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China’s Communist Party Central Committee - who’s in, who’s out

Wang Qishan, 69, the anti-corruption tzar and current Standing Committee member, is not on the new Central Committee, ending months of speculation about his fate.

world Updated: Oct 25, 2017 10:13 IST
Delegates attend the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 24, 2017.
Delegates attend the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 24, 2017. (Reuters)

China’s ruling Communist Party announced a new Central Committee, the largest of its elite ruling bodies, at the closing session of the 19th Communist Party Congress on Tuesday, a course-setting leadership reshuffle held every five years.

The list provides clues to who will, or won’t, fill top party positions during President Xi Jinping’s second term. The party will announce its new Politburo Standing Committee around midday (0400 GMT) on Wednesday. The Standing Committee, which now includes seven members headed by Xi and is the apex of power in China, is selected by the new Central Committee.

Here are noteworthy names:

- Wang Qishan, 69, the anti-corruption tsar and current Standing Committee member, is not on the new Central Committee, ending months of speculation whether he would remain for another term and break an unofficial retirement rule of not taking a new position after age 68.

China's Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan (centre), the head of the anti-corruption watchdog, leaves after the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 24, 2017. (Reuters)

Wang may still get a leadership role outside the Standing Committee, sources told Reuters before the congress.

- Zhao Leji, 60, head of the party’s Organization Department, which oversees personnel decisions, made both the Central Committee and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Committee lists, suggesting he may take over Wang Qishan’s role as top graft-buster.

Zhao Leji (centre), a member of the Political Bureau of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, attends the closing of the 19th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 24, 2017. (AFP)

- Vice President Li Yuanchao, who is on the cusp of retirement at the age of 67, is expected to retire from the 25-member Politburo after he was not included on the 204-member Central Committee.

- China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, 67, could keep his state councilor job or be further promoted to parliament or its advisory body after he made it back to the Central Committee.

File photo of US secretary of state Rex Tillerson greeting Chinese state councillor Yang Jiechi at the state department in Washington on February 28, 2017. (Reuters)

If Yang retires, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, 64 this month, and Song Tao, 62, minister of the party’s International Liaison Department, are the top contenders for Yang’s job. Both Wang and Song are Central Committee members.

- Veteran diplomat Liu Jieyi, 59, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, was elected to the Central Committee and is expected to take over as minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, replacing Zhang Zhijun, who is retiring.

- Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng, 58, the oldest son of former premier Li Peng, became a full member of the Central Committee. He was the lowest vote-getter among alternate members of the Central Committee five years ago.

- Ten women made it onto the committee, 4.9 percent of the total, basically the same proportion as the previous Central Committee. There were also 16 delegates from ethnic minorities, three of whom are women.

- China’s top banking regulator Guo Shuqing, veteran banker Jiang Chaoliang and securities regulator Liu Shiyu, the three front runners to succeed Zhou Xiaochuan as central bank governor, were all voted onto the Central Committee.