by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 15, 2012
Following are brief sketches of key contenders for the Chinese Communist Party's new Politburo Standing Committee, the country's most powerful body, to be revealed on Thursday.
-- CERTAINTIES --
The son of a revered communist revolutionary, Xi, 59, is expected to be named general secretary of the party Thursday and become national president in March 2013.
Xi is said to be backed by former president Jiang Zemin, who remains influential today, but is widely considered a consensus figure in China's factional politics.
He has served as top leader in Shanghai and the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, all of them economically successful. His wife Peng Liyuan is a famous singer who holds the rank of army general, while their daughter reportedly studies at Harvard University.
A bureaucrat with an unusually easy smile for China's colourless Communist officials, Li moves up in the party hierarchy and is due to be named prime minister in March, tasked with running the world's second-largest economy.
Vice Premier Li, 57, has held top posts in Henan and Liaoning provinces and was promoted to the Standing Committee in 2007. Long linked to outgoing President Hu Jintao, Li speaks English and has a law degree from Peking University.
-- FAVOURITES --
Born November 1946, Zhang was installed as party secretary of the mega-city of Chongqing in February to replace disgraced Bo Xilai, whose fall amid scandal added to the usual factional uncertainty ahead of this year's reshuffle.
An economics graduate of Kim Il-Sung University in North Korea, Zhang has been vice premier in charge of energy, telecommunications and transportation since 2008.
Believed to be a protege of Jiang Zemin, he has been party boss of the economically booming provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong.
Yu, 67, has been party secretary of Shanghai since 2007, when he replaced the promoted Xi Jinping. A previous party secretary of Hubei province, Yu studied at the Harbin Military Engineering Institute.
The son of Yu Qiwei, a party elder better known as Huang Jing, Yu is considered a Communist "princeling" and reportedly enjoyed good ties with Deng Xiaoping -- respected late architect of China's economic resurrection three decades ago -- and is friends with Deng's son, Deng Pufang.
Liu, 65, has been the Party propaganda chief since 2002. A former reporter for the state news agency Xinhua in Inner Mongolia in the mid-1970s, Liu became vice party secretary for the region in 1992. Widely viewed as a conservative.
Born November 1946, Zhang has been party secretary of Tianjin municipality since 2007. Trained as an economist, he spent decades in the southern business hub of Guangdong, rising to provincial vice party secretary.
Ran the booming city of Shenzhen, next to Hong Kong, in the late 1990s and later served as party secretary of Shandong province in eastern China. Reportedly a protege of Jiang Zemin and close to Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing.
Wang, 64, is currently vice premier. He is a former Beijing mayor, Guangdong boss, and vice governor of the People's Bank of China.
An English speaker, he represents China in economic talks with the United States and European Union, whose leaders have praised him for his efforts to help advance economic ties.
He is reportedly married to the daughter of a standing committee member from the Deng Xiaoping era, and is often grouped with the princeling faction.
-- POSSIBLES --
Born November 1950, he has since 2007 headed the party's powerful Organisation Department, which controls personnel appointments across the vast Communist system.
A member of the Communist Youth League central committee from 1983-1990, where he is believed to have established close ties with the league's former head, Hu Jintao.
Party secretary of Guangdong province since 2007, and previously party secretary of Chongqing.
Wang, 57, is considered a reformer, credited with promoting development in Guangdong by emphasising private enterprise, economic growth and a greater -- although very limited -- role for civil society.
Born in November 1945, she was named to the 25-member Politburo in 2007, the only woman on the committee and as such China's highest-ranking female politician.
Served in the China Youth League from 1982-1991 under Hu, with whom she is believed to have strong ties. Graduated from Tsinghua University in 1970. Currently a cabinet member responsible for education, health and civil affairs.
Born July 1947, Meng has been public security minister since 2007. He became deputy mayor of Shanghai in 1993 and rose to deputy party secretary there from 1996-2001.
His term as public security minister has been marked by a dramatic strengthening of China's police state, and fierce crackdowns on ethnic unrest in the restive minority regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.
China News from SinoDaily.com
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