STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY
The Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party is the country’s effective ruling body. It is headed by the President and used to have nine members but in November 2012 the number was reduced to seven.
The Politburo (Political Bureau) is made up primarily of long-time party faithful who have various titles which often have little relation to how much power they possess. It has 24 members and one alternate. The powerful State Council is China’s highest administrative body. The equivalent of the Cabinet, it make proposals to the Standing Committee of the Politburo and is appointed National People’s Congress (NPC). Other top leaders include ministry heads, provincial leaders and mayors of major cities. A dark blue suit with a red tie is the standard attire for these top party officials.
Of the seven members of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee that served with Xi Jinping between 2012 and 2017, only Xi and Premier Li Keqiang, with whom Xi doesn’t always see eye-to-eye, have remained. In 2017, Xi placed trusted lieutenants into the party’s top bodies, including the Politburo Standing Committee when five of the seven members at that time, by custom, stepped down. [Source: Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press, October 24, 2016]
In October 2017, the 19th Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) took office. Five of the previous PSC members retired having exceeded the age of 67 at the time of the party congress.
19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (2017)
Li Keqiang. No.2
See Separate article on himThe members of the Politburo Standing Committee were announced at the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, held at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, between October 18 and 24,2017. A total of 2,280 delegates represented the party's estimated 89 million members were on hand. The next party congress, the 20th, will be in 2022. [Source: Wikipedia]
The 19th National Congress endorsed the membership list of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and elected the Central Committee, which in turn approved the members of the Politburo and its Standing Committee. Five members of the 18th Politburo Standing Committee left the body due to having reached retirement age, and five new members joined the 19th Standing Committee: Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng.
Rowan Callick wrote in The Australian: “64 year-old Xi has hand-picked alongside him a team also in their 60s — thus containing no one eligible at the next congress in 2022 to serve the traditional two terms. Xi adhered at this congress to the party convention of people retiring at 68, farewelling his closest political ally Wang Qishan. All of the new standing committee members would thus be too old for 10 years’ leadership after 2022, leaving the succession question in abeyance for at least five years. “Xi’s reinforced post-congress authority springs in part from the party’s placing his Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era on a par with Mao Zedong Thought, and above Deng Xiaoping Theory. Now, to criticise Xi is to criticise the party’s rule. [Source: Rowan Callick, The Australian, October 28, 2017]
The new members of the Standing Committee were led out by Xi to the central stage “to stand in front of a massive painting of the Great Wall as one of the Magnificent Seven, only a step below the “Chairman of Everything”, Xi himself. Xi relished the moment, appearing more relaxed than the expressionless figure who had dominated the great ritual opening and closing of the congress — and who alone of China’s senior figures did not use glasses to read.Introducing his team, Xi reeled off the statistics of those who had congratulated him and the party, including 814 foreign leaders, among them Donald Trump.”
During the congress, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, was written into the party's constitution. It marked the first time since Mao Zedong Thought that a living party leader has enshrined into the party constitution an ideology named after himself. The Congress also emphasized strengthening socialism with Chinese characteristics, party-building, socialist rule of law, and setting concrete timelines for achieving development goals, such as building a moderately prosperous society and achieving "socialist modernization." It was also noted for rallying China to play a more substantial role internationally. The congress was also notable for the consolidation of power under Xi Jinping, marked by the removal of term limits from the Chinese constitution.
Current Member of the Standing Committee
The current members of the Standing Committee are as follows. 1) Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Chairman of the Central Military Commission of CPC, President of the People's Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of PRC. He was born in Beijing. His NPC Constituency is Inner Mongolia at-large. He has been a member of the Standing Committe since October 22, 2007. [Source: Wikipedia]
2) Li Keqiang is Party Secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China and Premier of the People's Republic of China. His NPC Constituency is Guangxi at-large. He has been a member of the Standing Committe since October 22, 2007.
3), Li Zhanshu is Party Secretary of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. He was born in Pingshan County, Hebei. His NPC Constituency is Jiangxi at-large. He has been a member of the Standing Committe since October 25, 2017.
4) Wang Yang is Party Secretary of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He was born in Suzhou, Anhui. His NPC Constituency is Sichuan at-large. He has been a member of the Standing Committe since October 25, 2017.
5) Wang Huning is the Top-ranked Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CPC. He was born in Shanghai. His NPC Constituency is Hebei at-large. He has been a member of the Standing Committe since October 25, 2017.
6) Zhao Leji is Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. He was born in Xining, Qinghai. His NPC Constituency is Heilongjiang at-large. He has been a member of the Standing Committe since October 25, 2017.
7) Han Zheng is Deputy Party Secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China and First Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China. He was born in Shanghai. His NPC Constituency is Shaanxi at-large. He has been a member of the Standing Committe since October 25, 2017.
Li Zhanshu: China’s No. 3
Li Zhanshu (born August 30, 1950) began his political career in rural regions of his native Hebei province, rising through the ranks as the Communist Party Secretary of Xi'an, Governor of Heilongjiang province, and the Party Secretary of Guizhou province. In 2012, he became chief of the General Office of the Communist Party of China. Following the 18th Party Congress, Li became one of the top advisors to party General Secretary Xi Jinping. He is regarded by the media as a senior member of "Xi Jinping Clique", one of the main political factions within the Chinese Communist Party. [Source: Wikipedia]
Li became a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1975. He started his career as an ordinary functionary in the capital of his home province, Shijiazhuang, working as an office worker for the Shijiazhuang commercial bureau and the Shijiazhuang party committee. In 1980, Li studied night school at the Hebei Normal University. After graduating, he was promoted to Party Secretary of Wuji County at around the same time, the party chief of neighbouring Zhengding County was Xi Jinping. For the next decade, Li took on progressively senior roles in Hebei province, including deputy party chief and Commissioner of Shijiazhuang prefecture (not equivalent to mayor), head of the provincial Communist Youth League organization, Commissioner of Chengde prefecture, member of the Party Standing Committee of Hebei and Secretary-General of the provincial party committee. In a leaked US Diplomatic cable from 2008, Li told US diplomats that he had the "unwelcome distinction" of leading the first CYL delegation to the US following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
In September 2018, Li acted as special representative to General Secretary Xi Jinping on a visit to North Korea to participate in the 70th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Regarding his work, Li claims to abide by a "three-nos" principle: they are: "no messing around with other people, no playing games, no loafing on the job."In November 2020, following the expulsion of 4 pro-democracy lawmakers in the Hong Kong Legislative Council, Li defended the expulsion and said the decision was both "necessary" and "appropriate."
