These 7 Politicians Could Be The Most Powerful People In China

Xi jinping

Photo: Guang Niu/Getty Images

It looks like some decisions have been made in China’s upcoming leadership.Reuters reports that three key Chinese power brokers have agreed to a list of candidates for the Politburo Standing Committee.

The list of seven names has been agreed upon by President Jiang Zemin, current President Hu Jintao and Hu’s likely successor, Xi Jinping, though is still subject to change by other party members.

Click here to see who made the list >
The formation of the PSC is closely watched, and this year has already had its fair share of high-octane drama. Former Chongquing chief Bo Xilai who at one point was certain to get a spot on the PSC was ousted from his position earlier this year, the first scandal.

The size of the list supports earlier reports in Chinese media reports, that said that the PSC will be restricted to seven seats, down from nine. Senior party officials are said to have reduced the number to limit power given to those in the position of domestic security chief and the propaganda minister.

Current domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang’s ties to Bo Xilai prompted party officials to write a letter calling for him to be fired. They also called for the sacking of propaganda minister Liu Yunshan.

The make-up of the PSC will have major implications on China’s economic priorities and foreign policy among other things. And with seven of nine members including president Hu Jintao and premiere Wen Jiabao stepping down because of age restrictions, the PSC will take on a new face that the world will be paying close attention to.

Xi Jinping

Current position: Member of Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), vice chair of central military commission (CMC) and people's republic of China vice president

Policy priorities: Xi Jinping is concerned with developing the private sector. He also wants to speed up market liberalization in foreign investment and develop Shanghai as a financial and shipping centre.

Background: Xi who is set to become the next Chinese president was promoted to the Politburo standing committee during the 2007 Party Congress. He was also the first leader not chosen through a broader polling of CPC officials, rather was chased through a polling of CPC officials.

Xi is considered a princeling since his since his father Xi Zhongxun was a former vice-premier. He is expected to retain his seat on the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).

Source: Cheng Li for The Washington Quarterly

Li Keqiang

Current position: Member of PSC, executive vice premier

Policy priorities: Li Keqiang is pushing for the development of affordable housing, programs of basic healthcare and social welfare, and is promoting clean energy.

Background: Unlike many Chinese leaders Li Keqiang comes from a less-priveleged family. He was once a member of the Communist Youth League before he moved up and is therefore a member of the Tuanpai faction. Li was elevated to the PSC during the 2007 Party Congress and is likely to retain his position.

He is slated to succeed Wen Jiabao as premier but could also chair the National People's Congress.

Source: Cheng Li for The Washington Quarterly

Zhang Dejiang

Current position: Politburo member, vice premier in charge of energy, telecommunications and transportation

Policy priorities: Zhang Dejiang wants to develop state-owned enterprises (SEOs), promote 'China's Go Global Strategy' and indigenous innovation.

Background: Zhang is currently serving his second term as a member of the Politburo and is therefore more likely to make the PSC. The public is however angry at Dejiang for his handling of the Wenzhou railroad accident when he ordered the bodies of victims to buried on site, NTDTV reported.

Source: Cheng Li for The Washington Quarterly / NTDTV

Li Yuanchao

Current position: Politburo member, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organisation dept. head

Policy priorities: Li Yuanchao is leaning towards political reforms, especially inter-Party democracy and tougher measures to crackdown on corruption. He also wants to bring back foreign-educated Chinese.

Background: Li is a princeling and was once a member of the Communist Youth League and is therefore a member of the Tuanpai faction.

He is unlikely to have a problem obtaining seats but NTDTV says his involvement in propaganda could be a setback.

Source: Cheng Li for The Washington Quarterly / NTDTV

Wang Qishan

Zhang Gaoli

Current position: Politburo member, Tianjin party chief

Policy priorities: Zhang Gaoli wants to see market liberalization in foreign investment, economic efficiency and high-rate GDP growth.

Background: Zhang was often considered to be competing with Wang Yang for PSC membership. He is Jiang Zemin, former president of People's Republic of China's protege. He has a conventional, less ostentation style of leadership than Bo Xilai whom he used to compete against until Xilai's dismissal. His motto: 'Do more. Speak Less.'

Source: Cheng Li for The Washington Quarterly

Liu Yunshan

Current position: Politburo Member, head of CCP propaganda dept

Policy priorities: Liu Yunshan wants more control over the media and the internet. He also wants to promote China's soft power overseas.

Background: Liu was once a member of the Communist Youth League before he moved up and is therefore a member of the Tuanpai faction. He has worked in inner Mongolia for over 20 years.

Source: Cheng Li for The Washington Quarterly

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