China new leaders: Xi Jinping heads line-up for politburo


The BBC's Martin Patience says the new leaders face immense challenges

Xi Jinping has been confirmed as the man to lead China for the next decade.

Mr Xi led the new Politburo Standing Committee onto the stage at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, signalling his elevation to the top of China's ruling Communist Party.

The party faced great challenges but would work to meet "expectations of both history and the people", he said.

Most of the new committee are seen as politically conservative, and perceived reformers did not get promotion.

Xi Jinping replaces Hu Jintao, under whose administration China has seen a decade of extraordinary growth.


The new faces contain no surprises - as all of them are from the list of favourite names widely mentioned by the media.

The new line-up shows that 86-year old former leader Jiang Zemin still has important influence, because at least four out of seven new members are widely seen as his allies.

Meanwhile the outgoing leader Hu Jintao's three allies - Li Yuanchao, Liu Yuandong and Wang Yang - did not make it into the Standing Committee.

Mr Hu has also given up his post as the chairman of the Central Military Commission, indicating he will fully retire from his political posts and stay away from political life too.

The prospect of political reform now looks more unlikely as most of the new leaders are regarded as political conservatives.

The move marks the official passing of power from one generation to the next.

'Pressing problems'

Mr Xi was followed out onto the stage by Li Keqiang, the man set to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao, and five other men - meaning that the size of the all-powerful Standing Committee had been reduced from nine to seven.

Those five, in order of seniority, were Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, Shanghai party boss Yu Zhengsheng, propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and Tianjin party boss Zhang Gaoli.

The new leaders had great responsibilities, Mr Xi said, but their mission was to be united, and to lead the party and the people to make the Chinese nation stronger and more powerful.

"The people's desire for a better life is what we shall fight for," he said.

Corruption had to be addressed, he said, and better party discipline was needed.

Start Quote

The important thing is whether they can lead the country in a good direction; whether they can reduce corruption and incompetence”

End Quote Qian Ah Jie Amitabha Netizen

"The party faces many severe challenges, and there are also many pressing problems within the party that need to be resolved, particularly corruption, being divorced from the people, going through formalities and bureaucratism caused by some party officials," Mr Xi said.

"We must make every effort to solve these problems. The whole party must stay on full alert."

'Confidence in continuity'

The new Standing Committee was endorsed in a vote early on Thursday by the new party Central Committee, but in reality the decisions had been made in advance.

The new leaders will gradually take over in the next few months, with Hu Jintao's presidency formally coming to an end at the annual parliament session in March 2013.

Xi Jinping

  • Born in Beijing in 1953, father was Xi Zhongxun, a founding member of the Communist Party
  • Sent to work at a remote village for seven years when he was 15
  • Studied chemical engineering at Tsinghua University and spent time at a US farm in 1985
  • Was Shanghai party chief in 2007 and became vice-president in 2008
  • Seen as having a zero-tolerance attitude towards corrupt officials
  • Married to well-known Chinese folk singer and actress Peng Liyuan with whom he has a daughter

Mr Xi has also been named chairman of the Central Military Commission, a Xinhua news agency report said, ending uncertainty over whether that post would be transferred from Hu Jintao immediately.

Mr Hu's predecessor, Jiang Zemin, held on to the post for two years after he stood down from the party leadership.

New Standing Committee member Wang Qishan has also been named head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection - the party's anti-corruption watchdog.

Mr Xi, a former Shanghai party chief, was appointed to the politburo in 2007.

A "princeling" - a relative of one of China's revolutionary elders - he has spent almost four decades in the Communist Party, serving in top posts in both Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, as well as Shanghai.

His speech drew praise online, with a number of netizens liking his more informal style.

"This big boss at least is talking like a human being. I won't comment on the rest," well-known Chinese journalist Gong Xiaoyue said via micro-blog.

Mr Xi, 59, is said to be a protégé of Jiang Zemin, while Li Keqiang is said to have been Mr Hu's preferred successor.

Mr Hu has been the Communist Party chief since he led the Standing Committee line-up out on stage in November 2002.

Party numbers

  • Ruled China since 1949
  • 83m members in 2011
  • 77% of members are men
  • Farmers make up one third of membership
  • 6.8m members work for the Party and state agencies
  • Funded by government grant and membership dues
  • Private businessmen allowed to join since 2001

Under his administration China has seen a decade of rapid development, overtaking Japan as the world's second-largest economy.

