History 261

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Compare the political leaders profiled in Susan Lawrence’s article “The New Guard: Five Younger Officials Make Their Way to the Top”. According to Lawrence (1998), the future of China will largely depend on its top leaders. Their priorities, reputations, and ability to get local officials and society at large to support their policies will shape the course of future events. At the vanguard of the group of up-and coming leaders is Hu Jintao, who joined the Communist Party’s most senior body, the seven-man politburo Standing Committee, at the age of 49 in 1992.
These new leaders are united in their commitment to ensuring the primacy of the Communist Party and to implementing market-oriented economic reform. Trained as engineers
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In 1998, Wen became both a politburo member and a vice-premier. As a geologist, Wen oversaw a raft of big issues including agriculture, poverty relief, forestry and water resources. During this time, Wen was named to head the party’s new Central Work Commission of Finance. In that position, Wen is leading a critically important overhaul and recapitalization of China’s troubled banks, working to clean up and stabilize the country’s volatile securities market, and supervising a far-reaching reorganization of the Ministry of Finance (Lawrence, 1998, p. 572).
Wu Bangguo, 57, was appointed to oversee the state-enterprise reform when the party established the Work Commission on Finance. Wen had won high marks for his work in the financial sector, but foreign observers were less impressed with Wu’s leadership. Wu was a former Shanghai party chief who studied radio electronics at Qinghua University. As a deputy party chief of Shanghai from 1985 to 1991, he served for a period under the party chief Jiang, and alongside, and then under Zhu, thus Wu was a familiar colleague who they know would be loyal (Lawrence, p. 1998, p. 572).
The fifth rising leader if Jia Winglin, 58, who also serves as mayor and party boss of Beijing. The least dynamic of the five, Jia was also a Jiang loyalist. An electrical engineer, he
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