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China’s party congress offers a look at future leaders


BEIJING –

While Xi Jinping is set to receive a third term as head of China’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday, it remains unclear who will join him over the next five years in the governing bodies. party, the Central Committee and the Politburo.

Analysts will be scrutinizing who joins and leaves, for any clues about the future direction of policy and the extent of power the 69-year-old Xi can amass with as one of China’s most influential figures in the country’s modern politics. history.

The most closely watched will be the Politburo Standing Committee, which is fluctuating in size but has seven members under Mr. Xi. Building on previous practice, the new lineup will be revealed when members step out from behind the curtain on Sunday, the day after the end of the week-long party congress.

The positions they take on stage, left and right of Mr. Xi, will dictate their rank in what is seen as the inner circle of power. Top candidates including current members and newcomers:

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PREMIER LI KEQIANG

A key question is the future of the party’s No. 2 official, Premier Li Keqiang, who has been on the Standing Committee since 2012 and is primarily responsible for leading the cabinet and managing the major economy. second in the world.

Mr. Li, 67, is seen as an advocate of market reform and private enterprise, in contrast to Mr. Xi, who favors state-led development with a focus on technological self-reliance and reducing large gap between rich and poor.

Li has had little impact on policymaking since Mr. Xi stayed out of politics, but he has worked to promote consumption-led economic growth and reduce dependence on exports and imports. investments, using tactics that some other countries see as violations of China’s free-trade commitments.

Although he has said he will step down as prime minister next year, he is still eligible to remain on the Standing Committee. If he continues, analysts say it may show that advocates of a more market-oriented economy have led Xi to push for more state control.

SUCCESSFUL ADVISOR WANG YANG

Other possible holders include Wang Yang, who joined the Standing Committee in 2017 and is also considered a member of the pro-market, private enterprise and economic experimentation wing.

Wang heads the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a party-controlled think tank that includes representatives from various fields such as religious groups, professional organizations and chambers of commerce.

He won much praise in 2011 for pacifying protests by residents of the fishing village of Wukan over the sale of land by local officials.

WANG HUNING POLITICAL THEORY

Longtime party political theorist Wang Huning is said to be likely to stay on the Standing Committee. He could become head of the National People’s Congress, the largely ceremonial legislature, which would make him one of the top three party officials.

VICE PREMIER HU CHUNHUA

Among the possible newcomers, Deputy Prime Minister Hu Chunhua is considered one of the best chances. He served as a senior official of Guangdong province from 2012 to 2017, where he led a crackdown on “naked officials” who worked in China but sent their families abroad to be born. life, is seen as a sign of corruption.

Mr. Hu has stood up through the party’s Communist Youth League, seen as a faction separate from Mr. Xi’s circle and politically close to Mr. Xi’s predecessor, the former party leader and President. Hu Jintao.

Hu Chunhua is known as a wonder boy who topped China’s national university entrance exams and became the youngest person to hold multiple official positions.

He spent the first two decades of his career in Tibet, where he promoted economic development and oversaw efforts to suppress pro-independence sentiment. He was later appointed party secretary of Inner Mongolia.

SHANGHAI CHAIRMAN LI QIANG

Li Qiang has been the party secretary of Shanghai, China’s largest city and financial center, since 2017. The position was previously held by Mr. Xi, former President Jiang Zemin and former Premier Zhu Rongji. duty.

Li is considered a close confidant to Mr. Xi after serving under him in the southeastern province of Zhejiang, a hub for export-oriented manufacturing and private enterprise.

His reputation was tarnished by Shanghai’s prolonged shutdown earlier this year that forced 25 million people into their homes, disrupted the economy and sparked scattered public protests. .

CHONGQING LEADER CHEN MIN’ER

Chen Min’er, another Xi ally who worked under him in Zhejiang province, has served as party secretary of the vast southwestern Chongqing city since 2017.

Mr. Chen, 62, is seen by analysts as a rising star Mr. Xi may want to promote to secure his legacy for the next generation.

Chen has never held a national position but is considered a capable leader who has made the Chongqing government more responsive and effective after a tumultuous period under Bo Xilai, who was a rival of Mr. Xi.

Previously, he held the highest office in Guizhou, a relatively poor province in the south, from 2012 to 2017.

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Conjecture aside, some question how important the Standing Committee mechanism is when Xi holds power tightly and lacks substantial policies or ideological difference.

With his combative approach, Xi is more of a politician modeled after communist China’s founder Mao Zedong than his more fellow predecessors, who sought to encourage the region. privately and maintain good relations with the West.

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