Congratulations to President Barack Obama on his reelection. That was a tough campaign and based on the popular vote, it was a close election, reflecting significant popular distaste in the previous 4 years.
But as the US is seeing no change in the top (there were quite a few important new candidates elected in Congress), China is about to see lots of change (well, sort of) this month!
President Hu Jintao will give up his role as party chief to anointed successor Vice President Xi Jinping in a once in a decade change! (The president can serve up to two 5-year terms, and it’s usual that the first term is renewed.) Today is the start of a huge handover of power to newly appointed leaders. The process will take place over a week-long meeting behind closed doors (no elections, of course) among over 2,000 delegates, who will select a central committee, which then chooses the country’s highest decision-making body, the Standing Committee of the Politburo.
It won’t be until about November 15 before we will know who China’s new leaders are going to be, though there have already been some strong indications over certain positions. Security in Beijing has been considerably beefed up during this time, and watch over political dissidents have similarly been increased. Though the people of China don’t have any say or choice in the entire matter, it’s apparent the government is concerned that they may express their views.
So whether or not you’re happy about Obama’s reelection or not, think about what government might be when you have no say, and consider how important it is to vote when you can!