The Communist Party of China has unveiled its new leadership lineup to steer the world’s second-largest economy for the next five years, with Vice President Xi Jinping taking over from outgoing President Hu Jintao as party chief. Xi, 59, will take over as president next spring, in China’s third orderly transfer of power in 63 years.
Western media outlets are trying to give the impression that the new leader will drastically change the way China has been governed. However, experience shows that the change in China’s leadership is unlikely to produce any tangible change in the government’s external or internal policies.
The important national-level political and foreign policy decisions in China are made in the plenary sessions of the Central Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China and the National People’s Congress (NPC). Both are very important organs and exert huge influence on the decision-making process. Thus, the president himself does not have the authority or power to make decisions on his own.
Moreover, Communist leaders rise through the ranks of the party and are deeply committed to protecting the party’s hierarchical structure.
In the Chinese system, the president makes decisions in consensus with the Politburo Standing Committee, based on guidelines of the NPC.
However, some social and political changes have been planned by the Communist Party leaders that are expected to unfold in the near future. These changes were in fact formulated a number of years ago and have nothing to do with the new president.
China’s relationship with Iran is also a matter of national interest, and the new leader is expected to follow the directives drafted by the Politburo Standing Committee and the NPC. The two countries have enjoyed good relations, especially in the area of trade, and this situation is expected to continue as before in the future.
Javad Mansouri is a political analyst based in Tehran who previously served as Iran’s ambassador to China.
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