China's new leadership: insights and prospectsWith the 18th Communist Party Congress held in early November comes a new group of leaders for the People's Republic of China. Although commentators are reasonably familiar with new Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, who made his third visit to Australia in June 2010, and his number two, Li Keqiang (slated to become Premier in March 2013), who also came to Australia in 2009 as Vice-Premier, many of the new appointments to the Central Committee and to the Politburo itself are much less well known. As Australia's future is so bound up with that of China, it is of great importance that we understand as fully as we can the complexion of China's new leadership, the interests they represent and the possible directions in which they may seek to take the country. The Australian Centre on China in the World has assembled a panel of Australia's most acute and knowledgeable observers of the Chinese Communist Party for a forum on the new Chinese leadership:
Dr Gerry Groot is Head of Discipline and Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the Centre for Asian Studies, University of Adelaide, where he teaches Asian studies and Chinese politics. Much of his research revolves around the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, particularly the so-called democratic parties but also the many other aspects of united front work. An active member of the Chinese Studies Association, Gerry is also a board member of the Australian Centre for China in the World at ANU and will be the China Representative for the Asian Studies Association of Australia.
Professor Baogang He is currently Chair in International Studies at Deakin University. He received the Mayer Prize from the Australian Political Studies Association in 1994, and five Australian Research Council Discovery Grants. Professor He has provided consultation work for the United Nations Development Programme, Danish Development Agency, Ministry of Civic Affairs, Ford Foundation and Asia Foundation. Professor He’s publications deal with a wide range of issues such as deliberation, participation, citizenship, multiculturalism and civil society in China. Professor Richard Rigby has a PhD in modern Chinese history from ANU. He worked as a diplomat (including postings in Japan, the UK and China, and as Ambassador to Israel) and senior intelligence analyst in the Office of National Assessments from 1975-2008. He moved back to ANU in 2008 to assume the new position of Executive Director of the ANU China Institute, and is now concurrently Adjunct Director of the Centre on China in the World.
Dr Warren Sun is Reader in Chinese Studies at Monash University. He is a scholar of modern Chinese intellectual history, as well as an historian of contemporary China. Jointly with his long-standing collaborator Professor Frederick Teiwes, he has published eight books on Chinese elite politics, including The End of the Maoist Era.