Like Star Trek, China’s Communist Party Embraces The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation

I never thought I’d have to admit this – let alone apologise for it – but I was never into Star Trek. Sorry. Yet for many in my age group the show was a source of endless entertainment. I did try to enter the franchise via some of the movies. They were okay. (Hate mail can be via comments below.)

But when the actors got too old to be convincing – or their pay demands went off the SAG scale (stage actors guild) – in came a whole set of fresh faces. “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was launched. (Bonus points Trekkies – what’s wrong with that picture?)

So just like an aging television franchise, the Communist Party of China has recently added some fresh blood. But instead of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Commander William Riker there are other figures.

China: The Next Generation

First a sidebar: China’s references to “generations” stem from the number of leadership changes since the rise of the Communist Party. This can be tracked due to China’s promotion of new politicians based on seniority. Each “new” age group of leaders would thus be one generation removed from their predecessors. And First Generation refers to Mao Zedong and his leadership up until 1976. Track each of the generations at Wikipedia.

In the recent leadership change, two new people were appointed to the 25 seat Politburo (formally known as The Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China  (中国共产党中央政治局). This is the supervisory committee for the Communist Party of China. The new appointees were Hu Chunhua and Sun Zhengcai. Mr Hu and Mr Sun assume high-level leadership roles as vanguards of others in the sixth generation.

(In a nod to this high-tech world, today’s leaders are 5G and the newcomers are 6G – very iPhone, no?)

Hu Chunhua is currently the Communist Party Secretary of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, that region’s top political office. His nickname is “Little Hu” as he coincidentally has the same name as former President Hu Jintao (no relation). He is the rpide of his region and locals claim he could be China’s next president when leadership changes again in 2022. (This is as easy to call as the USA presidential winner in 2016.)

Hu Chunhua

Also ascending from the sixth generation is Sun Zhengcai. He was recently appointed to Chongqing, a southwest province of 31 million people with powerful business and manufacturing. The appointment is tricky as Mr Sun steps into the role recently vacated by Bo Xilai, a favoured leader who fell into high-profile disrepute. (See my earlier post on the subject: Fact, Fiction or Fairy Tale? Bo Xilai Stripped from China Communist Party.)

Sun Zhengcai was the CPC Secretary of Jilin province from November 2009 until this month. Prior to that, he served as Minister of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China.

Sun Zhengcai

Both men have or will soon have enormous new responsibilities. As vanguards of the next generation it will be interesting to watch them to see how their styles differ from their elders. Should both succeed in these new roles then we can continue to expect larger and more powerful responsibilities. Should they falter they will be quickly replaced by other members of the next generation.

Because for every Captain Kirk there’s an impatient Captain Picard looking over his shoulder.

Welcome to China, The Next Generation!

Kirk Versus Picard

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