and less ability for new leaders to impose a clear paradigm shift.