But the development has been uneven, leading to a widening wealth gap, environmental challenges and rumbling social discontent over inequality and corruption.

Analysts say there has been division at the very top of the leadership in the lead-up to the party congress, with two rival factions jostling for position and influence.

The transition process has also been complicated by the scandal that engulfed Chongqing party leader Bo Xilai - a powerful high-flier once seen as a strong contender for the top leadership. His wife has been jailed for murdering a British businessman and he looks set to face trial on a raft of corruption-related charges.

That notwithstanding, the power transition process has been orderly, for only the second time in 60 years of Communist Party rule.

"The ostensible lack of drama throughout the week-long session may disappoint sensation seekers," China Daily said in an editorial on Thursday before the new Standing Committee line-up was announced.

"But the confidence in continuity, instead of revolutionary ideas and dramatic approaches, means a better tomorrow is attainable."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Today I could connect for the 1st time in about 1 year to the BBC by clicking the link you sent to my email alert. And it's about this article. I've been sad because the BBC has long been my window to the world and my enlightenment but British influence is ebbing. The British should invest more in the young people here in Vietnam before it become Chinised

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    @42 You are being completely ridiculous. You cannot compare a broad, Liberal Democratic alliance to a one party Communist state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    The Chinese leadership aren't rich kids who went to expensive public schools and Oxbridge.

    They should copy British democracy

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    I find it laughable that the western media are portraying him as a leader dictated to by an elite minority as something to be frowned upon.

    The only difference between their government and ours is that they don't try to give the illusion that they are run any other way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Congratulation with the election. Now the democratic part of our planet- look forward to a reform that will finally lead to a multi-party state, that "accept"all UN charters!-that you sign up to many years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Just do a global replace on the words "Xi" with "Baroso" and the BBC could almost be describing the way the EU runs things here.

    People in glass houses shouldn't thrown stones. When will we recognise the democratic con for what it is? I hear taxes in China are a lot lower too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    28. Blinkybilly

    So, let me get your argument straight: you object to "dictates" on (presumably) account of perceived lack of democratic accountability and then go on to argue that elections don't matter and our leaders do what they want without such accountability anyway. Sure, that makes a lot of sense. Not!

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Lets hope this guy can put the USA in its place

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Maybe that's our answer. Run the country like the Chinese do. Perhaps then we would not have the country over run with immigrants and terrorists, we would build infrastrcture to help us remain competitive and get things done.

    There may be an issue with public protests but we wont have to see constant deliberation over everything especially removing people who are a threat to our country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Meet the new boss.
    Same as the old boss.
    1.3 billion people get fooled again.
    Yet more evidence that the counter revolutionaries have taken over the country.
    Join the communist party and get rich, comrades

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Because of differerence of Nations/countries ,So the WAY will in differnece ,For CHINA DELEVOPEMENT ,it should deceided by CHINESE PEOPLE ,Some "LAO WAI " SHUT UP !

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    The Chinese appoint/elect (depending on your point of view) leaders with Science/Engineering backgrounds. I.e people who are smart.

    In the West, we elect lawyers and union officials to the top jobs. No wonder, we're screwed......

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Surely the headline on the homepage should read "appoint"? Anointing sounds both at odds with China's secular state and also kind of sticky...

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    was it a record turnout!

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    At what point will the people's republic let the people have a republic? It's the same as the democratic republic of korea: putting wirds in your country name doesn't mean it's the way you are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    He seems like a super choice for the job, I wonder if he likes turtles?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    No matter what leader it is china at least doesn't oppress the world like the imperialist powers do no matter how much the biased media try to make it seem.To BBC your jealousy for china's prosperity is showing a little too much you need to cover up your bias a little bit more. It's not like you are talking about the Palestinian problem you can't demonize them so easily e.g "oh they got beards"

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    27.Batty - "Let's hope China can develop into a true super power to counter-balance US hegemony."

    They already have - the next move is over taking the US to become the world's dominant power, and much more benignly they wield their current than the US.....though not entirerly benignly.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Trout Mask Replica

    Take off your rosé coloured glasses! Elected does not necessarily mean freedom of choice. Since when have the 'elected' rulers of today listened to the people. Once in power they do as they please, as shown by the current shower! Yes we can remove a government eventually and I am thankful for that, but there are varying degrees of democracy that can limit progress in society.


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