China is set for "sweeping" leadership changes next year as president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao were due to retire, an official media report said without confirming the widely held view that vice president Xi Jinping would succeed Hu.
"Only the murkiest of crystal balls can't foresee that only China is certain to have a new president and premier," state-run Global Times, which is also the official organ of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), reported on Monday.
"The change in leadership in China will be sweeping as seven of the nine members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee will come to the end of their second term or reach retirement age," it said.
Though it is widely expected that Hu, Wen and their generation of leadership would retire after Party Congress this year as they have completed two terms from 2003, this is the first official confirmation of sorts about the leadership of the party, which functions in shroud of secrecy.
Significantly the report kept the leadership position of the Party General Secretary open without confirming the widely held view that Xi Jinping would take over from Hu.
250 officials charged with corruption
China has initiated legal action against 250 officials including 36 leading ruling party members for economic offenses worth over $538 million.
Cases involving 36 senior officials and 214 others were transferred to judicial or discipline authorities in 2011 for investigations after national economic accountability audit.