China names conservative, older leadership

Wang Qishan

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.

Even for China, this is an older line-up, with an average age of 63.4 compared with 62.1 five years ago.

Except for Xi and his deputy Li Keqiang, all the others in the standing committee - the innermost circle of power in China's authoritarian government - are 64 or over and will have to retire within five years.

That could open the way for Wang and Li Yuanchao to replace them, at the next party congress in 2017, perhaps along with so-called sixth generation leaders like Inner Mongolia party chief Hu Chunhua.

The standing committee has as expected been cut to seven members from nine, which should ease consensus building and decision making.


Xi, who was also appointed head of the party's top military body, said in an address following the party's once-in-five years congress that he understood the people's desire for a better life but warned of severe challenges going forward.

We are not complacent, and we will never rest on our laurels, he said after introducing the other six members of the standing committee at the Great Hall of the People in a carefully choreographed ceremony carried live on state television.

Under the new conditions, our party faces many severe challenges, and there are also many pressing problems within the party that need to be resolved, particularly corruption, being divorced from the people, going through formalities and bureaucracy caused by some party officials.

The run-up to the handover has been overshadowed by the party's biggest scandal in decades, with former high-flyer Bo Xilai sacked as party boss of the southwestern Chongqing city after his wife was accused of murdering a British businessman.

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