BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ruling Communist Party unveiled its new seven-man Politburo Standing Committee on Thursday, confirming Xi Jinping’s elevation to the no. 1 spot in the line-up and the end of Hu Jintao’s 10 years as party boss.
The line-up, trimmed from nine members, also includes Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.
DAVID ZWEIG, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:
“He (Xi) is cramped already because of the vested interests. He will be cramped by the families who don’t want their wealth to be investigated. But they cramped him to a certain extent with the people they surrounded him with on the Politburo Standing Committee. Most of these guys are over 64 or 65 and they will be legally empowered until they are 70. Is that the leadership that a country facing crises wants? It might want new, fresh ideas. That’s what crises often need.”
“Except Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, other members will retire in 2017, suggesting that policy will focus more on the next five years, which is a pivotal period for China to lay a solid footing to sustain growth and restore confidence on the economic outlook.”
JEAN-PIERRE CABESTAN, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, HONG KONG BAPTIST UNIVERSITY:
”The leadership is divided. I‘m not saying that they’re not going to try anything. It’s easier for them to move to a new growth model. I think they agree upon that and that won’t be the hardest task. But I see a lot of political paralysis in terms of changing the political system. I don’t see any headway.
“You push Wang Qishan to the (anti-corruption body)... he’s being moved to a rather secondary position and he’s the only rather reformist guy. The other ones are maybe modernizers, but I don’t see them rocking the boat unless Xi Jinping demonstrates leadership and charisma and imposes his views on the rest of the leadership.”
DAVIDE CUCINO, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN CHINA, BEIJING:
“The transition of power offers the new leaders an historic opportunity to quickly implement a decade of stalled reforms that would allow China to shift its economy to a new stage of sustainable growth and towards a more inclusive, higher income society. This will not be an easy task, but we are confident that the new leaders will take bold moves because they know that the required reforms are not only necessary, but now also urgent. In not doing so we see the risk of dangerous outcomes in the business environment.”
ALBERTO FORCHIELLI, MANAGING PARTNER, MANDARIN CAPITAL PARTNERS IN SHANGHAI:
”Words from the new leadership will be reform-minded, but deeds would be very cautious at least in economic and financial restructuring.
”There’s too much resistance and too many vetoes will slow down change. Real pressure for change exists only in more intellectual circles, but normal people do not realize yet what needs to be done in the economy.
”In this sense, China is becoming more and more similar to countries with large voting bases even though people do not actually have the right to vote yet.
”CPC is more adaptive then pro-active, and a crisis may actually help to spur change. It could be also a less dramatic shock such as a banking crisis, local government financing shortfall or a significant slowdown in GDP growth rate.
”I expect little change. Nothing radical. None will do any different than in the past unless there is a crisis. In political terms, the 18th congress means continuity mainly with some strong statements, already heard, but difficult to execute in practice.
“However after the 18th CPC Congress, Mandarin will speed up investment in sectors such as welfare, health, environment, innovative oil and gas and consumer goods, because we believe the future leadership will consistently emphasize these industries without much resistance.”
Reporting by China bureaux; Compiled by Nick Edwards; Editing by Nick Macfie