Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information CenterSouthern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center
HomeAbout UsCampaignsSouthern Mongolian WatchChineseJapaneseNewsLInksContact Us


Share |

  A New Hu? Official With Potential Strikes Populist Tone
Wall Street Journal
March 7, 2012
China Real Time Report


Hu Chunhua, in a 2008 photo  

Most political watchers in China these days are transfixed by who will rise to top leadership positions in the once-a-decade political transition that begins later this year. Even so, younger leaders from the Communist Party’s expected next generation of leadership are already coming under the microscope.

Hu Chunhua, Inner Mongolia’s party chief and one of the rising stars in Beijing this week for the National People’s Congress, is one of them. He’s a protégé of China’s current president, Hu Jintao. The two men aren’t related, though Hu Chunhua served under Hu Jintao in Tibet in the 1990s.

Mr. Hu, 48 years old, sounded a populist note in a public meeting with Inner Mongolia delegates to the NPC and with journalists on Thursday, promising to better the livelihoods of poor and disaffected ethnic Mongolians. He noted that the region’s per capita GDP in 2011 reached $8,900.

“That this type of situation still exists, where there is a large impoverished population, is indeed unreasonable,” Mr. Hu said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Hu offered few details on how he planned to close a wealth gap between Han migrants to the region and local Mongolians, whose traditional way of life has been increasingly disrupted by the growth of coal mining in the region. Inner Mongolia has surged to become one of China’s largest coal-producing areas, and the government says the region has some 730 billion metric tons of verified coal deposits.

In a major test for Mr. Hu, protests struck the region last May after an ethnic Mongolian herder was struck and killed by a Chinese coal truck driver. The incident fanned flames of discontent among Mongolians already angry over environmental degradation of local grasslands and other issues. Paramilitary police were deployed across the region to quell protests, including the capital of Hohhot, which has become a resource boom town in recent years.

Mr. Hu is no stranger to ethnic unrest, having spent his early career as a party cadre in Tibet. “These two regions both have special characteristics, and are both very beautiful. Ethnic minorities are very simple and honest,” Mr. Hu said at the press briefing on Tuesday. “I think the border regions and I are brought together by fate.”

Mr. Hu is among a relatively small group of senior officials who appear to be leaders of the Communist Party’s sixth-generation of leaders. Xi Jinping leads the party’s fifth generation, and is expected to replace Hu Jintao as party chief and president. A few other  rising leaders to watch this week include Jilin party secretary Sun Zhengcai and Hunan party chief Zhou Qiang.

At the Tuesday press conference, Mr. Hu was asked repeatedly whether he used Sina Weibo, the popular social networking site that has increasingly drawn the ire of web censors. Mr. Hu, pressed for answer, declined to say whether he was a Weibo user.

“I don’t go on the web much,” he said.

–Brian Spegele; follow him on Twitter @bspegele



From Yeke-juu League to Ordos Municipality: settler colonialism and alter/native urbanization in Inner Mongolia

Close to Eden (Urga): France, Soviet Union, directed by Nikita Mikhilkov

Beyond Great WallsBeyond Great Walls: Environment, Identity, and Development on the Chinese Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

The Mongols at China's EdgeThe Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity

China's Pastoral RegionChina's Pastoral Region: Sheep and Wool, Minority Nationalities, Rangeland Degradation and Sustainable Development

Changing Inner MongoliaChanging Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern ChinaGrasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China: A Report of the Committee on Scholarly Communication With the People's Republic of China

The Ordos Plateau of ChinaThe Ordos Plateau of China: An Endangered Environment (Unu Studies on Critical Environmental Regions)

 ©2002 SMHRIC. All rights reserved. Home | About Us | Campaigns | Southern Mongolian Watch | News | Links | Contact Us