Normal service is resumed in China

CHINA’S top economic reformer, Wang Qishan, has been given the task of tackling corruption in the ruling Communist Party, with the lesser-known party chief Zhang Gaoli, set to take over day-to-day management of the world’s second-largest economy.

In a once-in-a-decade leadership reshuffle in Beijing on Thursday, China’s new President, Xi Jinping, announced the make-up of the party’s seven-member ruling elite, the Politburo Standing Committee.

Along with the majority of his new standing committee colleagues, Mr Zhang, party secretary of port city Tianjin, has been labelled by some analysts as conservative, favouring continuity and status quo in the ruling party’s ideology rather than bold reform.

Chinese analysts have expressed concern over the political will of the party to make urgent reforms needed in the country’s dominant state-owned sector, after outgoing president Hu Jintao stressed last week the importance of the state-owned sector staying strong.

”Normal service is resumed,” said David Kelly, a Beijing-based analyst with research firm China Policy.

”This is an administration which will not introduce deep reforms immediately. We need to see how much political capital they can accumulate, how they can settle some of the embarrassing situations in the elite – but in general it’s going to be normal service,” he said.

But University of Sydney professor Hans Hendrischke pointed out that Mr Zhang was heavily involved in extensive economic reforms in the thriving technology hub of Shenzhen.

”And he has been posted to Tianjin where he had to make a transition from state-owned enterprises as a basis of the economy to a slow move toward private enterprise, foreign joint ventures and special economic zones,” Professor Hendrischke said.

The governor of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, was left out of the party’s 200-strong central committee. He is expected to retire. Guo Shuqing, reform-minded head of China’s Securities Regulatory Commission, is touted as a probable successor.

A record number of Chinese bankers and regulators – five – have been appointed to the central committee, ensuring that the interests of China’s largest banks and financial regulators will be voiced at the highest level of decision-making.

In his speech at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Mr Xi, who also inherited the reins of the world’s largest military, repeated warnings made by outgoing leaders Mr Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao that corruption among Chinese leaders posed the greatest threat to the survival of the ruling Communist Party, and even the state.

The other members of the Politburo Standing Committee will be Li Keqiang, who replaces Mr Wen as Premier, Zhang Dejiang, Hangzhou party chief Yu Zhengsheng and Liu Yunshan.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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