In March, the 11th National People’s Congress established the second term of China’s Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao Administration and ushered in many important changes in China’s party, government, and military leaderships. Along with last fall’s 17th Party Congress, the March 2008 meeting consolidated Hu Jintao’s position as China’s top official while also preparing the country for the leadership turnover which will take place in 2012-2013. The Congress put in place a new cast of economic decision-makers and initiated new spending programs designed to enhance social security and improve China’s environmental protection. It also put forward a new proposal for cross-Strait relations and shuffled the People’s Liberation Army commanders.
On April 7, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University hosted a conference to examine what these changes mean for politics and policy in Beijing. After each panel, participants took audience questions.