Chinese President Xi Jinping stacks leadership team with supporters as he consolidates power

Chinese President Xi Jinping stacks leadership team with supporters as he consolidates power

Chinese President Xi Jinping stacks leadership team with supporters as he consolidates power

Updated 25 October 2017, 16:50 AEDT

Chinese President Xi Jinping has revealed a new seven-man leadership team that features five new faces but doesn't include a clear successor to the president.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has revealed a new seven-man leadership team, featuring five new faces.

Key points:

  • No clear successor to the president has been named, breaking with with recent precedent
  • None of the new appointments will have power to rival Mr Xi
  • Pair previously seen as contenders to succeed Mr Xi were named in second-tier group

Among them are a Shanghai party boss, a Communist ideological scholar and a former party chief of a relatively liberal southern province.

The Communist Party broke with recent precedent by failing to include a clear successor to the president.

Apart from Mr Xi, Premier Li Keqiang was the only one to retain his spot amid sweeping changes on the Politburo Standing Committee, the height of power in the world's second-largest economy.

All of the new faces are Communist Party officials who have built careers by not putting a step out of line or voicing contrary opinions.

Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng were promoted, replacing five retiring members including anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan, a key Xi ally.

All seven are in their 60s, and for the first time no Standing Committee member will have been born before the 1949 Communist revolution.

None will have anywhere near as much clout as the party boss, Mr Xi.

Former contenders left out of team

Guangdong party secretary Hu Chunhua and Chongqing party boss Chen Miner had been previously seen as prominent contenders to succeed Mr Xi among the party's so-called sixth generation of leaders but were not included in the Standing Committee. Instead, both were named to the wider 25-member Politburo, a rung below the Standing Committee.

This week Mr Xi was elevated to the same status as Communist China's founder Mao Zedong by having his ideology written into the constitution.

Mr Xi and Li Keqiang were first promoted to the Standing Committee at the 17th Party Congress in 2007, in a clear signal that the pair would succeed Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao and occupy the top two offices, as transpired five years later.

But Sun Zhengcai, another sixth-generation contender, was abruptly removed from his post as Chongqing party secretary in July, signalling the likelihood Mr Xi would delay naming a successor and adding to speculation that Mr Xi could seek to stay on in some capacity beyond the end of his second term in 2022.

Li Zhanshu, who is considered the closest to Mr Xi among those newly promoted, will likely head China's largely rubber stamp parliament, analysts and sources have said, having held a chief-of-staff style role as head of the party's General Office.

The parliament position will be formally decided at the annual meeting of parliament in March.

Zhao Leji, the head of the party's Organisation Department which oversees personnel decisions, replaces Wang Qishan as head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection after being named on the anti-graft body's list of members on Tuesday.

A new Central Military Commission was also announced. Xu Qiliang stayed on as one of its two vice chairmen, while Zhang Youxia, who is close to Mr Xi, was named its other vice chairman.

ABC/Reuters