With Xi at helm, China unveils new leadership

With Xi at helm, China unveils new leadership

BEIJING - Reuters
With Xi at helm, China unveils new leadership

China’s ruling Communist Party broke with recent precedent on Oct. 25, unveiling a new leadership line-up without a clear successor to President Xi Jinping, who has become arguably the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

Xi led his team in order of rank on to a stage at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, overlooking Tiananmen Square, culminating a week-long party conclave at which he laid out his vision for an increasingly prosperous China confident of its place on the world stage.

Apart from Xi, Premier Li Keqiang was the only one to retain his spot amid sweeping changes on the Politburo Standing Committee. There has been persistent speculation Xi could seek to stay on in some capacity beyond the end of his customary second five years in power, which began yesterday.

All seven Standing Committee members are men in their 60s and, for the first time, none was born before China’s 1949 Communist revolution.

The make-up of the committee, which has ultimate control over the world’s second-largest economy, appeared to be a compromise to include a blend of Xi allies and those considered loyal to party elders, including Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, former presidents whose networks still wield influence.

While the Standing Committee bears the hallmarks of compromise, the new Politburo is stacked with more than a dozen Xi allies.

Xi, who has sought to revitalize the Communist Party’s role across Chinese society, made no mention of who his successor might be as he introduced his new Standing Committee at a media event broadcast live. He did not take questions, but said the party had weathered trials and tribulations.