MEET CHINA'S NEW RULING LINE-UP | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 26, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 26, 2017

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MEET CHINA'S NEW RULING LINE-UP

President Xi Jinping has unveiled a new lineup for China's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC), the ruling Communists' top decision-making body in a one-party political system. Here are the seven men (in order of their party seniority) who will rule 1.4 billion people for the next five years.

XI JINPING

Since Xi Jinping, 64, took over the party at its 18th National Congress in 2012, he has increasingly tightened his grip over the vast country, chairing numerous super-commissions that he created to take charge of both domestic and foreign policies. Already hailed as the most powerful -- and hardline -- Chinese leader in decades, Xi's re-election as the party's head, coupled with the fact that no apparent successors were named in the new PBSC, point to the growing possibility of him staying on beyond 2022.

 

 

LI KEQIANG

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has seen his political fortune fall -- and then rebound under Xi. China's No 2 leader, who runs the day-to-day operations of the government, is technically in charge of the world's second-largest economy but has long been overshadowed by his dominant and omnipresent boss. A trained economist, Li, 62, is often considered a reformer. He is all-but-certain to retain of his post.

 

 

LI ZHANSHU

Xi's right-hand man Li Zhanshu has occupied a position that's often compared to the White House chief of staff. His new-gained No 3 spot in the party hierarchy makes him the likely next chairman of China's rubber-stamp parliament, according to political tradition. After serving several major provincial posts, including party chief in Guizhou province, Li, 67, was handpicked by Xi to run his office shortly before the Chinese leader took power in late 2012.

 

 

WANG YANG

Wang Yang, the Chinese vice premier who is likely to head the country's top political advisory body soon, is often seen a reform-minded straight shooter. Wang, 62, rose through the ranks quickly in the Hu Jintao era to become the top official in Chongqing and then Guangdong, China's manufacturing heartland. Since joining the cabinet, Wang has presided over several rounds Sino-US talks on sticky economic and trade issues.

 

 

WANG HUNING

Wang Huning's political longevity is seen as a testament to his indispensable role as the so-called chief strategist of Zhongnanhai, the heavily guarded Chinese leadership compound in central Beijing that's China's equivalent of the White House. Having served under three presidents (Jiang, Hu and now Xi), this professor turned politician is known for his talent in turning a Chinese leader's ideas into methodical thoughts and theories.

 

 

ZHAO LEJI

Zhao Leji, a previously under-the-radar politician, will wield outsized power in the party as he inherits one of the most powerful roles in Chinese politics. He has officially taken over the party's fearsome anti-corruption arm, responsible for cracking down on graft in the party -- an issue that has become a lightning rod for public discontent and a top priority for Xi in the past five years.

 

 

HAN ZHENG

Shanghai party chief Han Zheng is the ultimate survivor in Chinese politics, having served under multiple bosses from rival factions, including Xi himself. Born and raised in China's largest city, Han, 63, was a longtime Shanghai mayor who has largely focused his career on growing the city's economy and restoring its former glory as a global financial center. Occasionally mentioned as a potential premier, Han is now likely to serve as Li Keqiang's top lieutenant instead.

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