Li's great-uncle Li Zaiwen (1908–1967) served as Vice Governor of Shandong province. Li's wife, Wang Jinfeng was born on October 30, 1953. Li's eldest daughter, Li Qianxin (born 1982), also known as Naomi Li, has been reported by Chinese-language media as being active in Hong Kong, and is one of the Vice-Chairs of the Hua Jing Society, a youth organization promoting mainland-Hong Kong cooperation. Li Qianxin reportedly bought a townhouse in Hong Kong's Stanley Beach for $15 million in 2013. Her husband, Chua Hwa Por (born 1985) owned a racehorse called Limitless, and also took over a company named Tai United in early 2017, when he was appointed as chairman. Under his supervision, Tai United bought a large share in the Peninsula Hotel, as well as the entire 79th floor of a Hong Kong skyscraper. Li's youngest daughter, Li Duoxi (born 1987) works at Deutsche Bank.
Wang Yang: Made a Name for Himself in Guangdong
Wang Yang (born March 5, 1955) is perhaps the most recognizable face in the Standing Committee after Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. He is seen as one of the leading reformers in China's top leadership, and is often credited with pioneering the Guangdong model of development, characterized by an emphasis on private enterprise, economic growth and a greater role for civil society. He is widely considered to be one of the most strongly 'liberal' members of the Chinese elite, advocating for economic and political reform. Wang was one of the four Vice Premiers of China in Premier Li Keqiang Cabinet between 2013 and 2018. He served as the party secretary of Chongqing, an interior municipality, from 2005 to 2007. Wang also held a seat on the Politburo of the Communist Party of China beginning in 2007. [Source: Wikipedia]
Wang Yang was the provincial party leader of Guangdong from 2007 to 2012. Keith B. Richburg wrote in the Washington Post Wang “has been seen as one of the country’s leading economic reformers, presiding over one of China’s most affluent, vibrant provinces that was the first to benefit from the liberalization policies begun in 1979. Wang made significant concessions to end an uprising in Wukan in 2011, including an agreement that freezes the disputed land deals, releases jailed villagers from custody and reportedly sacks some local officials. The uprising in Wukan, along with recent labor strikes and a protest in a coastal town called Haimen, is seen by some as a challenge to the Guangdong model at a time when Bo Xilai, the party chief in Chongqing and a rival to Wang, has been critical of the “liberal approach.” [Source: Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post, December 23, 2011]
“For months, Wang and Bo have been engaged in a rare public debate over whose methods and models are best for China. With its atmosphere of relative openness, including the country’s first publicly available provincial budget, Guangdong has been hailed by some as a template for others. For his part, Bo has championed an approach that emphasizes efforts to reverse income inequality. “Some people in China have indeed become rich first, so we must seek the realization of common prosperity,” Bo was quoted as saying in July. A week later, Wang said in Guangdong that “division of the cake is not a priority right now. The priority is to make the cake bigger.”
Wang was born in Suzhou, Anhui, to an ordinary urban working-class family. His father was a manual labourer. Between 1972 and 1976, he worked as a food processing factory hand before being promoted to supervisor. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1975. He subsequently joined the local Party School as an instructor, before going on to study political economics at the dawn of Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms at the Central Party School in 1979. He returned to his hometown as a party policy instructor before joining the local Communist Youth League organization – where he would ascend to the provincial organization by 1984.His first tenure with civil administration was in Tongling, Anhui, beginning in 1988.
A New York Times investigation in 2019 reported that Wang's only child, Wang Xisha, was hired in 2010 by Deutsche Bank partly because of her father's connections. In particular, it was mentioned by an employee at the bank during her application process that Wang Xisha would "have access" to a state-owned automaker in Guangzhou, where Wang Yang was a top government official. In 2020, Wang Xisha was mentioned again by the New York Times, where it was reported that she bought a US$2 million home in Hong Kong in 2010.
Wang Huning: Unknown Intellectual and Ideology Mastermind
After Wang Huning was named to the Standing Committee, Rowan Callick wrote in The Australian: ““He is the figure behind President Xi -Jinping’s catchphrase the “China Dream”, and behind theoretical constructs also of his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, who sat on either side of Xi at the opening and closing this week of the five-yearly party -national congress. Wang, a former academic at Shanghai’s Fudan university, and Premier Li Keqiang — who helped translate into Chinese The Due Process of Law by British jurist Lord Alfred Denning — are the two members of the new standing committee who might be -perceived as intellectuals. The other five members, including Xi, had their education disrupted by the Cultural Revolution, and so ended up studying at night school, majoring in political subjects such as, in Xi’s case, Marxism. [Source: Rowan Callick, The Australian, October 28, 2017]
“Haig Patapan and Wang Yi of Griffith University say that as a political adviser, Wang has come to exert unprecedented authority. Such authority is set to continue since 64 year-old Xi has hand-picked alongside him a team also in their 60s — thus containing no one eligible at the next congress in 2022 to serve the traditional two terms.
“Wang, 62, can be credited with helping arm Xi with the “thought” that has elevated him. He grew up in Shanghai with the “red blood” of communist -cadres, of a family originally from Shandong, birthplace province of Confucius. At 30 Wang became Fudan’s youngest ever professor. He led Fudan to victory in the -televised final of an Asia-Pacific debating contest in Singapore, watched by millions. He wrote a series of books on politics and economic reform. The then-president Jiang, whose power base was Shanghai, asked Wang in 1995 to come to Beijing to head the party’s central policy -research office, quoting from his books during their conversation.
