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 367.

    363. h

    Just curious why there are so many westerner working in China if the situations is so bad as what you said. And I have many Chinese friends have gone back to China and they are doing extremely well there. Maybe they are highly educated and easy to find good jobs there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 366.

    351.Violet Mildred

    Lest it gets forgotten may I remind everyone we too have our own anointed 'great leader' of the Peoples Republic of Europe; Herman Van Rompuy.

    Violet, you must know, I'm sure, that unelected EU Commi-ssars take offence if someone points out to the likes of Comrade Barroso, that they're trying to create a multinational superstate similar to the failed/collapsed USSR.

  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    Using the word anoints in reference to the new chinese leader in your online headline is a bit insulting to your readers and the chinese people as well. Why did the editor allow that word to be used to describe a communist when it is usually used to describe a religious ceremony. Was it a religious ceremony? Or is your sub-editor having a private joke?

  • rate this

    Comment number 364.

    The Great Hall of the People from which the people are banned.Says it all.The Commies are getting twitchy,worried that the internet will bring their undemocratic house crashing down unless they can bribe an awful lot of their own citizens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.

    im american have many chinese friends from college and almost all of them have a similar view of china, they NEVER want to go back. they tell me stories of how hard it is especially in "mainstream" china where everyone is packed like sardines and at each others throats b/c life is so hard and miserable. they are by far the most appreciative/nicest ppl i've ever met and i feel sorry the avg. chines

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    355. powermeerkat

    My friend a backpacker and is now still travelling in Tibet. He said people are living peaceful life....he also posted some pictures on his facebook. I think you were referring to separatists living in fear?

    Would you also call US ex-president George Bush as butcher of Iraq?

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    I was actually talking about normal Chinese citizens being executed by the politicians for standing up or just not doing their job the way their government required.
    Example -Chinese Ecoscientist tells Chinese Govt they are not meeting their green quota. Scientist is shot infront of the person who is to replace him. His replacement tells Govt what they want to hear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 360.

    I‘d like to tell you, yes, as an ordinary Chinese.

  • rate this

    Comment number 359.

    I'm a chinese student in XinJiang privonce,west-north of china.I don't know what happend there,but maybe the country get better.All I want to know is that if you European get problem,just like our new says,so serious

    Yes, there are many problems in EU and some in U$A as well.

    But free societies can handle it. PRC totalitarian/Commie oppressive regime cannot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 358.


    My apology. My comments were actually in response to 350. scirop .

  • rate this

    Comment number 357.

    "Meet the new boss.......same as the old boss"

  • rate this

    Comment number 356.

    When Deng set China on the path to economic growth he said the difference between China and the West was that the benefits of growth would be distributed fairly/equitably. This turned out to be a lie.
    The longer vested interests are left, the more they become entrenched, the harder reform will be and the greater the resentment will grow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 355.

    "Uncle Hu has given the country an increased freedom and better standard of living"

    Huijintao was promoted to the top position by being a highly efficent Butcher of Tibet.

    Tibet is still ruthlessly occupied, just like E. Turkestan (Uighuria) and a part of Mongolia (called by Beijing comrades - Inner Mongolia.)

    And what other kudos from the usual "fellow travellers"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 354.


    You were referring villain political leaders. The story might be true or false. If did happen, these villain political leaders were either jailed or executed! Didn't you hear that many corrupt leaders were jailed or executed in China? There are many villain political leaders in other countries as well.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 353.

    "Ruled China since 1949 - 83m members in 2011"

    Breaking the Conservative/Labour elective dictatorship in this country is proving difficult enough. Getting the Communist Party out of power there must be impossible. Rule by fear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 352.

    You really think the internet you see in UK is not censored? If was put on cleanfeed suspect sites list tomorrow by mistake 80% of UK population would think the site no longer exits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    Lest it gets forgotten may I remind everyone we too have our own anointed 'great leader' of the Peoples Republic of Europe; Herman Van Rompuy

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.

    Thats a very naive statement. Yes, our politicians ripped us for claiming for silly things. We (the press) found out and pulled them for it. The apologised we chastized.
    In China, you question a politician or a leader. You get inprisoned or worse, shot in the car park infront of your staff or family. This is not rumour, this is fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    China is still ruled by Communists, who censor the Internet. Sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    With all the wealth amassed by the Communist Party political leaders, you would have thought that they would be happier and smile a lot more. All of them seem to have rigid expressions of death on their faces. But China as a nation as it becomes more wealthy will realise that attaining true happiness is to be found somewhere else not revealed in their communist manifesto or Mao’s red book…


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