China’s New Leaders


Today China's Communist Party confirmed the membership of the Politburo Standing Committee – the seven leaders who will run China for the next 10 years (with a possible minor reshuffle halfway through). Elizabeth Economy is unimpressed:

The candidates for the Politburo Standing Committee with the strongest reform credentials—Li Yuanchao and Wang Yang—were left high and dry, while those who anchor the “hold back change at all cost” wing of the Party—Zhang Dejiang and Liu Yunshan—took their place among the top seven. The remaining five—Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Gaoli, Yu Zhengsheng, and Wang Qishan—represent a range of relativity: relatively more or less interested in political reform and relatively more or less committed to economic reform. 

Evan Osnos reflects on the picks:

[T]he Party chose some of its most ardent conservatives. One is a seasoned propagandist. Another received his economics training in North Korea. They were so faithful to precedent that all but one wore a nearly identical dark suit and red tie. After months of secretive politicking over questions of reform and legitimacy, the Party seems to have sided with what one politics-watcher called the “unwritten party rule which favored seniority over competence.”

(Photo: From left to right, Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan greet the media at the Great Hall of the People on November 15, 2012, in Beijing. By Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)