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China purge puts orderly leadership handover in doubt

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Subject

The purge and replacement of erstwhile presidential contender Sun Zhengcai.

Significance

Politburo member Sun Zhengcai, once seen as a potential successor to Xi Jinping as president, has been removed from his post as Party chief of Chongqing and placed under investigation. Chen Min'er, a Xi loyalist, replaces him.

Impacts

  • The top leadership will probably manage to present a relatively united front to the public ahead of the Party Congress.
  • In the much longer term, the corrosion of collective leadership could reduce political stability, which may damage investor confidence.
  • An administration composed of officials whose thinking matches that of the core leader is less likely to generate effective policy.
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