“Wang stressed the role of politics, and not just the conventional Marxist focus on economics, in determining social development. In a paper published in the Journal of Contemporary China, Patapan and Wang Yi say Wang maintains that political reform should not be pursued at the expense of stability. While Wang resists the label, they say, his views have been characterised as “new authoritarianism”.
“Xi swiftly adopted Wang’s concepts of “ecological development” and of the need to tackle intertwined indiscipline and corruption. Working deep inside Beijing’s leadership compound of Zhongnanhai since 1995, Wang has transformed himself into a powerful political figure in his own right, not just a traditional “high-level official who counsels the emperor”, they say — one with the remarkable ability to survive two leadership transitions.
“This week he graduated decisively from the adviser who governs indirectly to one who has stepped onto the central stage, led out by Xi to stand in front of a massive painting of the Great Wall as one of the Magnificent Seven, only a step below the “Chairman of Everything”, Xi himself, whose elevation Wang did so much to help engineer.
Zhao (born March 8, 1957) is head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's top anti-corruption body. In his earlier political career, he served as the Communist Party Secretary of Qinghai, the party secretary of Shaanxi, and the head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China. He entered the Politburo in 2012 and was promoted to the Standing Committee five years later. [Source: Wikipedia]
Zhao Leji was born in Xining, Qinghai province. His parents were from Xi'an, Shaanxi province. The family moved to Qinghai as part of the aid the frontiers programs of the Mao years. During the later years of the Cultural Revolution, Zhao went to the countryside to perform manual labour on a commune. After working there for about a year, Zhao returned to the city to become a communications assistant at the Commerce Department of Qinghai province.
Zhao joined the Communist Party in 1975 and entered Peking University in 1977 as a gongnongbing student; he studied philosophy there until January 1980. He then spent three years teaching at the Qinghai School of Commerce and overseeing the Communist Youth League wing of the provincial department of commerce. In 1985, he was transferred to a Qinghai-based metal products company to be its party chief. In April 1986, he became deputy head of the provincial department of commerce.
Zhao entered the provincial government in 1993, becoming part of the inner circle of then Qinghai party secretary Yin Kesheng. He was then elevated to vice-governor, then Communist Party Secretary of his hometown Xining. He acceded to the post of governor in 1999 at age 42, becoming the youngest provincial governor in the country at the time. In 2007, Zhao was transferred to become party secretary in his parents' home province of Shaanxi, having taken on the top jobs in both his 'native' province and the province of his birth, breaking an unspoken rule in the Communist Party that party chiefs should never hail from the province they are native to.
Han Zheng (born April 22, 1954) has been leader of the Central Leading Group on Hong Kong and Macau Affairs since April 2018. He served as Mayor of Shanghai between 2003 and 2012. In November 2012, he was promoted to become the Party Secretary of Shanghai, the top political post in the city, and also gained a seat on the CCP Politburo. Han was once considered a member of the Shanghai clique, headed by former Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin. [Source: Wikipedia]
He was born in Shanghai, but traces his ancestry to Cixi, in neighbouring Zhejiang province. He began work as a labourer at a warehouse in the latter years of the Cultural Revolution. He joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1979. He then worked at a chemical equipment company in an administrative role. Beginning in 1986, Han began working as a senior administrator at the municipal chemical engineering college, then worked as party secretary at the Shanghai Rubber Shoe Factory. By 1988, Han oversaw the party organization at the Shanghai Greater China Rubber Shoe Factory, and was praised by then Shanghai mayor Zhu Rongji.
In June 1990, Han officially entered the Communist Youth League organization of Shanghai, and would rise to become its deputy secretary in charge of day-to-day work, then elevated to secretary (head) in 1991. In November 1992 he was named governor of Luwan District.In July 1995, Han was named deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai municipal government, during which he was in charge of a committee on the economy, the municipal planning commission, and the director of the office in charge of securities regulations. In December 1997, he was named a member of the municipal Party Standing Committee for the first time, entering sub-provincial ranks. In February 1998 he was named vice-mayor of Shanghai; in May 2002 he was named Deputy Party Secretary of Shanghai.
Standing Committee from 2012 to 2017
At the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, Politburo Standing Committee—the party's top decision-making body—was officially reduced from nine members to seven. It’s line-up was announced at same time Xi Jinping was named China’s new leader. In addition to Xi the other six members are: 1) Li Keqiang, the presumptive premier and chief economic official; 2) Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang; 3) Shanghai party secretary Yu Zhengsheng; 4) propaganda chief Liu Yunshan; 5) Tianjin party secretary Zhang Gaoli; and 6) Vice Premier Wang Qishan, once the leadership's top troubleshooter, who was named earlier to head the party's internal watchdog panel.
Ian Johnson wrote in the New York Times in 2012, “Mr. Xi is 59 and his No. 2, Li Keqiang, who is expected to take control of the bureaucratic apparatus of government as prime minister next spring, is 57. But the other five members are all in their mid-60s. Under the party’s internal rules, that means they are all likely to retire at the next party congress in five years. Given the intensely consuming task of negotiating top leadership slots among competing factions, finding suitable replacements for these five could take up much of Mr. Xi’s time and political capital. The other members of the Standing Committee are Zhang Dejiang, 65; Liu Yunshan, 65; Wang Qishan, 64; Yu Zhengsheng, 67; and Zhang Gaoli, 65. [Source: Ian Johnson, New York Times, November 15, 2012]
“This is quite a mediocre lineup, and we’ll have to wait and see what they do,” Pu Zhiqiang, a Beijing-based lawyer who often handles human rights cases, told the New York Times. “The way of Chinese politics means that their past performances don’t show what they’ll do in the future.” Another problem is that the leadership reflects the strong hand of Mr. Hu’s predecessor, Jiang Zemin. Although Mr. Jiang, 86, retired a decade ago, he has close ties with at least four of the seven members. That means he was able to override Mr. Hu and place his people in top slots even though he has no formal position in the party. “The bad news from looking at the political system is that it really seems to have thrown a wrench in our understanding of institutionalization,” said Joseph Fewsmith, a professor at Boston University who specializes in Chinese politics. “This whole institutional idea that people retire and then don’t play much of a role seems to have been pretty well demolished.”
