A comprehensive analysis of the recent past must start with an understanding of the major, interrelated issues currently confronting China's leaders. These include- a wide range of economic, national security, and cultural concerns. Another key area involves personnel management. Were the officials removed during the Cultural Revolution justly treated or ought their verdicts be reversed? If so, should all officials be returned or just some? And which ones? More generally, should a regular promotion ladder be established, or should young, exuberant but inexperienced cadres continue to be rapidly, promoted, as during 1966–69? Should service in the bureaucracy and exit from it be made more predictable? This essay focuses on vthe origins and implications of these personnel issues. For, while other issues have also been important, crucial points of debate and struggle since 1969 have been over the rehabilitation of cadres who were removed during the Cultural Revolution and over the role to be assigtfcd to those who rose to power at their expense.