November 9th, 2012
07:12 AM ET

The resurgence of Jiang Zemin

I spoke to CSIS Senior Adviser Chris Johnson about how China's leadership transition will affect the U.S.- China relationship.

But I was particularly intrigued by his final thoughts of the lingering presence of Jiang Zemin and what is says about governance in China.

Commenting on the power the ex-leader of China still wields, Johnson says:

"He has a considerable amount of influence as we're about to see a week from today when the new leadership lineup is rolled out. All indications are that several people who have close ties to Jiang Zemin will be promoted into the Politburo Standing Committee."

"There's been substantial rumor (when I was in Beijing last week I heard a lot about this) he's playing a huge role behind the scenes... interestingly, not just in personnel but also on policy. He's been pushing for a more reformist tone to Hu Jintao's Work Report that was delivered yesterday, and dressing up his involvement in the personnel process as a criticism of the lack of reform and movement especially in the economic space during the last 10 years of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao's leadership."

"So I think we're going to continue to see Jiang's influence felt strongly. It's sign the system still has a lot of work to do in terms of its political maturation - that an 86-year old who effectively hasn't been in office for 10 years has that much power and influence over the new lineup."

If you have a moment, please watch the full clip below: