In This Review

Chinese Politics in the Hu Jintao Era: New Leaders, New Challenges

Chinese Politics in the Hu Jintao Era: New Leaders, New Challenges
By Willy Wo-Lap Lam
376 pp, M.E. Sharpe, 2006
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Lam, a journalist based in Hong Kong, has had a remarkable career reporting on Chinese developments. He established excellent sources for following the Mao and Deng generations of Chinese leaders, and now he shows that he has exceptionally good sources for understanding developments among the "fourth generation" of Chinese Communist leaders. Hu Jintao does not have the dramatic leadership qualities of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, or even Jiang Zemin, the "third generation" leader. Hu made his way to the top by quietly doing his duties and not creating enemies. He also demonstrated leadership skills while serving as Beijing's man in Tibet, at a time when there were serious riots, and as head of the Communist Youth League. Lam describes how Hu overcame his disadvantages and developed into a competent national leader who understands the importance of ideology, slogans, pragmatic policies, and economic reforms in a communist system. He suggests that Hu has the skills and the personality to keep China a communist state even as it progresses economically.