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 247.

    A crash course in Chinese culture:
    Country => family > person. There're execptions, but this is the reality of Chinese culture, for over 1000 yrs. HR/PC crowds can't understand this, maybe they'd redo their "tolerance" course.

    Reason any attempt to split China is shut down by the Chinese people is cuz they believe if you hate the place, leave it, don't take anything with you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    bitofrealism @224

    Capital (financial, intellectual, skill) migrates toward sources of raw material & cheaper labour

    China should have no illusions, and 'the West' should lose illusions: all can be 'left behind', as waves of 'discovery' roll around the globe, decade-by-decade, century-by-century

    'Human Question': should we share secure equality, for not against capital efficiency?

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Who rated China's actions in Tibet ruthless and downright illegal?
    The west! didn't it?
    As a Chinese who had lived in England for 7 years, I'm gutted that some no brainers point to China about Tibet while actually know nothing about it.
    I do refer the democratic system in the west but not the arrogant thinking there.
    At least go to China once when you criticise China.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    thats a big congrats not just to xi jinping but to the whole of china, the next ten years is going to experience rapid development in almost all areas of their life. these people are more organised than the conventional human races.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    "205 Tibet was a ruled by a brutal upper class of monks, whilst the rest of the people were serfs, kept poor & uneducated. Torture was the favoured means of punishment; it was not a Buddhist paradise.
    Chinese rule isn't great, but it is far better than the theocratic Tibet."

    Funny, why did those same peasants fight to try to kick the Chinese invaders out? Maybe you just believe propaganda..

  • Comment number 242.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    I wish the new leadership and the people of China well fo the next 10yr cycle. I think they're going to face some serious challenges, both internal and external.
    Its a shame they didn't bring forward the reformers to help manage that challenge but i'll watch with interest how they cope.
    Hopefully they'll ease off the repression - 1 in 5 people live in China so hopefully they'll sort things out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    "Writers, artists, and commentators on websites are detained or thrown into jail when they reflect on democracy, opening up, reform and reason. This is the reality of China." By Ai Wei Wei

    This year’s eye-opening documentary about China (97% on RottenTomatoes!):

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    The Dalai Lama is the exact opposite of the Communist Party. He was a tyrant that it was illegal to criticize, but who became a man committed to democracy and free thought. The Communists were men committed to democracy and free thought who became a party that it is illegal to criticize. The Revolution will only be complete when the leadership of China becomes what the Dalai Lama is today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    China need a team of top leadership to be very focus on developments, reduce poverty, improve life, reduce corruption, provide social stability and etc...
    It is a very huge responsibility to maintain stability in a nation like China.

    China just could not afford to have bunch of incompetent leadership bickering like a children in the parliament and etc....

  • Comment number 237.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    I recently flew into a new airport in China which was about the size of birmingham airport and yet had been fully constructed and opened in only 12 months. Perhaps this is result of China being run by a technically literate leadership as opposed to our MPs whose only qualifications are an ability to showboat in front of our poorly informed voters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    Merlin from London
    How do you know there is torture and brutality in Tibet? Please tell us the source as I'm looking for it actually.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Edward's comment is objective.
    before you criticize, try to go to China to have a look.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Cristine Shao @219

    However well-meaning, no government can ensure observance of the promulgated 'rights' of every citizen, UNLESS it first ensures general adult understanding of the benefits of secure equality, and UNLESS there is then general adult agreement for Equal Partnership, precluding advantage from brutality, theft & corruption, empowering all to speak & choose labour more valued

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    For al its rhetoric, I don't think the party is in any way putting the peoples' interests first. A country without free speech and censorship of the internet has a lot to hide.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    No one can deny the importance of China, but we in our licence-paying home wonder why BBC need to send out at least three ( we saw last night) news readers and reporters to cover the news from Beijing. With Peter Simpson and another TV man (no doubt several others behind the scenes) already there why send out the beloved George as well? What's the justification for this expensive duplication?

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Translated into English, China's new leader is called Mr Eleven (Xi)

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    1. Why this techtatorship worked?--This scholar-based bureaucratic model has actually worked for almost 4000 years. Now it is even improved with a fixed-tenure, reasonably longer than that of the US Presidency.
    2.Is it still a communist party? No, not in the sense of Leninism. It has become an elite ruling party rooted in Chinese tradition of scholar-bureaucrat entry exams and class distinction.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    "It is absurd that so much money has been wasted on manipulating public opinion… This nation is notorious for its ability to make or fake anything cheaply. “Made-in-China” goods now fill homes around the world. But our giant country has a small problem. We can’t manufacture the happiness of our people." AiWeiWei
    This year’s documentary about China (97% RT!)


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