Christopher Bodeen of AP wrote: “In all, at least four of the new leaders have solid communist pedigrees, a sign that 63 years after the revolution that brought the party to power, a new class of "red nobility" is entrenched. Powerbrokers have placed the party into their loyal hands as it confronts public outrage over a wide rich-poor gap and the corruption and privileges that have enriched the elite. The new lineup is heavy on conservatives and leaves out reform-minded politicians who are allies of Hu, suggesting the leadership is unlikely to significantly liberalise the authoritarian government. [Source: Christopher Bodeen, AP, November 15, 2012]
Except for Xi and Li, who are both in their 50s, the rest of the leaders are in their 60s and will reach the party's unofficial retirement age by the time of the next congress in five years, likely leading to continued political infighting. "Political reform will be put on the back burner," said Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "Politically it will be frozen. It will be totally frozen."
Having so many members loyal to Jiang Zemin, will force Xi to forge coalitions to get things done. Getting their team in place will take the better part of a year. Hu still holds the largely ceremonial role of state president, which he is not expected to relinquish until the party-controlled legislature meets in March 2012 and appoints leading officials in the State Council, the Cabinet.
Princelings Versus the Communist Youth League
Li Keqiang Many say the struggle for power in China during the past decade has been a battle between the Communist Youth League (CYL) faction and the Princeling faction. Some see the ascension of Xi Jinping and Li Keqas as an attempt to harmonize the Youth League group and the Princeling group. Li represents the Communist Youth League group. They are generally trained in law and social science and have experience working in rural areas, and seek to help people in area left out of rapid economic growth. Xi represents the elitist Princeling group, many are offspring of former senior officials. They have backgrounds in engineering, trade and finance and have generally worked in cities or the coastal areas. Their main interest is economic growth and maintaining the current status quo.
The emergence of the Youth League group and the Princeling group and the attempt to develop them, balance and harmonize them and foster competition between them is seen by some as a sign that the party is growing and adapting and dealing with change and discord and improving their ability to govern.
Willy Lam wrote in China Brief: Bad blood between the Hu-led CYL faction and the so-called Gang of Princelings goes back a long way. At the 17th Party Congress in 2007, Hu’s original plan of anointing Vice Premier Li Keqiang—a former CYL Party Secretary—as his own successor was foiled by an apparent collusion between the Gang of Princelings and the Shanghai Faction, many of whom are also high-born officials. As a result of this unexpected development, Xi Jinping was confirmed “crown prince “at the conclave. It is also well-known that Hu does not approve of the changhong shenanigans in Chongqing. The general secretary has not visited Chongqing since Bo’s appointment as the party secretary of the western metropolis in late 2007. [Source: Willy Lam, China Brief (Jamestown Foundation), March 2, 2012]
Princelings, Mao Revivalism and and the Power Shuffle Before 2012
In April 2011 the Economist reported that a heavy-handed crackdown on dissidents and cultural figures ‘suggests that shifting forces within the Chinese leadership could well be playing a part. China is entering a period of heightened political uncertainty as it prepares for changes in many top positions in the Communist Party, government and army, beginning late next year. This is the first transfer of power after a decade of rapid social change. Within the state, new interest groups have emerged. These are now struggling to set the agenda for China’s new rulers. [Source: The Economist, April 14, 2011]
“Particularly conspicuous are the “princelings “such as Vice-President Xi Jinping, President Hu Jintao’s son, Hu Haifeng, who headed a big provider of airport scanners; and Wen Yunsong, a financier who is the son of Wen Jiabao, the prime minister. Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, argues that a shared need to protect their interests binds these princelings together, especially at a time of growing public resentment against nepotism. Since a Politburo reshuffle in 2007, princelings have occupied seven out of 25 seats, up from three in 2002.”
Hu Muying, a daughter of Mao’s secretary, Hu Qiaomu, a Politburo hardliner in the 1980s who died in 1992. She is regarded as leader of princelings. In a speech in February 2011 she declared: “We are the red descendants, the descendants of the revolution. So we have no choice but to be concerned about the fate of our party, state and people. We cannot turn our backs on the crisis the party faces.”
“The Maoists’ lingering influence has been evident for the past couple of years in the south-western (and Scotland-sized) municipality of Chongqing. There, one of the country’s most powerful princelings, Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s party secretary, has been waging a remarkable campaign to revive Maoist culture. It includes getting people to sing Mao-era “red songs “and sending text messages with reams of Mao quotations. A local television channel has even started airing “revolutionary programming “at prime time. Last year Chongqing’s fawning media ascribed a woman’s recovery from severe depression to her singing Mao-vintage songs.”
“Few people—certainly not Mr Bo or other contenders for power—are calling for a return to Maoist despotism and an end to market economics. What worries many liberals, however, is that they share Mao’s high-handed approach to the law. In Chongqing a sweeping campaign against the city’s mafia-like gangs and their official protectors has won Mr Bo many plaudits in the state-controlled press. But the jailing of a defense lawyer for one of the mobsters, for allegedly trying to persuade the accused to give false testimony, has led many to worry that Chongqing’s courts will do anything to prevent lawyers from challenging the prosecution. He Weifang, a prominent legal expert at Peking University, wrote this week that recent events in Chongqing “threatened the basic principles of a society under the rule of law”.
