‘Even if the CCP’s claim that Xi Jinping has no designs to remain in office for life is true, his evisceration of succession norms leaves the country ill-prepared for his sudden death or incapacitation.’
'If Xi passed away in office, or became seriously ill, the transition process, on paper, at least, is straightforward.'
- 'According to the party’s constitution, the general-secretary is chosen during a full session of the Central Committee, and from the existing members of the Politburo’s inner circle.
- 'The few sentences in the party and state constitutions, however, are almost certainly inadequate to describe what would happen.'
‘In practice, the choice of a new leader would be decided through a process of informal consultation and horse trading, before being approved by the Central Committee.’
‘In a power vacuum, however, the process could break down into infighting within the Politburo, a nightmare scenario for CCP institutionalists.’
- ‘Members of Xi’s coalition might splinter into different groups backing disparate successors.’
- ‘Those who had been punished or marginalised by Xi’s coalition may rightly see his death as a rare opportunity to reassert power, and thus they too could be vying for control.’
‘There is another important scenario to consider: that of Xi’s health-related incapacitation (e.g., stroke, heart attack).’
- ‘Unlike a leader’s death, incapacitation forces the system into a political purgatory of indeterminate length, wherein regime supporters and detractors alike try to simultaneously hedge between recovery and expiry.’