A New Era for China's Most Powerful Political Body: Op-Ed by Prof. Brookfield

World Policy Blog

China's Final Bend Toward a New Politburo Standing Committee

One of the world's most important political events is nearly upon us.  On November 8th, the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will begin in Beijing, and by the end, a new set of members for the CCP's Politburo Standing Committee will have been selected.

The Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) serves as the highest decision-making body in the People's Republic of China, and seven of its nine incumbent members are expected to retire shortly.  What comes next is critically important, not just for China, but for the world.

In a World Policy post at the beginning of the summer (“Changing of the Guard: China's New Politburo”), I suggested that, although most commentators seemed to be taking a nine-member PSC as a given, the size of the PSC was by no means fixed in stone.  Since then, there have been an increasing number of articles suggesting that the size of the committee may in fact be cut from nine to seven, with accounts suggesting an increase in decision making efficiency and a desire for unity at the top being important reasons for the cut.

Read the full op-ed