No. 3: Zhang Dejiang from 2012 to 2017
The BBC reported: “A vice premier who was called on to run the mega-city of Chongqing after the ouster of the ambitious but tainted Bo Xilai, Zhang is seen as a capable, low-key administrator. The son of a former army general, Zhang, 66, ran two economic powerhouse provinces and oversaw safety issues in recent years as a vice-premier. A Korean speaker, Zhang studied economics at North Korea's Kim Il Sung University and is an ally of party elder Jiang Zemin. [Source: BBC]
AP reported: “Zhang Dejiang was chosen by China's leaders for their toughest assignment of 2012, taking over as party chief of Chongqing after the fall of Bo Xilai. It cemented his reputation as a trouble-shooter who could be relied on to manage a crisis, and suggested he was set for the very top. While many of China's new leaders have dealings with the West, Mr Zhang is an expert on a China's oldest ally, North Korea, and even spent two years studying economics in Pyongyang. [Source: BBC]
Zhang, son of a PLA major-general, started his party career on the North Korean border, before being moved to Zhejiang and then working as party secretary in Guangdong between 2002 and 2007. His term was not free from controversy. When SARS broke out in the province in 2002, the government was slow to respond. Mr Zhang was heavily criticised. His tough stance towards protestors and journalists was also unpopular. He is not known to be a reformer, and opposed allowing businessmen to join the party.
According to China.org, the Chinese Communist Party’s website: Zhang Dejiang, born in November 1946, is a male ethnic Han from Tai'an, Liaoning Province. He entered the workforce in November 1968 and joined the CPC in January 1971. He graduated from the Department of Economics at Kim Il Sung University in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and has a university education. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, vice premier of the State Council and member of its Leading Party Members' Group.
Zhang Dejiang political career in the 1970s: 1) 1968-1970 Educated youth, Taiping Brigade, Luozigou Commune, Wangqing County, Jilin Province; 2) 1970-1972 Administrative secretary, Publicity Group; and secretary, CYL Branch; of the Wangqing County Revolutionary Committee, Jilin Province; 3) 1972-1975 Student of Korean language, Department of Korean Language, Yanbian University; 4) 1975-1978 Deputy secretary, General Party Branch, Department of Korean Language; member, Standing Committee, Party Committee; and vice chairman, Revolutionary Committee; of Yanbian University; 5) 1978-1980 Student, Department of Economics; and secretary, Party Branch of Chinese Students; of Kim Il Sung University, DPRK.
Zhang Dejiang political career in the 1980s: 1) 1980-1983 Member, Standing Committee, Party Committee; and vice president; of Yanbian University; 2) 1983-1985 Deputy secretary, CPC Yanji Municipal Committee; member, Standing Committee, CPC Yanbian Prefectural Committee; and concurrently deputy secretary, CPC Yanji Municipal Committee; of Jilin Province; 3) 1985-1986 Deputy secretary, CPC Yanbian Prefectural Committee, Jilin Province; 4) 1986-1990 Vice minister; and deputy secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Zhang Dejiang political career in the 1990s and 2000s: 1) 1990-1995 Deputy secretary, CPC Jilin Provincial Committee; secretary, CPC Yanbian Prefectural Committee; 2) 1995-1998 Secretary, CPC Jilin Provincial Committee; chairman, Standing Committee, Jilin Provincial People's Congress; 3) 1998-2002 Secretary, CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee; 4) 2002-2007 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; secretary, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; 5) 2007-2008 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; 6) 2008-2012 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; vice premier; member, Leading Party Members' Group; of the State Council; and concurrently secretary, CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee (03/2012); 7) 2012- Member, Standing Committee, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; vice premier; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of the State Council Alternate member, Fourteenth CPC Central Committee; member, Fifteenth through Eighteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Political Bureau, Sixteenth and Seventeenth CPC Central Committees; member, Political Bureau and its Standing Committee, Eighteenth CPC Central Committee.
No. 4 Yu Zhengsheng from 2012 to 2017
The BBC reported:Yu Zhengsheng , 67, is a member of the red elite, but with a problematic family history. His brother, an official in the secret police, defected to the U.S. in the mid-1980s. Yu's pedigree helped salvage his career. His father was the ex-husband of a woman who later married Mao Zedong. A missile engineer by training, Yu has run the financial hub of Shanghai since 2007. His family connections to patriarch Deng Xiaoping kept his name in the running for promotion to the top leadership. [Source: BBC]
AP reported: “Yu Zhengsheng is party chief of Shanghai, China's largest city. A 'princeling' with close ties to both former president Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, he also has links to the late Deng Xiaoping's family. Unusually, his political career survived his brother's defection to the US in the mid-1980s, possibly thanks to the backing of Deng's disabled son. Mr Yu's father was briefly married to Jiang Qing, who later became notorious as Madam Mao.
Mr Yu graduated from the Military Engineering Institute in Harbin, specialising in ballistic missiles, and worked in electronic engineering until the mid-1980s. He later worked as mayor and party chief of the eastern city of Qingdao and was credited with helping launch two of China's best-known brands overseas - Tsingtao beer and Haier appliances.Mr Yu prefers to travel in a simple car without a motorcade, and surrounds himself with few bodyguards, it was revealed in leaked diplomatic cables from 2007. Mr Yu has talked about tensions between urban development and the environment. [Source: AP]
According to China.org, the Chinese Communist Party’s website: Yu Zhengsheng, born in April 1945, is a male ethnic Han from Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province. He entered the workforce in August 1963 and joined the CPC in November 1964. He graduated from the Department of Missile Engineering at the Harbin Military Engineering Institute with a major in automatic control systems of ballistic missiles. He is an engineer. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
Yu Zhengsheng’s political career in the 1960s and 1970s: 1) 1963-1968 Student of automatic control systems of ballistic missiles, Department of Missile Engineering, Harbin Military Engineering Institute; 2) 1968-1971 Technician, Zhangjiakou No. 6 Radio Factory, Hebei Province; 3) 1971-1975 Technician and leader, Qiaoxi Radio Factory, Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province; 4) 1975-1981 Technician and engineer, Research Institute for Promotion and Application of Electronic Technology, Fourth Ministry of Machine-Building Industry.
