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China’s Dream Team

NEW HAVEN – China’s recent leadership transition was widely depicted as a triumph for conservative hard-liners and a setback for the cause of reform – a characterization that has deepened the gloominess that pervades Western perceptions of China. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang – the top two officials in China’s new governing council (the Standing Committee of the Politburo) – are both well educated, well traveled, and sophisticated thinkers who bring a wealth of experience to the many challenges that China faces. As so-called Fifth Generation leaders, they continue the steady progress in competence that has marked each of China’s leadership transitions since the emergence of Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970’s.