Daughters of Communist Party Leaders in China Might Finally Benefit from Some Good, Old-Fashioned NepotismS

As you've watched the Chinese Communist Party leadership age over the last two decades, you've probably kept yourself awake at night fretting about who will produce the next generation of Communist propaganda. Well? Will the Politburo of tomorrow be full of more stodgy and corrupt old dudes, or, by some unforeseen result of China's official one-child policy, will it be full of privileged young women?

That's one of the questions raised by a recent series of in-depth profiles of Communist Party leaders published by State news agency Xinhua to celebrate China's once-in-a-decade power transition. Among other savory personal tidbits (favorite shoe-tying methods? preferred ice cream flavors other than cookies ‘n cream?), the Xinhua profiles reveal that a number of top Communist officials have daughters, not sons. Ordinarily, thanks to widespread corruption and nepotism, Chinese sons (so-called "princelings") would leverage their family connections to secure positions of political power, but since so many next-generation princelings are actually "princesslings," some observers have wondered whether we might soon see an influx of female leadership into China's Communist Party.

It might be tempting to think that the next generation holds the solution to the Party leadership's gender imbalance problems. Business Insider notes that a mere 23 percent of Communist Party members are women, while women comprise just under a quarter of the 3,000 deputies in the National People's Congress. People commenting on the news that Party bosses are potentially raising a new generation of female leaders have even (dubiously) suggested that daughters would make better rulers because, unlike some of the corrupt officials running roughshod all over the public goodwill, "Daughter are generally well-behaved." (As evidence that this is not necessarily the case, one need only look to the recent controversy surrounding Bo Xilai, who was booted from the party last year for her involvement in the murder of a British businessman.)

Before anyone starts having visions of broader female leadership in the future regimes of the Communist Party, the South China Morning Post's Chris Luo reminds readers that the privileged daughters of Party leaders are probably going to have a hard time inheriting any leadership mantles. Instead of passing power to their daughters, these Party leaders will probably shift power to their sons-in-law, and "husbands of these privileged daughters [will] benefit from the political inheritance of their fathers-in-law." Blast! — the patrilineal head of marriage strikes again.

[Business Insider, Xinhua, South China Morning Post]