Yu Zhengsheng’s political career in the 1980s: 1) 1981-1982 Assistant chief engineer, Research Institute for Promotion and Application of Electronic Technology, Fourth Ministry of Machine-Building Industry; 2) 1982-1984 Deputy director, Research Institute for Promotion and Application of Electronic Technology, Ministry of Electronics Industry; Chief, No.2 Systems Section; assistant chief engineer; and concurrently director, Department of Microcomputer Management; of the Administration for Computer Industry; Deputy director, Planning Department; of the Ministry of Electronics Industry; 3) 1984-1985 Chief; vice chairman, executive council; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of the China Welfare Fund for Disabled Persons (December 1984: departmental-bureau level; January - March 1985: acting general manager, China Kanghua Industrial Company Ltd.); 4) 1985-1987 Deputy secretary, CPC Yantai Municipal Committee, Shandong Province; 5) 1987-1989 Deputy secretary, CPC Yantai Municipal Committee, Shandong Province; mayor, Yantai Municipal People's Government, Shandong Province;
Yu Zhengsheng’s political career in the 1990s and 2000s: 1) 1989-1992 Deputy secretary, CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee, Shandong Province; deputy mayor and mayor, Qingdao Municipal People's Government, Shandong Province; 2) 1992-1994 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Shandong Provincial Committee; secretary, CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee; mayor, Qingdao Municipal People's Government; 3) 1994-1997 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Shandong Provincial Committee; secretary, CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee; 4) 1997-1998 Secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; and vice minister; of the Ministry of Construction; 5) 1998-2001 Minister; and secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Ministry of Construction; 6) 2001-2002 Secretary, CPC Hubei Provincial Committee; 7) 2002-2003 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; secretary, CPC Hubei Provincial Committee; chairman, Standing Committee, Hubei Provincial People's Congress; 8) 2003-2007 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; secretary, CPC Hubei Provincial Committee; 9) 2007-2008 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; secretary, CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee; 10) 2008-2011 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; secretary, CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee; first executive deputy director, Organizing Committee; and director, Executive Committee; for Shanghai 2010 World Expo; 11) 2011-2012 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; secretary, CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee; 11) 2012- Member, Standing Committee, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee.
Alternate member, Fourteenth CPC Central Committee; member, Fifteenth through Eighteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Political Bureau, Sixteenth through Eighteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Standing Committee, Political Bureau, Eighteenth CPC Central Committee.
No. 5 Liu Yunshan from 2012 to 2017
AP reported:Liu Yunshan, 55, is head of the party's propaganda department, the body which strictly controls the country's media and polices the internet. He worked in Inner Mongolia for almost three decades from 1968, after being sent there as a young man to work in a commune. He later became a Xinhua news agency reporter, public relations specialist, and finally deputy party secretary. [Source: AP]
Born in Xinzhou, Shanxi, he joined the party in 1971 and was a graduate of the Party School. He worked with President Hu Jintao at the party youth league and is seen as a close ally. Mr Liu's son, Liu Lefei, is a prominent private equity investor. Mr Liu is expected to take over the propaganda portfolio. He is likely to maintain China's heavy-handed media censorship and intolerance of criticism, a system which sees thousands of people police internet content. Mr Liu has expressed concern over the growing numbers of Chinese using online forums to criticise the government.
The BBC reported: “As head of the party's Propaganda Department for the past 10 years, Liu has tightened controls over domestic media even as he encouraged big state media to expand overseas to purvey the government's line. Liu, 65, rose through the ranks in Inner Mongolia. He has a foot in each of two political camps. He started his career in the Youth League, outgoing President Hu Jintao's power base, but in the past decade also served a conservative ideology czar who was a staunch supporter of party elder Jiang. [Source: BBC]
According to China.org, the Chinese Communist Party’s website: Liu Yunshan, born in July 1947, is a male ethnic Han from Xinzhou, Shanxi Province. He entered the workforce in September 1966 and joined the CPC in April 1971. He received a university education at the Central Party School. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and member of its Secretariat.
Liu Yunshan’s career in the 1960s and 1970s: 1) 1964-1968 Student, Jining Teachers' College, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; 2) 1968-1969 Teacher, Bashi School, Tumd Left Banner; and worker, Sobugai Commune, Tumd Right Banner; of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; 3) 1969-1975 Administrative secretary, Publicity Department, CPC Tumd Right Banner Committee, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; 4) 1975-1982 Reporter and deputy chief, Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Section; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Inner Mongolia Bureau of Xinhua News Agency (March - August 1981: student, Central Party School).
Liu Yunshan’s political career in the 1980s: 1) 1982-1984 Deputy secretary of the CYL Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee and of its Leading Party Members' Group; 2) 1984-1986 Deputy head, Publicity Department, CPC Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee; 3) 1986-1987 Member, Standing Committee; and head, Publicity Department; of the CPC Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee; 4) 1987-1991 Member, Standing Committee; and secretary-general; of the CPC Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee; secretary, Working Committee of Organs Directly under the CPC Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee.
Liu Yunshan’s political career in the 1990s and 2000s: 1) 1991-1992 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee; secretary, CPC Chifeng Municipal Committee; 2) 1992-1993 Deputy secretary, CPC Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee; and concurrently secretary, CPC Chifeng Municipal Committee (1989-1992: student of Party and government administration, Correspondence School, Central Party School); 3) 1993-1997 Deputy head, Publicity Department, CPC Central Committee; 4) 1997-2002 Deputy head, Publicity Department, CPC Central Committee (October 1997: ministerial level); head, General Office, Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress; 5) 2002-2012 Member, Political Bureau; member, Secretariat; and head, Publicity Department; of the CPC Central Committee; 6) 2012- Member, Standing Committee, Political Bureau; member, Secretariat.
Alternate member, Twelfth and Fourteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Fifteenth through Eighteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Political Bureau and Secretariat, Sixteenth through Eighteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Standing Committee, Political Bureau, Eighteenth CPC Central Committee.
