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Xinhua Insight: China's new helmsmen
2012-11-15 21:32


General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)Xi Jinping(C) and the other newly-elected members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political BureauLi Keqiang(3rd R), Zhang Dejiang (3rd L), Yu Zhengsheng (2nd R), Liu Yunshan (2nd L), Wang Qishan (1st R), Zhang Gaoli (1st L) meet with journalists at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 15, 2012. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi) 


BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- A new generation of top Chinese leaders took the stage on Thursday in one of the world's most important power transitions, taking the helm of the ruling party of the world's second-largest economy and the most populous country.

Xi Jinping was sworn in as general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), leading the seven-seat Political Bureau Standing Committee.

The other six members of the top leadership of the Party's central leading organ are Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.

They were elected at the first plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee following the CPC's 18th National Congress. [ Their election marked a smooth top leadership transition following the 16th national congresses of the Party in 2002.

The smooth transition suggests that the Party is moving steadily towards an established norm regarding the handing over of power, which will be crucial for sustained stability and development of the country, analysts observed.

"The new leaders are not ossified or conservative. Their election will ensure that China will continue with both reforms and the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, as they have witnessed, participated in and benefited from reform and opening-up," said Xie Chuntao, a professor of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

The leaders made their debut upon their election at the Great Hall of the People under the spotlight of hundreds of reporters from across the world.

Xi said they will take "the relay baton passed on to us by history" and make continued efforts to achieve the renewal of the Chinese nation.

"We will rally and lead the whole Party and the people in making continued efforts to free our minds, carry out reform and open up," Xi said.

Xi noted that the Party faces many severe challenges and that there are many pressing problems within the Party, citing corruption, a separation from the people and bureaucracy.

Amid global economic uncertainties and domestic complaints over the wealth gap, corruption and environmental woes with rising calls for deepened reform, analysts said China will face more challenges in the years to come.


The seven Standing Committee members of the Political Bureau have witnessed and endured China's vicissitudes and hardships over the last six decades, including the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Xi and Li were born in the 1950s, while the other five were born in the mid- to late 1940s.

Xi, Li, Zhang Dejiang and Wang toiled in communes and villages during the Cultural Revolution, when millions of high school graduates were sent to rural areas to receive "re-education" from peasants and help with rural development.

It was during their re-education that Xi and Li received their first official titles. Acting as the Party branch secretaries of their respective production brigades, they got the chance to learn administration at the grassroots level.

Yu worked as a technician at a radio factory in the city of Zhangjiakou in north China's Hebei province for a few years, while Liu was a teacher before becoming a reporter at the Xinhua News Agency. Zhang Gaoli was a craneman and loader at an oil company in south China's Guangdong province after graduating from university.

Such experiences, analysts observed, gave them keen insight into China's situation and helped them understand the people's woes and expectations.

Xi previously said that he received a great deal of guidance from two groups of people: the old generation of revolutionaries and the village people in Shaanxi, his ancestral home where he received seven years of "re-education."


As observed by Professor Xie, the new generation of leaders have shown "capacity in controlling overall situations and tackling complicated emergencies" and "are well prepared for challenges and ready to take opportunities."

All of them boast rich governance experience, climbing the Party cadre echelon step by step.

Over his 40-year-long career, Xi left his footprint in both the comparatively underdeveloped inland and rural areas, such as a commune in Shaanxi province and Zhengding county in Hebei province, as well as the more prosperous coastal Fujian and Zhejiang provinces and the country's financial and economic hub of Shanghai.

Most of the new leaders have experience in governing frontier regions for reform, while others are familiar with the situation in underdeveloped central and west regions.

Analysts said the lineup will help the collective leadership to consider matters from an overall perspective when making decisions.

In addition, as a result of long years of experience as local governors, they have also cultivated a down-to-earth work style.

"Do it now" is Xi's motto. He always warns officials to perform services while keeping in mind that their official titles are in the hands of the people, instead of within their own grasp.


Unlike their predecessors, the new leaders grew up in a peaceful time, which offered them a chance to receive better education than previous generations.

Notably, they received a complete and systematic education on the mainstream ideology of socialism, which had a formative effect on their views and values, said Dai Yanjun, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.