Some well-known names in China’s cabinet, including central banker Zhou Xiaochuan, and senior provincial officials, on Monday entered leadership of the country’s top political advisory body.
The leaders that comprises a chairman and 23 vice chairpersons were elected by members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Yu Zhengsheng, 67, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was elected chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, replacing Jia Qinglin.
Having been governor of the People’s Bank of China since 2002, Zhou Xiaochuan is one of the most prominent figures among the newly-elected vice chairpersons.
The 65-year-old senior banker is sometimes dubbed “China’s Alan Greenspan” for his pivotal role in taking charge of China’s monetary policies for the last decade.
The new lineup unveiled Monday features both veteran advisors and newcomers, high-profile officials of the State Council and experienced CPC chiefs or regional leaders, as well as senior officials from departments of the CPC Central Committee and leaders of democratic parties.
With an average age of 63.7 years, the leadership members are younger in average than their predecessors were when they took office five years ago. More than half of them hold master’s degrees and some have doctorates.
“The new leadership has a wider background of knowledge, better education and more experience in working at various posts,” said Ji Zhengju, an official from the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, a CPC think tank.
“This will greatly improve expertise of the CPPCC National Committee and quality of its work,” Ji added.
Du Qinglin, who is ranked first among the vice chairpersons, is a member of the secretariat of the CPC Central Committee.
The 66-year-old official had worked in Jilin, Hainan and Sichuan provinces before being appointed minister of Agriculture and then head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.
Ling Jihua, head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, also became vice chairpersons of the top advisory body.
Five provincial heads were promoted to the CPPCC National Committee leadership, compared with only one in the previous lineup. They are CPC chiefs Zhang Qingli of Hebei Province, Su Rong of Jiangxi and Lu Zhangong of Henan, as well as Wang Zhengwei, chairman of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and Ma Biao, chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
“A group of provincial heads with rich working experience are joining the ranks of the CPPCC National Committee leadership,” said Prof. Dai Yanjun at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
“Having worked on leading posts in provinces and autonomous regions for a long time, these officials have wide connections and have developed skills in tackling sophisticated issues,” Ji said. “Their promotions will help boost efficiency and effectiveness of the Chinese mechanism of consultative democracy.”
“Methodological training and working experience are two sides of a coin, both are inseparable from each other,” said Wang Zhengwei, who is the youngest among the vice chairpersons.
An ethnic Hui, Wang is an expert on economics and the culture of Hui ethnicity. During his tenure in Ningxia, he visited the least-developed areas and produced a large amount of research.
Lin Wenyi is one of two female vice chairpersons in the new leadership. She is chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, one of eight non-communist political parties on the Chinese mainland.
Lin, 68, a native of Tainan in south Taiwan, earned both undergraduate and doctoral degrees in engineering at Tsinghua University and later became a professor.
The other female vice chairperson is Li Haifeng, director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council. She has nearly ten years of experience in dealing with affairs concerning overseas Chinese.
Sixty-year-old Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang was re-elected as vice chairperson. A member of China Zhi Gong Dang, he has been one of the first non-communist ministers since China adopted the policy of reform and opening-up three decades ago.
Tibetan Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, 73, is the most experienced top political advisor among the new leadership. He is beginning his eighth term as vice chairperson of the CPPCC National Committee.
Also re-elected are two former chief executives of the special administrative regions: Tung Chee-hwa from Hong Kong and Edmund Ho Hau Wah from Macao.
Chen Yuan, chair of the board of directors of the China Development Bank, was elected to the leadership for the first time. He is son to Chen Yun, a CPC revolutionary veteran.
The lineup also includes leaders of non-communist parties, including Han Qide from the Jiu San Society, Luo Fuhe from the China Association for Promoting Democracy, Qi Xuchun from the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, Chen Xiaoguang from the China Democratic League, Ma Peihua from the China National Democratic Construction Association and Liu Xiaofeng from the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party.
Wang Qinmin, chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, also joined the top ranks of the CPPCC National Committee.