No. 6 Wang Qishan from 2012 to 2017
The BBC reported: “A technocrat with deep experience in finance and trade issues, Wang Qishan is a vice premier and a top troubleshooter. Over his career, Wang cleaned up collapsed investment firms in southern China, calmed Beijing amid the SARS pneumonia scare and, more recently, fended off U.S. pressure over China's currency policies. Son-in-law of a now-deceased conservative state planner, Wang would bring added experience on economic policy. [Source: BBC]
AP reported: “Wang Qishan is well known to Western leaders, a key figure in discussions about the global economy and China's economic links with the US. Henry Paulson, the former US treasury secretary, described him as 'decisive and inquisitive', and someone with a 'wicked sense of humour'. He is often compared to his political mentor, former premier Zhu Rongji, because both men are seen as dynamic and ready to challenge the status quo. Both even share the same nickname, 'fire brigade chief', because of their crisis management.
Mr Wang is a 'princeling', the son of a top official, and he is married to Yao Minshan, daughter of former vice-premier Yao Yilin. He joined the party relatively late, at age 35, and worked as a banker before being made mayor of Beijing in 2004. He took over at the height of the SARS crisis and was credited for a no-nonsense approach, enforcing a quarantine and working with the World Health Organisation. [Source: AP]
According to China.org, the Chinese Communist Party’s website: Wang Qishan, born in July 1948, is a male ethnic Han from Tianzhen, Shanxi Province. He entered workforce in January 1969 and joined the CPC in February 1983. He graduated from the University Regular Class at the Department of History at Northwest University, China, with a major in history. He is a senior economist. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, vice premier of the State Council and member of its Leading Party Members' Group.
Wang Qishan’s political career in the 1970s: 1) 1969-1971 Educated youth, Fengzhuang Commune, Yan'an County, Shaanxi Province; 2) 1971-1973 Worked at the Shaanxi Provincial Museum; 3) 1973-1976 Student of history, Department of History, Northwest University, China; 4) 1976-1979 Worked at the Shaanxi Provincial Museum; 5) 1979-1982 Intern researcher, Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Wang Qishan’s political career in the 1980s: 1) 1982-1986 Section chief and research fellow at the deputy bureau level, Rural Policy Research Office, Secretariat, CPC Central Committee; and deputy director, Liaison Office, Rural Development Research Center, State Council; 2) 1986-1988 Research fellow at the bureau level, Rural Policy Research Office, Secretariat, CPC Central Committee; director, Liaison Office, Rural Development Research Center, State Council; director, National Office for Pilot Areas of Rural Reform; acting director and director, Development Institute, Rural Development Research Center, State Council; 3) 1988-1989 General manager; and secretary, Party Committee; of China Rural Trust and Investment Corporation.
Wang Qishan’s political career in the 1980s and 1990s: 1) 1989-1993 Vice governor; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of People's Construction Bank of China (09/1992 - 11/1992: student, Further Studies Class for Provincial- and Ministerial-level Cadres, Central Party School); 2) 1993-1994 Vice governor; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of People's Bank of China; 3) 1994-1996 Governor; and secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of People's Construction Bank of China; 4) 1996-1997 Governor; and secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of China Construction Bank; 5) 1997-1998 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; 6) 1998-2000 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; vice governor, Guangdong Province.
Wang Qishan’s political career in the 2000s: 1) 2000-2002 Director; and secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Office for Economic Restructuring of the State Council; 2) 2002-2003 Secretary, CPC Hainan Provincial Committee; chairman, Standing Committee, Hainan Provincial People's Congress; 3) 2003-2004 Deputy secretary, CPC Beijing Municipal Committee; acting mayor, Beijing; executive chairman; and deputy secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad; 4) 2004-2007 Deputy secretary, CPC Beijing Municipal Committee; mayor, Beijing; executive chairman; and deputy secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad; 5) 2007-2008 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; 6) 2008-2011 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; vice premier; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of the State Council; chairman, Organizing Committee for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo; 7) 2011-2012 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; vice premier; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of the State Council; 8) 2012- Member, Standing Committee, Political Bureau; secretary, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection; vice premier; and member, Leading Party Members' Group; of the State Council.
Alternate member, Fifteenth CPC Central Committee; member, Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Political Bureau, Seventeenth CPC Central Committee; member, Political Bureau and its Standing Committee, Eighteenth CPC Central Committee; member, Standing Committee member and secretary, Eighteenth Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
No. 7: Zhang Gaoli from 2012 to 2017
AP reported: “Zhang Gaoli is party chief of Tianjin, a large and wealthy city east of Beijing. Born in Fujian, he graduated from Xiamen University after studying statistics and economics. He spent the early part of his career working in the oil industry, before becoming an official in the southern province of Guangdong in the mid-1980s. His career took off from 1998 as party boss of the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong.While overseeing the city's development, he also established close ties with former President Jiang Zemin and his supporters, a relationship which helped ensure Mr Zhang's promotion to governor of the province of Shandong in 2002. Mr Zhang has been a low-profile leader in Tianjin, and little is known about his views. [Source: AP]
The BBC reported: “A low-key technocrat who is said to adhere to the motto "Do more, speak less," Zhang has presided over the development boom in Tianjin and less successful efforts to turn the northern port city into a financial hub. Trained as an economist, Zhang rose through state oil-and-gas companies in the south before entering government service. He has served in a string of prosperous cities and provinces and is a protege of party elder Jiang.
