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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 13:44 GMT
China hands power to 'new generation'
The new Politburo standing committee
The new line-up has been expanded to nine men
China's secretive Communist Party has unveiled a new generation of leaders, but retiring Party chief Jiang Zemin looks set to retain far-reaching influence behind the scenes.


Hu Jintao (AP)
Hu Jintao
  • Trained as engineer
  • Photographic memory
  • Declared martial law in Tibet
  • Has encouraged study of market economics

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  • Vice-President Hu Jintao has been named as the new Party leader.

    But Mr Jiang has managed to get several supporters promoted to the Politburo standing committee - China's key decision-making body - which has been expanded to nine members.

    At least five of his allies have been appointed to the standing committee, and Mr Jiang has also been re-elected to head China's powerful military commission, the body which controls the country's armed forces.

    The new line-up was unveiled to reporters in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Friday.

    "This is a meeting which has carried on the past and opened a new chapter for the future," Mr Hu said.

    Open in new window : Leadership change
    Reaction from the streets

    After weeks of speculation that the party was about to undergo a sweeping overhaul, the final outcome still held elements of surprise, says a BBC correspondent in Beijing, Francis Markus.


    Jiang Zemin (AFP photo)
    Jiang Zemin's successors:
  • Hu Jintao, 59
  • Wu Bangguo, 61, technocrat,
  • Wen Jiabao, 60, economics chief
  • Jia Qinglin, 62, Jiang ally
  • Zeng Qinghong, 63, key Jiang adviser
  • Huang Ju, 64, Jiang ally
  • Wu Guanzheng, 64, provincial governor
  • Li Changchun, 58, Jiang ally
  • Luo Gan, 67, security services chief

    See also:


  • While Hu Jintao's appointment was expected, the line-up which finally emerged from behind the carved wooden screen of the Great Hall of the People had been expanded to nine members from the previous seven.

    Our correspondent says the increase reflects behind-the-scenes horse-trading, as key members of the out-going leadership shoe-horned in protégés and supporters.

    The new line-up was ranked by party seniority. But analysts expect the two most important figures - alongside Mr Hu - to be Zeng Qinghong and Wen Jiabao.

    Mr Zeng is Mr Jiang's closest adviser and henchman and is likely to lead the so-called Jiang faction.

    Mr Wen, a technocrat, is expected to take over the running of the economy.

    Jiang's influence

    Mr Jiang's continuing influence is likely to protect his legacy and family interests. It should also mean that few of the country's policies change, at least not until the new line-up is established.

    Little is known about Mr Hu, 59, who has taken care to promote Mr Jiang's views rather than hint at his own.

    He is seen as a symbol of a generation of younger, better-educated Chinese leaders who will encourage business entrepreneurs whilst trying to guard against social instability. Meaningful political reform looks very unlikely.

    "We firmly believe China's tomorrow will surely be better," Mr Hu told the assembled reporters, grinning broadly.

    "We will live up to the great trust of the entire party and the expectations of people across the country," he said.

    He also credited Mr Jiang for laying the groundwork for his leadership and the party's future.

    In his final speech as Communist Party chief on Thursday, Jiang Zemin hailed the leadership change, saying the party was realising a smooth transition from the old to the new.

    But our correspondent says that this is in fact only a partial transition. Jiang Zemin looks very unlikely to disappear from China's political scene.

     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Adam Brookes in Beijing
    "Months of manoeuvring and speculation ended"
    Dr Kegang Wu, director of Chinalink UK
    "The surprise for me is the younth of the new leaders"
    Anthony Grayling, China specialist
    "He (Hu Jintao) is an extremely careful, thoughtful, flexible...party man"

    Talking PointTALKING POINT
    Jiang ZeminRuling China
    Will new leaders make China more open?

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    15 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
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