Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012

Wang Yang

After the Chinese village of Wukan revolted against local authorities last year, a crackdown seemed inevitable. Instead, Wang Yang, 57, the Communist Party boss of Guangdong province, approved a new local election and an investigation into villagers' complaints of corruption. Tipped for promotion this fall, Wang could bring a softer touch to Chinese power.

Ramzy is TIME's Beijing correspondent