At the Chinese Communist Party’s 16th Congress in November 2002, a group of new leaders took over the world’s most populous country. Their accession as the “Fourth Generation” of rulers of the People’s Republic—following the generations of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin—signaled the end of a long, complex struggle for power.
Yet little has been known outside high Party circles about either that struggle or the men who emerged victorious from it. China’s New Rulers, based on confidential Party files leaked to a Chinese writer abroad, offers an unprecedented glimpse into the most orderly succession in the turbulent history of the People’s Republic. At its center are detailed descriptions of the nine men who will rule China for the next five years—their backgrounds, their characters, and their visions for the future. Among the challenges they will face are economic reform and China’s integration into a global economy, pressures for political liberalization and human rights, ethnic unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang, the status of Taiwan, and relations with the US.
China’s New Rulers is an extraordinary account of a high-level political drama that has largely taken place in secret. It portrays many key figures in the Party, government, and military, and provides new information on Jiang Zemin’s thirteen years in office. Most importantly, it contains the first insights into matters of great importance to the West: who will lead China, what changes they may bring to their country, and how they may act as international partners and competitors.