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China’s Leadership Change: The Ongoing Discussion


Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 8, 2012 Last Updated: November 26, 2012
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17:14 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Liu Yunshan

New propaganda czar Liu Yunshan, now a member of the Standing Committee, greets the press on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Liu Yunshan was born in Xinzhou City, Shanxi Province in 1947. His parents were Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres in Inner Mongolia. His father was a subordinate of Bo Yibo, the father to disgraced official Bo Xilai. After graduating from Jining Normal School in the province, he worked as a teacher, a clerk at the propaganda department, and a reporter for the Inner Mongolia Bureau of the state mouthpiece Xinhua. Between July 1982 and February 1984, Liu Yunshan served the deputy secretary of Communist Youth League in Inner Mongolia, while Hu Jintao was the secretary of the Secretariat of the Communist Youth League Central Committee. Therefore, Liu has been classified as Hu’s Youth League Faction.

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16:00 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Zhang Gaoli

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Gaoli, executive vice-premier newly minted member of the Standing Committee, was born in 1946 to an impoverished family living in Jinjiang County, Fujian Province. His father passed away while Zhang was younger than 10 years old and his widowed mother struggled to bring up five children. Zhang Gaoli attended Qiaosheng Middle School in Jingjiang City. In 1965, he was admitted to the Department of Economics at Xiamen University, where he majored in planning statistics. His schooling was suspended during the Cultural Revolution, though he later completed his degree. 

In 1970, Zhang Gaoli was assigned to Guangdong Maoming Petroleum Company as a worker. Two important men took a liking to him: Zeng Qinghong, then Deputy Director of Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Petroleum, and Zhou Yongkang, Manager General of China Petroleum & Natural Gas Co., Ltd. Both are known stalwarts of Jiang Zemin.

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15:29 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Wang Qishan

Wang Qishan attends a joint press conference after the 5th China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue Dec. 5, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Guang Niu/Getty Images)

Wang Qishan attends a joint press conference after the 5th China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue Dec. 5, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Guang Niu/Getty Images)

Wang Qishan was born in July 1948 in Tianzhen County, Shanxi Province. His father was a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Graduated from Beijing 35 High School in 1969, he was an “educated youth” sent to the countryside in Yanan City, Shaanxi Province. During this period he met the daughter of the top Party leader Yao Yilin, named Yao Mingshan, whom he later married. In 1973, Wang, as a so-called worker-farmer-soldier student during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), entered Northwest University to study history. After graduating in 1976, he worked at the Shaanxi Museum for three years, then changed his major from history of the Republic of China to modern macroeconomics.

In 1982, Yao Yilin entered the Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee as an alternate member for the Political Bureau, and Wang Qishan was then placed in the Rural Policy Research Office of the CCP Central Committee Secretariat. This was the transition point that turned Wang Qishan to politics. 

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13:02 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Zhang Dejiang

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Dejiang, a new member of the Standing Committee, shown at at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 15 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Zhang Dejiang was born in Tai’an County, Liaoning Province, in 1946. He is a princeling because his father Zhang Zhiyi was a former artillery major general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Zhang was a red guard in the Cultural Revolution, and then went to the countryside in Jilin to work with peasants as an “educated youth.” Zhang entered Yanbian University and studied in the Korean Language Department until he graduated 1972. In 1978, he began studying economics at Kim-Il-Sung University in North Korea, and served as the vice president of the Yanban University Party Committee after returning home.

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12:06 p.m. EST Thursday — A Look at the New Party Leaders: Yu Zhengsheng

Yu Zhengsheng, Party Secretary of Shanghai and Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s Standing Committee, shown at the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2012 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Yu Zhengsheng, Party Secretary of Shanghai and Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s Standing Committee, shown at the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2012 in Beijing. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Yu Zhengsheng, born in April 1945 in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, was able to join the 18th Party Congress Politburo Standing Committee at the near retirement age of 68. He has a prominent communist family background and extensive political connections. Yu is expected to be the Party Secretary and Chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a Party-led advisory body.

Yu Zhengsheng’s father, Yu Qiwei (also known as Huang Jing), first introduced Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, whose original name was Li Yunhe, to the Party. Yu Qiwei and Jiang Qing had previously lived together.

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A combo of file pictures shows China's new Politburo Standing Committee members (from L to R) Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. China unveiled its new leaders on Nov. 15, 2012. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

A combo of file pictures shows China's new Politburo Standing Committee members (from L to R) Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. China unveiled its new leaders on Nov. 15, 2012. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

11:45 p.m. EST Wednesday — Chinese Regime Unveils New Leadership, With Few Surprises

A day after the Chinese Communist Party concluded its 18th Party Congress, the 376 members of the Central Committee that were nominally “elected” during that event entered once more the Great Hall of the People and “elected” the new Politburo.

The outcome of these events had been planned and decided upon inside the Party in advance, of course. The voting was just for show. But ritual plays a crucial role for China’s communist regime, and right after the “vote” the new committee members were trotted out to meet and greet waiting foreign and state media. The guests were kept waiting nearly an hour, a record delay in the tightly scripted world of Chinese communist political ritual.

All eyes were on the Standing Committee of the Politburo, a group of of seven men (down from nine) that is the nerve center of the Party. The composition of the Standing Committee had been a matter of speculation and conjecture for months.

Two positions in that body had already been decided: Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the CCP, and Li Keqiang, the next premier.

The five new members of the elite group, announced for the first time on Nov. 15 in Beijing, were: Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli.

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