As I mentioned yesterday, Thursday was the big day, the day when it would all become official and everyone would know for sure what China’s leadership change was going to look like. Discussing the possibilities the new slate of leaders gives us in terms of political reform, economic policy, foreign affairs, etc. is way beyond my pay grade, so I thought some links might be in order. Note that there are thousands of articles out there on this topic, so I’ll throw out some of the stuff from the big news outlets only. I’m sure there will be a lot more to come over the next few days.
To cut through all the ceremony, this is what we heard from Xinhua this morning:
The following is the list of the Political Bureau members of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee (listed in the order of the number of strokes in their surnames):
Xi Jinping, Ma Kai, Wang Qishan, Wang Huning, Liu Yunshan, Liu Yandong (female), Liu Qibao, Xu Qiliang, Sun Chunlan (female), Sun Zhengcai, Li Keqiang, Li Jianguo, Li Yuanchao, Wang Yang, Zhang Chunxian, Zhang Gaoli, Zhang Dejiang, Fan Changlong, Meng Jianzhu, Zhao Leji, Hu Chunhua, Yu Zhengsheng, Li Zhanshu, Guo Jinlong and Han Zheng.
And then the main event, the membership of China’s top political body:
The following is a list of members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee:
Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.
I added the emphasis. The first two guys on the list are the ones you’ve been hearing about. The remainder of this decade is all about them. The rest of the news today was all background, filler, and speculation.
First, some background briefing material from Xinhua on the big players:
Xi Jinping – General Secretary of CPC Central Committee (will be China’s new president, replacing Hu Jintao, who will also step down from military post)
Li Keqiang — Member of Standing Committee of Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee (will be China’s new premier, replaces Wen Jiabao)
Obviously everything you read from Xinhua is the official line from the government. Useful, but only one point of view. Below are links to some background stories from foreign sources, but I’ll start off with an extended quote from the Financial Times on the members of the Politburo Standing Committee:
Joining Mr Xi on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the elite group that in effect runs China, was Li Keqiang, a Hu Jintao ally who has been in line to take over as China’s premier for the last five years.
The rest of the Standing Committee was dominated by men considered relatively conservative and opposed to major political or economic reforms.
These included Zhang Dejiang, a North Korea-trained economist, Yu Zhengsheng, the current party boss of Shanghai, and Liu Yunshan, who has overseen a tightening of state control over China’s media – including the internet – as head of the party’s propaganda department in recent years.
Wang Qishan, an advocate of financial and economic reforms with close ties to former Premier Zhu Rongji, also made it on to the Standing Committee but appears to have been named anti-corruption chief instead of being given a role in economic policy making.
The final member of the Standing Committee is Zhang Gaoli, the party boss of Tianjin city, who is a close ally to Mr Xi, according to political insiders with knowledge of party patronage networks.
BBC News: China confirms leadership change — This article is a good example of what most of the news looked like today. Xi Jinping is the guy, challenges abound, reformers are not well represented in the new Politburo Standing Committee.
The U.S. election is over, and now China’s leadership change is taken care of. Now let’s hope that things get back to whatever it is we consider normal these days. Just in time for the holidays!