Meet the 7 Men Who Will Rule China

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Led by Xi Jinping, seven men strode on the red carpet at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 23, revealing the new generation of China’s ruling elites.

  1. Xi Jinping
  2. Li Qiang
  3. Zhao Leji
  4. Wang Huning
  5. Cai Qi
  6. Ding Xuexiang
  7. Li Xi

These powerful officials are members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) top decision-making body. Current leader Xi heads the committee again after closed-door meetings at which roughly 370 hand-picked Party representatives rubber-stamped the committee’s members.

The lineup at the conclusion of the 20th Party Congress demonstrates Xi’s further consolidation of power, with all four newly appointed members being his protégés and allies.

The following are the members who will run the Party for the next five years.

Xi Jinping

Xi confirmed his third five-year term as Party general secretary, a feat that no one since Mao has accomplished. Mao ruled the country for 27 years until his death in 1976.

Xi also retained his position as head of the Central Military Commission and is almost certain to remain the Chinese leader, which will be unveiled after the rubber-stamp legislative meetings next spring. He had already scrapped term limits by revising the constitution in 2018.

The lack of a possible successor to the 69-year-old leader suggests he may intend to extend his term further, which would normally end in 2027.

When Xi first joined the Standing Committee in 2007, it was clear from his age and from the makeup of the committee that he would replace then-Party leader Hu Jintao when Hu’s term ended in 2012.

Now, five of seven of the Standing Committee members, including Xi, are over 65, with Ding Xuexiang, now 60, being the youngest. It means none of them would be young enough to take over the Party’s top position in 2027. The CCP’s decades-long norm is that those who are 68 or older at the time of the Congress would retire.

By Dorothy Li

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