Two women, younger leaders part of China’s new Politburo
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China's seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, a group whose reformist credentials are few and far between, was in the spotlight on Thursday as it paraded before the world to cap a secretive Communist leadership transition.
But the 18 other people who make up the Politburo — including two who have exhibited relative openness to political experimentation and two who were born in the 1960s — will be in on all major policy decisions for the next five years.
The line-up also includes two women for the first time since the height of the Cultural Revolution in 1969, when the wives of Chairman Mao Zedong and then vice-chairman Lin Biao were on it.
Sun Chunlan, 62, who sources said is a front-runner to become party boss of the northern port city of Tianjin, joined Liu Yandong as the second woman on the Politburo. Liu is tipped to become a vice-premier.
Wang Yang, Guangdong party boss, and Li Yuanchao, party organisation head, were among Politburo members whose standing committee hopes were stymied, though they remain contenders for spots at the next party congress in five years.
Among China's most reform-minded senior politicians, their exclusion from the innermost ring of power is seen by critics as a blow to the party's capacity to reform itself as it contends with corruption, social unrest and environmental degradation.
While the average age of the new standing committee increased to 63.4 years from 62.1 five years ago, the Politburo was a shade younger at 61.16 compared with 61.44 five years ago.
Pulling the Politburo's average age down are two next generation leaders — Sun Zhengcai and Hu Chunhua, according to the line-up. Both are 49, and are part of a cohort of leaders expected to reach the pinnacle of power a decade from now.
This new generation has shown a keener sense of the factors that will shape China's future, from environmental devastation to the rich-poor divide.
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