All the president's men: Xi Jinping reveals China's top leaders
President Xi Jinping has unveiled the list of the top leaders who have been selected to be part of the highest decision-making body of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), the Politburo. Alongside Xi as General Secretary, the selected members will be calling the shots in the world's second-largest economy for the next five years. Who are Xi's right hand men? Read on to know.
The Politburo is a powerful body consisting of 25 members who oversee the activities of the CPC. Power is further centralized within the 7-member Politburo Standing Committee. The procedure involved in selecting members to the standing committee is highly secretive.
Li Zhanshu, who previously served as Xi's chief of staff, was chosen as the director of the party's general office. Wang Yang and Wang Huning were chosen as vice-premier and director of the party's central policy research office, respectively. Zhao Leji will be in charge of Xi's corruption watchdog while Shanghai party leader Han Zheng also found a place. Li Keqiang continues as premier.
Xi shattered expectations in not selecting Chen Min'er, the Chongqing city party secretary, and Hu Chunwa, the Guangdong province party chief, to the standing committee. Both are young Politburo leaders. He also broke tradition in not outlining a clear successor to his position. Observers speculate that Xi might want to delay announcing a successor by choosing members who are likely to retire by 2022.
Xi's men have numerous internal and external challenges ahead of them. Two of their biggest tasks could be tackling China's economic slowdown and the nuclear threat from North Korea. Former Indian envoy to China, AK Kantha believes that Xi also views the present as an opportune time to bolster China's influence over the Asia-Pacific with the US not paying much attention to the region.
"Xi will continue his rule-by-suppression in the country, comprehensively controlling the society, and cracking down on any social forces that dare challenge the CPC... human rights situation will continue to worsen," said Gao Wenqian, senior policy adviser, at the New York-based Human Rights in China.