By Priyanka Vaid:
As the result of the US elections heralded a second term for President Barack Obama, another superpower was getting ready to shift the reigns of the top leadership positions after a decade long leadership of Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao as the Chinese Prime Minister and President respectively. But there is stark contrast between the procedures involved in both the countries.
While the US hosted a long debate between the presidential candidates, the Chinese President and Prime Minister were pre-decided with the ascendancy of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang to the respective positions, signalled at the last party congress in 2007. It’s not only the Internet or the social media that is censored by the Chinese government; the election process to the top posts in the government is also a very close knit affair. The nominated leader for the top post does not make any promises or speeches that highlight his aims for the growth of the country, his selection process being known only to those involved directly in the action.
On November 8, 2012, the Chinese Communist Party opened its 18th Congress to choose the party’s Central Committee. From among the Central Committee members, the Politburo and the chief ruling committee and the central standing committee are selected. This process, however, involves minimal work as only a minor percentage of the members have to be siphoned out from the nominated list.
In keeping with the unfolding of uninteresting events, the outgoing President, Hu Jintao delivered his speech, marking the opening of the congress without springing any surprises. He focussed on the ‘must-do’s’ for the Chinese economy and the party and his words made for a perfect reading from a textbook on steps to grow better(for a political party).
With everything in the election process efficiently programmed, even the security measures in the country have been beefed up to berate the people from voicing or even ‘moving their hand’ to express any anti-government sentiment. This is exemplified by the official request to the taxi drivers in Beijing to remove window handles or disable electric car windows and make all passengers sign a ‘travelling agreement’, promising they would avoid sensitive areas of Beijing and abstain from opening doors or windows when passing important venues. Some other queer prohibitions include the purchase of knives and pencil sharpeners, flying of carrier pigeons by the owners, etc.
While China succeeds in curbing and controlling everything in its reach, the achromatic government is, however, one of the most uninteresting political arenas of the world with the change in power unaccompanied by any surprises or switches in the existing policy.