Hu’s Southern Expedition: Changing Leadership in Guangdong
Why should China pursue bolder political reforms? Are top Chinese leaders such as Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, or local leaders such as Wang Yang and Liu Yupu, sincere when they state that China should adopt a more democratic political system? These are some of the questions on many people’s minds. Systemic political reforms in China will not be easy. It is not surprising that Wang Yang used the term “bloody road” to characterize any such prospective political transition. It is conceivable that reform-minded top leaders want support from the political establishment and the general public. They also need to form a capable and committed provincial leadership team in some localities such as Guangdong to carry out political experiments. With the rise to prominence of Hu’s protégés in the Guangdong leadership, the province that once set the pace for China’s economic reforms seems poised to serve as the site of another giant experiment, this time on the political front.