Cautious reformers tipped for new China leadership

Mon Nov 5, 2012 6:27pm EST
 
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party will this month unveil its new top leadership team, expected to again be an all-male cast of politicians whose instincts are to move cautiously on reform.

Sources close to the leadership say 10 main candidates are vying for seven seats on the party's next Politburo Standing Committee, the peak decision-making body which will steer the world's second-largest economy for the next five years.

Only two candidates are considered certainties going into the party's 18th congress, which starts on Thursday: leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping and his designated deputy, Li Keqiang, who are set to be installed as president and premier next March.

Of the remaining eight contenders, only one has the reputation as a political reformer and only one is a woman.

Following are short biographies of the candidates, including their reform credentials and possible portfolio responsibilities.

XI JINPING

REFORM CREDENTIALS: Considered a cautious reformer, having spent time in top positions in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, both at the forefront of China's economic reforms.

Xi Jinping, 59, is China's vice president and President Hu Jintao's anointed successor. He will take over as Communist Party boss at the congress and then as head of state in March.

Xi belongs to the party's "princeling" generation, the offspring of communist revolutionaries. His father, former vice premier Xi Zhongxun, fought alongside Mao Zedong in the Chinese civil war. Xi watched his father purged and later, during the Cultural Revolution, spent years in the hardscrabble countryside before making his way to university and then to power.   Continued...

 
A worker installs a propaganda banner, promoting the Communist Party congress, outside the 700-year-old Dongyue Temple in central Beijing November 5, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray