While Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao will hand over control of the Party and (most of) the country to his anointed successor Xi Jinping during the 18th Party Congress, beginning this week, he is not expected to resign as head of the Chinese Military Commission (CMC), thus maintaining his ultimate control over the People’s Liberation Army.
Such a move by Hu would not be without precedent, Hu himself succeeded Jiang Zemin as CPC boss in 2002 but did not take Jiang’s seat on the CMC until two years later. However, some commentators are suggesting that Hu might “control the gun” for even longer than his predecessor:
Willy Lam, a China politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said, “Hu Jintao would want to serve another five years (as CMC chief), particularly given the fact that he has to watch over his political protégés … and protect his political legacy. As long as he is the CMC chief, he will still be the power behind the throne.”
Lu [Siqing, head of the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy] said, “Hu Jintao will seek to continue on as chairman of the Central Military Commission for another five years until 2017. This is due to worries over Xi Jinping among a lot of people in the higher levels of the military.”