China's Future Leadership–a Game of Chess

October 26, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: October 26, 2007 12:00 am

After the new communist central leaders have been elected, huge changes are expected in the ministry, provincial governors, and vice premier levels. Besides the topic of who the next General Secretary will be, people are also paying much attention to Wen Jiabao's new cabinet, which will be decided in February.

The newly elected members of the Political Bureau, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, and Wang Qishan, are viewed as candidates for vice premiers, who will probably enter Wen Jiabao's cabinet.

Twenty-Five New Members

Apple Daily reported that among the new members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC), 13 people are from the Central Ministries and Commissions, 10 are from local committees, and 2 are Generals from the People's Liberation Army.

The two youngest, both 52 years old, are the present secretary of the Liaoning Provincial Party Committee, Li Keqiang, and the secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Party Committee, Wang Yang. Wang Yang and Li Yuanchao, secretary of Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee, were recently elected members of the CCCPC. Now they have jumped into the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Ministry of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee. Liu Yandong was the only female member elected to the Political Bureau this year.

Likely Candidates

According to the name list of members of the Standing Committee and the Committee of the Political Bureau, it is not difficult to deduce the current member who will likely become the leader of the future government. This will supposedly be decided in the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) and the Political Consultative Conference next March.

It has been a common practice that members of the Political Bureau will take the posts of China's vice premiers. The present vice premiers, Wu Yi and Zeng Peiyan, are expected to retire after next year's NPC. Adding Huang Ju, who recently passed away, three will be required to replace the vice premiers. The most probable successors are Li Keqiang, the Guangdong Provincial Party Secretary, Zhang Dejiang, and Beijing mayor Wang Qishan.

Before the 17th CPC National Congress, Li Keqiang had been regarded as the successor of Hu Jintao. However, according to his current position in the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC elected during this Congress, he is next to Xi Jinping, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee. So Li Keqiang is expected to take the post of executive vice premier, in charge of taxation, industrial, transportation, and labor insurance affairs.

Wang Qishan is also a candidate for vice premier. Sources reveal that Wang studied rural policy and has had experience in the financial system for many years. So he is regarded as the candidate for vice premier in charge of financial affairs.

Zhang Dejiang, a follower of Jiang Zemin, is expected to take charge of part of Wu Yi's duties, foreign trade and economics, quality inspection and food safety affairs.

Provincial Changes

For provincial governors, Wang Yang, the present secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Party Committee will replace Zhang Dejiang and take the post of secretary of the Guangdong Provincial CPC Committee. Commerce Minister Bo Xilai will take Wang's post as secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Party Committee. Yu Zhengsheng, secretary of the Hubei Provincial Party Committee, will replace Xi Jinping and take the post of secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee.