Loyal and experienced, China’s other top leaders take office

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – As Chinese leader Xi Jinping received a norm-breaking third five-year term as president on Friday, the other six who served with him on the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee People have started taking charge. His new portfolio.

Party veterans with close personal and professional ties to Xi, China’s most powerful man in all decades.

Chief among them, Li Qiang, the party’s second-in-command, is widely expected to take over as prime minister, nominally in charge of the cabinet and caretaker of the economy.

Li is best known for ruthlessly enforcing a brutal “zero-covid” lockdown in Shanghai last spring.

Soon after Xi received unanimous approval from the National People’s Congress, Zhao Lejie, a third-ranking party official, was put in charge of the roughly 3,000-member formal legislature.

By October, Han Zheng, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, was made vice chairman.

The Politburo Standing Committee is male-only, underscoring the overwhelmingly male makeup of the Chinese political elite. The 24-member Politburo, which has had only four female members since the 1990s, has no female officials, even after the departure of Vice Premier Sun Chunlan. The other major body, the Central Committee with over 200 members, is 95% male.

Some details about the current Standing Committee members in order of their party rank:

li qiang

Perhaps Xi’s closest official, Li Qiang, is widely expected to take over as premier, nominally in charge of the cabinet and caretaker of the economy. Li, best known for ruthlessly enforcing a brutal “zero-Covid” lockdown in Shanghai last spring as party boss of the Chinese financial hub, Xi in the face of residents’ complaints over lack of access to food, medical care Prove your loyalty to. and basic services.

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Li, 63, knew Xi during the future president’s tenure as premier of Li’s native Zhejiang, a relatively prosperous southeastern province now known as a technology and manufacturing powerhouse.

zhao leji

A holdover from the previous Politburo Standing Committee, Zhao Leji won Xi’s confidence as head of the party’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, pursuing an anti-corruption campaign that has fended off all potential opposition to the leader. .

Zhao, 66, was made head of the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee, which handles most of the actual legislative work. As in the case of Xi, who was also made head of the government commission overseeing the military, there were no other candidates or dissenting votes.

wang huning

Another returnee from the previous Standing Committee, Wang Huning, comes from an academic background, having been a professor of international politics at Shanghai’s Fudan University and a senior advisor to two of Xi’s predecessors. Unusual for a top official, Wang, 67, has never held office at the local or central government level.

Wang is known for writing books criticizing Western politics and society, and is expected to be named head of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the NPC, which is part of the party’s United Front Department. work together to build Xi’s influence and image. Foreign.

cai qi

As leader of the capital since 2017, Cai Qi oversaw the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which the party celebrated as a victory. Cai, 67, also oversaw the forced eviction of thousands of migrant workers from urban areas and kept COVID cases relatively low in Beijing without imposing the draconian measures seen in Shanghai and elsewhere.

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Cai, who holds a doctorate in economics, also entered Xi’s political orbit in the Zhejiang political scene. An early adopter of Chinese social media, Cai is one of very few top executives to visit Taiwan, praising the island’s ubiquitous convenience stores in a 2012 posting for Caixin magazine’s website. He is expected to be put in charge of campaigning and messaging.

Ding Xuxiang

As director of the party’s general office since 2017, Ding Xuxiang has effectively served as Xi’s chief of staff, notably attending state visits and meetings with foreign leaders. Like Wang, Ding has never held government office, but sits at the center of party affairs, just below the Politburo.

Still just 60, Ding’s career took off after he was appointed secretary to Xi during his brief stint as Shanghai party chief. He is expected to be appointed as the first deputy prime minister to oversee administrative affairs.


Prior to his appointment to the Standing Committee, Li Xi, 66, led Guangdong province, one of China’s wealthiest regions and the base of its vast manufacturing sector. He had previously served as party secretary of Mao Zedong’s famous revolutionary base in Yan’an and initiated an initiative known as “red tourism” to promote the sacred sites of party history prior to his seizure of power in 1949. had become a leader.

Li, a close Xi confidante, has already been appointed to replace Zhao as head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

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