China names conservative, older leadership

Nov 15 2012, 14:26 IST
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China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan (Reuters) China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan (Reuters)
SummaryIt appears unlikely that new leaders will take drastic action to tackle social unrest, graft issues.

them, at the next party congress in 2017, perhaps along with so-called sixth generation leaders like Inner Mongolia party chief Hu Chunhua.

The standing committee has as expected been cut to seven members from nine, which should ease consensus building and decision making.

SEVERE CHALLENGES

Xi, who was also appointed head of the party's top military body, said in an address following the party's once-in-five years congress that he understood the people's desire for a better life but warned of severe challenges going forward.

We are not complacent, and we will never rest on our laurels, he said after introducing the other six members of the standing committee at the Great Hall of the People in a carefully choreographed ceremony carried live on state television.

Under the new conditions, 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 bureaucracy caused by some party officials.

The run-up to the handover has been overshadowed by the party's biggest scandal in decades, with former high-flyer Bo Xilai sacked as party boss of the southwestern Chongqing city after his wife was accused of murdering a British businessman.

North Korean-trained economist Zhang Dejiang is expected to head the largely rubber-stamp parliament, while Shanghai party boss Yu Zhengsheng is likely to head parliament's advisory body, according to the order in which their names were announced.

Tianjin party chief Zhang Gaoli and Liu Yunshan, a conservative who has kept domestic media on a tight leash, make up the rest of the group.

Xi will take over President Hu's state position in March at the annual meeting of parliament, when Li Keqiang will succeed Premier Wen Jiabao.

Despite the problems ahead, Xi will at least not have to worry about Hu looking too much over his shoulder.

Hu has not followed his predecessor Jiang Zemin in staying on as head of the military commission after stepping down as party chief. Xi has instead directly taken over that post, strengthening his position.

Advocates of reform are pressing Xi to cut back the privileges of state-owned firms, make it easier for rural migrants to settle in cities, fix a fiscal system that encourages local governments to live off land expropriations and, above all, tether the powers of a state that they say risks suffocating growth and fanning discontent.

With growing public anger and unrest over everything from corruption to

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