On April 12th and 13th, the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center hosted a conference to address Chinese political developments in the context of the 17th Party Congress. This landmark political event selected the next generation of Chinese leaders and defined the policy vision that will guide China in the years to come. The participants sought to provide answers to such questions as “What transformations are likely to occur in China’s political system in the next 10-15 years?” and “Is it possible that Chinese democracy will emerge from incremental political change?”
The conference addressed a wide range of topics, including the changing dynamics between leaders and institutions; new developments in the interaction between social forces and political elites; new tensions in governance and one-party rule; rising demand for the rule of law; shifting patterns of civil-military relations; and changes in center-local relations.
Sidney Rittenberg, author of The Man Who Stayed Behind, and a former interpreter for Mao Zedong with more than sixty years of experience observing Chinese politics firsthand, gave a keynote address on the first day of the conference.