Xi Jinping takes over reins in China
Xi Jinping took the helm Thursday of a new, trimmed down Communist Party leadership that insiders said was shaped less by the daunting economic and political challenges facing China over the next decade than by bitter personal and factional rivalries within a secretive Party elite, TV reports from Beijing said .
In a surprise move, Xi replaced outgoing Party chief Hu Jintao as head of the powerful Central Military Commission, which controls the armed forces, making Hu the first Communist Chinese leader to cede all formal powers without bloodshed, purges or political unrest. But the new leadership lineup did not include the two figures with the strongest track record on political reform, dimming prospects that a new generation of rulers is committed to tackling vested interests within its own ranks.
Xi, smiling and waving, led a new Politburo Standing Committee—trimmed as expected from nine to seven members—onto a crimson dais in the vast Great Hall of the People in Beijing in a ceremony shown live on state television on Thursday morning.
"Hello everybody. We've made you all wait," Xi said as he began his first speech as China's new leader, appearing about 45 minutes later than expected. "Our 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," he said later in the speech. "We must make every effort to solve these problems. The whole Party must stay on full alert."
Following Xi onto the dais in second place was Li Keqiang who is widely expected to take over from Wen Jiabao as premier and chief steward of the world's second largest economy at a parliament meeting next year.
In third place was Zhang Dejiang, the former vice premier and Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing, suggesting that he will become the new head of the rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress, when it holds its annual meeting in March.
Xi Jinping was named head of the Communist Party and Li Keqiang is expected to become the premier. As the WSJ's Li Yuan and Brian Spegele discuss, it is who was left off the list that says the most about China's next government.
But in the fierce contest for the remaining seats on the Standing Committee, some figures linked to Hu and . Wen appeared to have been edged out by protégés of Jiang Zemin, the former Party chief who retired in 2002 but remains a powerful political force.
Jiang's tenure was marked by bold economic reforms, but little progress toward a more transparent and representative political system. Among those who didn't make the new leadership were the two figures in the Party elite most closely associated with political reform - Li Yuanchaothe head of the Party's Organization Department, and Wang Yangthe Party chief of Guangdong province.
The following is the list of chairman, vice chairmen and members of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC):
Chairman: Xi Jinping
Vice Chairmen: Fan Changlong, Xu Qiliang
Members: Chang Wanquan, Fang Fenghui, Zhang Yang, Zhao Keshi, Zhang Youxia, Wu Shengli, Ma Xiaotian, Wei Fenghe
The decision was made at the first plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on Thursday
- Asian Tribune -