Jiang Zemin’s succession to Deng Xiaoping in the PRC can be investigated from three perspectives: change in leadership, a shift in orientation, and systemic transformation. This article argues that Deng’s passing signifies more than a mere redistribution of power among the top leaders of the Chinese Communist Parry (CCP). At the same time, a systemic transformation through tactical political reform is an unlikely scenario. Jiang’s succession in essence ushers in a new era in the CCP’s development. It formally ends the period of radical reform, and brings about the stage of bureaucratic stability. This orientation shift falls between leadership change and systemic transformation. The major factors militating for regime reorientation are evolutionary necessity, favorable economic conditions, and the Jiang regime’s weaker leadership. Proof of these political changes abound in the post-1989 (especially post-1994) period.