EE UU analiza a Xi Jinping

Cable sobre el liderazgo del Partido Comunista Chino

El telegrama reafirma la estabilidad de las relaciones entre los miembros del Polit Buró y apunta que Xi Jinping será el nombrado máximo dirigente chino en 2012

Date:2009-07-20 10:43:00
Source:Embassy Beijing
Dunno:09BEIJING2040 09SHENYANG127
DE RUEHBJ #2063/01 2011043
O 201043Z JUL 09



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/3034


Classified By: Acting Political Minster Counselor Benjamin Moeling. Re
asons 1.4 (b/d).


1. (C) Embassy contacts have reported that relations among
China's top leaders remained largely stable, and the
arrangements put in train for succession at the 18th Party
Congress in 2012 appeared to be holding, with Xi Jinping
likely to become Party chief and Li Keqiang to become
Premier. Three years out, however, this succession scenario
was by no means guaranteed, contacts contended, as a number
of factors could cause Xi to stumble. End Summary.

Tense, but Stable, Succession in Place...

2. (C) Echoing views we have heard from a number of contacts
over the past several months,XXXXXXXXXXXX , told PolOff
on May 13 that the Party leadership, in general, was
"stable." Chen said it was too early to be certain about the
outcome of the 18th Party Congress in 2012, but that he
considered Xi Jinping to still be the front runner and Li
Keqiang the runner-up. On May 26,XXXXXXXXXXXX ,
senior editor at the Central Committee paper Guangming Ribao,
separately agreed that the final succession outcome was too
early to call but that the situation at the top was stable.
All the leaders know that they had to hang together, Dong
said, or they would hang separately. That was the lesson of
the 1989 Tiananmen unrest and the fall of the former Soviet
Union, according to Dong.

3. XXXXXXXXXXXX , who served on the Central
Committee General Office research staff when Premier Wen
Jiabao was General Office Director in the late 1980s, stated
in a meeting with PolOffs on May 18 that despite natural
tensions and differences of view, the leadership was "very
stable" and will remain so through 2012. In his view, Deng's
final legacy to the Party was a system designed to avoid the
vicious infighting of the past. The leadership lineup put in
place at the 17th Congress was not likely to change, with Xi
Jinping most likely becoming Party General Secretary and Li
Keqiang taking the Premier slot.

Hu to Retain CMC Chair?

4. XXXXXXXXXXXX separately predicted that, as things now
stand, Hu Jintao would probably stay on as Central Military
Commission Chair at the 18th Party Congress in 2012,
following the example of former Party chief Jiang Zemin in
2002. Chen dismissed the possibility of Hu trying to retain
his positions of General Secretary and President, even though
there was no formal rule mandating that he step down. There
was strong consensus in the Party against China's top leader
serving beyond two five-year "terms." Chen claimed that Li
Changchun, He Guoqiang, and Zhou Yongkang, widely perceived
as belonging to the Jiang Zemin-Zeng Qinghong political
network, had all "sided with" and "supported" Hu Jintao and,
in return, hoped this would pay dividends for their political
allies in 2012. As a result, Chen asserted, Hu Jintao was
now "very strong," even though he still must rule primarily
through consensus as the "first among equals" among the
nine-member Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC).

... But Succession Sweepstakes Not Set in Stone
--------------------------------------------- --

was still "very early," and Xi could "stumble," potentially
resulting in changes to the lineup in 2012. For example, if
Hu's strength continued to grow, Hu might yet try to elevate
Li Keqiang into the top job, Chen calculated. Chen said that
the upcoming provincial personnel reshuffles would provide
one clue to the leadership plans for 2012 as well as a
barometer to measure Hu's strength.

