Who will survive Chinese Communist party’s reshuffle?


Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 16, 2022. — Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 16, 2022. — Reuters

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress kicked off on Sunday with President Xi Jinping set to get a third term as the party’s general secretary, making him China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.

The one-party state is governed by CCP making the general secretary’s post the most important one. Apart from those posts, Xi also holds the title of chairman of the CCP Central Military Commission and the president of the country.

The congress will give the nod to Xi to continue as general secretary and chairman of CCP’s Central Military Commission. Xi’s presidency will be renewed in March 2023 at the annual session of China’s parliament.

Before 2018, a Chinese president was allowed to serve only two terms but the rule was scrapped after Xi’s second term was renewed.

In his opening address to the 2,300 delegates, President Xi hailed China’s rise as a global power and demanded unity around his leadership.

“Unity is strength, and victory requires unity,” Xi said after walking onstage to a thunderous reception from the hand-picked attendees who will vote during the week-long congress on the party leadership for the next five years.

The congress represents all levels of the party hierarchy across China’s 34 provinces and regions. They will appoint close to 400 members of the party’s central committee. The 200 voting members of the central committee will then select a 25-member politburo and the even more elite seven-member political standing committee.

The shuffle within the communist party means new political players will become part of China’s government, while some old faces may face the axe.

Here’s a look at some of the players expected to stay

Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a ceremony at the Monument to the Peoples Heroes on Tiananmen Square to mark Martyrs Day, in Beijing, China September 30, 2021. — Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a ceremony at the Monument to the People’s Heroes on Tiananmen Square to mark Martyrs’ Day, in Beijing, China September 30, 2021. — Reuters

Xi, who took charge of the Communist party in late 2012, is expected to further consolidate his power and rule for another decade after he abolished the two-term presidential limit in 2018.

Here’s the list of Chinese leaders and their terms. 

Name Title Dates
Mao Zedong CCP chairman 1949-1976
Hua Guofeng CCP chairman 1976-1981
Hu Yaobang CCP chairman – position renamed to CCP general secretary 1981-1987
Zhao Ziyang CCP general secretary 1987-1989
Jiang Zemin CCP general secretary 189-2002
Hu Jintao CCP general secretary 2002-12
Xi Jinping CCP general secretary 2012-present

Wang Yang

Wang Yang, newly elected chairman of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), speaks during the closing session of the CPPCC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 15, 2018. — Reuters/File
Wang Yang, newly elected chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), speaks during the closing session of the CPPCC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 15, 2018. — Reuters/File 

Wang Yang, 67, is number 4 in the politburo standing committee as the chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Wang Huning

China’s Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning attends a plenary session of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. — Reuters
China’s Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning attends a plenary session of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. — Reuters

A key ally of Xi and his top foreign policy adviser, Wang Huning, is a current member of the politburo standing committee in charge of party ideology.

Zhao Leji

Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 22, 2021. — Xinhua
Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 22, 2021. — Xinhua 

Zhao Leji, head of the party’s top anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, is expected to stay in the politburo standing committee as the 65-year-old hasn’t yet reached retirement age.

Out but to remain in political fray

Li Keqiang

Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang arrive to meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 15, 2012. — Reuters
Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang arrive to meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 15, 2012. — Reuters

Ranked No 2 in the elite politburo standing committee, Li Keqiang will step down as premier after two terms. He is, however, expected to stay on the committee, as he is 67.

The Chinese premier is also a member of the Political Standing Committee.

Here’s a list of premiers China has had, so far.

Name Title Tenure
Zhou Enlai premier 1949-1976
Hua Guofeng premier 1976-1980
Zhao Ziyang premier 1980-1987
Li Peng premier 1987-1998
Zhu Rongji premier 1998-2003
Wen Jiabao premier 2003-2013
Li Keqiang premier 2013-present

Expected to step down

Li Zhanshu  

Chinas National Peoples Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu speaks during a joint news conference with South Koreas National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, September 16, 2022. — Reuters/File
China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu speaks during a joint news conference with South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, September 16, 2022. — Reuters/File

Li Zhanshu, 72, is the chairman of the standing committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. He was an alternate member of the 16th and 17th CPC Central Committees, a member of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and then a member of the Political Bureau and Secretariat of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

Han Zheng

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, addresses the One Planet Summit via video link in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 11, 2021. — Xinhua
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, addresses the One Planet Summit via video link in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 11, 2021. — Xinhua

Han Zheng, vice premier, 68, is expected to step down from the politburo.

New faces

Ding Xuexiang

Ding Xuexiang, director of the General Office of the Central Committee, attends the opening session of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 4, 2021. — Reuters/File
Ding Xuexiang, director of the General Office of the Central Committee, attends the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 4, 2021. — Reuters/File 

Ding Xuexiang, a trusted ally of Xi and a member of the 25-member politburo, is a frontrunner to be promoted to the elite standing committee.

Hu Chunhua

Hu Chunhua gestures as he answers a question during the Guangdong delegations group discussion during the National Peoples Congress (NPC), at Capital Hotel in Beijing, China March 6, 2015. — Reuters
Hu Chunhua gestures as he answers a question during the Guangdong delegation’s group discussion during the National People’s Congress (NPC), at Capital Hotel in Beijing, China March 6, 2015. — Reuters

Hu Chunhua, widely seen as a political rising star, is poised to be promoted to the politburo standing committee.

Li Qiang

Li Qiang speaks during the Jiangsu delegations group discussion during the National Peoples Congress (NPC), in Beijing, China March 7, 2017. — Reuters
Li Qiang speaks during the Jiangsu delegations group discussion during the National People’s Congress (NPC), in Beijing, China March 7, 2017. — Reuters

Li, the party secretary of Shanghai and a member of the politburo, is a Xi ally and a strong contender to enter the standing committee.


— With additional input from Reuters and AFP.



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