China shuffles leadership committee and retains many Xi allies

China’s President Xi Jinping (C) gestures during the closing ceremony of the 20th Chinese Communist Party’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 22, 2022.

Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

BEIJING — China announced Saturday its new central committee would include many known allies of Chinese President Xi Jinping, while several officials with more market-leaning tendencies were not on the list.

That central committee then goes on to determine the core leadership — the Politburo and its standing committee. Names for those core positions are due out midday Sunday Beijing time, according to state media.

Four of the current seven members of the Politburo standing committee were not on the list. The only three who remained were Xi, Wang Huning — known for his work on ideology — and Zhao Leji — current head of party discipline.

Li Qiang, Shanghai’s party secretary, and his Beijing counterpart Cai Qi remained on the central committee list.

Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis called Li Qiang Xi’s protege. Other Xi loyalists the Asia Society had identified were included in the list of new central committee members.

  • Ding Xuexiang — Politburo member and “essentially Xi’s Chief of Staff, as well as in charge of his personal security, meaning he is among Xi’s most trusted circle,” the Asia Society report said.
  • Chen Min’er — Politburo member and party secretary of the Chongqing municipality, a job he gained by Xi’s “abrupt ousting” of the prior secretary, Asia Society pointed out.
  • Huang Kunming — Politburo member and head of China’s propaganda department, who worked closely with Xi in the provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, the report said.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi remained on the new list, despite expectations he might retire and leave room for a shift in China’s foreign policy, which has turned increasingly aggressive.

Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the U.S., was also on the new list.

Hu Chunhua, another favorite for the premier role, remained on the list.  Hu has close ties to Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao. Promoting him would signal “leadership unity” with Xi appointing people from outside his faction, Brookings senior fellow Cheng Li said at a talk earlier this month.

Hu Jintao was escorted out from his seat next to Xi during the closing ceremony of the party’s 20th National Congress on Saturday, according to reports and multiple eyewitnesses. It was unclear why he was unexpectedly ushered out.

China’s President Xi Jinping (R) talks to former president Hu Jintao as he is ushered out from the closing ceremony of the 20th Chinese Communist Party’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 22, 2022.

Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

Who was left out

People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang was not on the list, while China Securities Regulatory Commission Chair Yi Huiman was.

Wang Yang, who is known to be more market-oriented and a potential premier candidate, was not included in the new list of 205 members of the central committee of the Communist Party of China.

Li Keqiang, the outgoing premier, was not included either.

Liu He, a vice premier who led trade negotiations with the U.S., was not on the list.

Banking regulator Guo Shuqing was not on the new central committee list.

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