6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX , formerly international page
columnist of China Youth Daily, told PolOff on March 11 that
one should not assume that Xi's promotion to Party chief was
inevitable. Xi's role as PRC Vice President was "useless,"
Wang said, and there had only been one succession in Party
history that went according to plan, the transfer of power
from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao in 2002. Wang said that rumors
continued to circulate that people were trying to undermine

BEIJING 00002063 002 OF 002

Xi as heir apparent. Wang claimed that Xi's extended
diplomatic visits to Mexico and five Latin American and
Caribbean nations, February 8-23, were unusual for a Vice
President and speculated that Xi may have been sent hoping he
would perform poorly and show that he was not cut out to be
China's top leader. Xi's "inappropriate" comments in Mexico,
Wang huffed, were unbecoming a Vice President and showed that
Xi was not very well cultivated (ge ren xiu yang bu hao).
(Note: In Mexico, Xi lashed out at "idle foreigners with
nothing better to do" than criticize China.) The CYL group
still hoped Li Keqiang could takeover from Hu, Wang stated.
(See Ref B for rumors of possible maneuvering between Xi and
Li in China's northeast.)

Wen-Hu Tensions Downplayed

7. (C) Chen dismissed reports in Western media of tension
between Wen and Hu. In particular, he discounted
interpretations of Wen's absence at the May 12 memorial
ceremony commemorating last year's Wenchuan earthquake as
evidence of such tension. Chen stated that it would be
unusual for both Hu and Wen to appear together at such an
event, noting that there was only one other Politburo
Standing Committee member present, seventh-ranking Li
Keqiang. XXXXXXXXXXXX s absence was not a
sign of tension with Hu. Wu attributed the absence of Wen
photographs in the commemorative displays, which many
observers claimed was a sign of tension because of Wen's high
profile presence in Wenchuan at the time of the earthquake,
to political maneuvering by Sichuan Party Secretary Liu
Qibao. Liu, a CYL-faction official in Hu's camp, was simply
trying to curry favor with Hu, according to Wu. Wu
maintained that despite natural differences of views between
Hu and Wen, the two had a very close working relationship
which would continue until the next leadership turnover in
2012. (See Ref A for persistent criticism of Wen Jiabao).

Jiang and Zeng Retain Influence

8. (C) Wu Jiaxiang said that former Party chief Jiang Zemin
remained powerful but that his influence was waning over
time. Chen Jieren similarly told PolOff last fall that Jiang
could not be dismissed as a factor in leadership politics but
that his age and ill health were starting to erode his
authority. Chen dismissed rumors circulating last year that
Hu Jintao was attempting to undermine Jiang, stating that it
"made no sense" for Hu to risk provoking a conflict when
Jiang's influence was already decreasing.

9. (C) Chen claimed that former PBSC member, and close Jiang
ally, Zeng Qinghong also retained considerable influence and
that Jiang exercised influence through Zeng. Wu, who knows
Zeng Qinghong personally, said that Zeng was still powerful
and exercised his influence through Xi Jinping. Zeng was one
of Xi's strong supporters in the General Secretary
sweepstakes at the 17th Party Congress, according to Wu. Wu
added that it was not strange that Zeng had withdrawn from
public view since he retired. In addition to current Party
norms which favored retired leaders staying out of public
view, Zeng shunned the limelight of his own accord. In
addition, Zeng had been suffering from minor health problems

Biographical Note on Zeng Qinghong

10. (C) Zeng was one of the most open-minded of all
contemporary Chinese leaders and was a strong supporter of
political reform, according to Wu Jiaxiang. In Wu's view,
had Zeng become Party General Secretary, he would have led
China toward democracy. While Zeng was a strong supporter of
former Party paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, Zeng's mindset
was closer to that of former Party chiefs Hu Yaobang and Zhao
Ziyang and former Politburo members Wan Li and Xi Zhongxun,
Wu claimed. In addition, Wu said that Zeng had "a big heart"
and was somewhat of an unsung hero within the Party who had
quietly come to the aid of many comrades in trouble. Wu
related a personal experience with Zeng following the
military crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989 when Wu,
having attempted suicide, was "covered with blood," and Zeng
used his influence to ensure that Wu was promptly sent to a
hospital and treated for his wounds. Zeng "saved my life,"
Wu related, adding that Zeng had similarly "saved" many other
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