According to China.org, the Chinese Communist Party’s website: Zhang Gaoli, born in November 1946, is a male ethnic Han from Jinjiang, Fujian Province. He entered the workforce in August 1970 and joined the CPC in December 1973. He graduated from the Department of Economics at Xiamen University with a major in planning and statistics. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
Zhang Gaoli’s political career in the 1970s and 80s: 1) 1965-1970 Student of planning and statistics, Department of Economics, Xiamen University; 2) 1970-1977 Worker; secretary, Office, Production Headquarters; secretary, the Communist Youth League (CYL) General Branch, Political Department; deputy secretary, CYL Committee; of the Guangdong Maoming Petroleum Company under the Ministry of Petroleum Industry; 3) 1977-1980 Secretary, CPC General Branch; and political instructor; of No.1 Workshop; and deputy secretary and secretary, Party Committee; Refinery, Guangdong Maoming Petroleum Company under the Ministry of Petroleum Industry; 4) 1980-1984 Member, Standing Committee, Party Committee; chief, Planning Section; and deputy manager; of Maoming Petroleum Industrial Company under the Ministry of Petroleum Industry; 5) 1984-1985 Deputy secretary, CPC Maoming Municipal Committee, Guangdong Province; manager, Maoming Petroleum Industrial Company, China Petroleum Chemicals Corporation; 6) 1985-1988 Director; and secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Guangdong Provincial Economic Commission.
Zhang Gaoli’s political career in the 1990s: 1) 1988-1992 Deputy governor, Guangdong Province (04/1990 - 07/1990: student, Further Studies Class for Provincial- and Ministerial-level Cadres, Central Party School); 2) 1992-1993 Deputy governor, Guangdong Province; director; and secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Guangdong Provincial Planning Commission; 3) 1993-1994 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; deputy governor, Guangdong Province; director; and secretary, Leading Party Members' Group; of the Guangdong Provincial Planning Commission; 4) 1994-1997 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; deputy governor, Guangdong Province; head, Leading Group for Planning and Coordination Work of the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone; 5) 1997-1998 Member, Standing Committee, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; deputy governor, Guangdong Province; secretary, CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee; 6) 1998-2000 Deputy secretary, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; secretary, CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee.
Zhang Gaoli’s political career in the 2000s: 1) 2000-2001 Deputy secretary, CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee; secretary, CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee; chairman, Standing Committee, Shenzhen Municipal People's Congress; 2) 2001-2002 Deputy secretary, CPC Shandong Provincial Committee; acting governor and governor, Shandong Province; 3) 2002-2003 Secretary, CPC Shandong Provincial Committee; governor, Shandong Province; 4) 2003-2007 Secretary, CPC Shandong Provincial Committee; chairman, Standing Committee, Shandong Provincial People's Congress; 6) 2007-2007 Secretary, CPC Tianjin Municipal Committee; 7) 2007-2012 Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee; secretary, CPC Tianjin Municipal Committee; 9) 2012- Member, Political Bureau, CPC Central Committee.
Alternate member, Fifteenth CPC Central Committee; member, Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth CPC Central Committees; member, Political Bureau, Seventeenth CPC Central Committee; member, Political Bureau and its Standing Committee, Eighteenth CPC Central Committee.
Meaning of China’s 2012 Leadership Change
Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times: “The ascension of Mr. Xi and other members of the “red nobility” to the top posts means that the so-called princelings have come into their own as a prominent political force. Because of their parentage, they believe themselves to be the heirs of the revolution that succeeded in 1949, endowed with the mandate of authority that that status confers. “I think the emphasis is on continuity over change this time around,” said Bo Zhiyue, a scholar of Chinese politics at the National University of Singapore. [Source: Edward Wong, November 14, 2012]
Mr. Xi is facing a growing chorus of calls from Chinese elites to support greater openness in China’s economic and political systems, which critics say have stagnated in the last decade under the departing party chief, Hu Jintao, despite the country’s emergence as the world’s second-largest economy and a growing regional power.
Mr. Hu’s abdication of the military chairmanship sets an important institutional precedent for future successions and may put his legacy in a more favorable light. In Chinese politics, retired leaders try to maximize their influence well into old age, either by clinging to titles or by making their opinions known on important decisions. Jiang Zemin, Mr. Hu’s predecessor as party chief and president, did both: he held on to the military post for two years after giving up his party title in 2002, which led to heightened friction within the party. And in recent months, he has worked to get his protégés installed on the standing committee, which is usually assembled through horse trading by party elders and leaders.
The committee was trimmed to seven members from nine. One reason for that change is that some party leaders, including Mr. Xi, believe that an overrepresentation of interests on the committee has led to gridlock in decision making. The smaller committee has also resulted in a downgrading of the party post that controls the security apparatus, which some officials asserted had grown too powerful.
The lineup is stocked with conservatives and older officials. An unspoken age limit for party leaders means that several of them will retire at the next party congress, in 2017, at which point Mr. Xi might have an opening to get other allies appointed. Xinhua announced that Mr. Wang is the new head of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, a group charged with investigating corruption and other infractions. For months, there was talk that Mr. Wang would get an economic portfolio, but he appears to have been pushed aside for that job, which some analysts have said bodes ill for further economic liberalization. But Mr. Wang’s network in the finance industry, where he has considerable experience, could be a powerful tool in corruption investigations.
Mr. Wang joins Mr. Xi as one of three or four princelings on the projected committee. The princelings are not a coherent political faction, and their ranks are rife with personal and ideological rivalries. Their family connections may mean a greater confidence with wielding power and pressing for bolder changes. At the same time, that class has grown wealthy off China’s political economy, in which officials and state-owned enterprises work together to reap benefits, often at the expense of private entrepreneurship. Even those princelings who support liberalizing the economy or the political system still believe in the primacy of the party, and their push for various reforms is seen as an effort to ensure the party’s survival.
“These people around Xi Jinping who advise him and with whom he’s close, they do want reform, but on the condition that they maintain the rule of the Communist Party,” said Zhang Lifan, a historian and son of a former minister. “They consider the Communist Party and its rule a heritage from their fathers. So they’re not willing to risk losing it. They have limitations on how far they want reform to go.”
Mr. Xi will have to spend his first years building a power base, limiting the opportunity to make major policy moves. He might, however, support a further opening of the economy in his first five-year term, some political insiders said. If he or other leaders want to experiment with the political system, they would do that in his second term, even though true economic changes need political transformations as well.
Image Sources: China.org, Wikimedia Commons
ext Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2021