19th Politburo Standing Committee
Xi Jinping 习近平
Xi Jinping is the President of the People’s Republic of China, General Secretary of the Politburo of the 19th Chinese Communist Party , and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Xi kicked off China’s 19th Party Congress in October by outlining a new political doctrine, called “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era. Xi’s “New Era” ideology was then quickly enshrined in the CCP constitution. Though he has spoken against protectionism and called for the market to play a decisive role in the economy, foreign investors have been disappointed with the speed and quality of economic reform in Xi’s China.
Li Keqiang 李克强
As Premier of the State Council, Li is viewed as an advocate for licensing reform and is considered the architect of China’s free trade zones. Statements from Li have emphasized China’s commitment to economic reform and include promises for further market openings, particularly for the services and manufacturing sectors, though he has offered few concrete changes or details in these remarks.
Li Zhanshu 栗战书
Li Zhanshu is regarded as one of President Xi’s top political advisors. Li first worked with Xi as a fellow county-level Party Secretary in Hebei in the early eighties. Since then, Li has served in Shaanxi, Heilongjiang, and Guizhou, where his main priorities have been economic development and poverty alleviation. A member of the Politburo since 2012, Li’s past remarks have emphasized the importance of the Party and Xi’s leadership. In 2015, he said the Party should lead crucial decisions on economic development, and government agencies should implement these decisions within their scope of responsibility.
Wang Yang 汪洋
As the main interlocutor in the US-China economic relationship, Wang Yang played a crucial role in the negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue’s “100-Day Plan,” which resulted in the implementation of some of China’s past commitments on beef imports, credit ratings services, and electronic payment services. Speaking in Washington in 2017, Wang stated, “China's development and progress is a long-term certainty, which offers the most important external environment for foreign businesses to work with China.” During his tenure as Guangdong Party Secretary, Wang was known for encouraging economic, social and political reforms that spurred development. He also turned Guangzhou into a model of transparency by making the city’s budget public in 2009. However, market access liberalizations during this tenure as vice premier in charge of foreign trade and investment have been limited. As the fourth-ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee, it is widely assumed that Wang will become chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body with limited responsibilities.
Wang Huning 王沪宁
Wang Huning is one of Xi’s top political advisors. Wang has most recently served as director of the CCP Central Committee Policy Research Office, the top think tank for the CCP’s leadership. In 2007, Wang was also named a member of the CCP Secretariat. He spent much of his career in academia before becoming a policy advisor. Wang is believed to have helped shape official ideology for at least three administrations and is credited with contributing to the "Three Represents" by Jiang Zemin, the “Scientific Development Concept” by Hu Jintao, and the “Chinese Dream” of Xi Jinping.
Zhao Leji 赵乐际
Zhao replaces Wang Qishan on the Politburo Standing Committee and will assume Wang’s role of heading anticorruption efforts. Zhao is also expected to head the National Supervisory Commission, a body expected to be established next spring as the national anti-corruption watchdog; the new organization may have a status on par with the State Council and the National People’s Congress. Before serving as Party Secretary and Governor of Shaanxi and Qinghai, respectively, Zhao spent most of his career in Qinghai province managing commerce and finance. He also called for creating a “favorable legal environment” to attract foreign investors.
Han Zheng 韩正
Han has been a strong supporter of China’s free trade zone initiatives, which he said could pave the way to greater market reform and more efficient use of government resources. In addition, Han has continued to advocate for foreign investment in China, saying that it will play a crucial role in innovation and growth in Shanghai. Before his appointment as Party Secretary of Shanghai, Han was mayor of the city. Under his leadership, the city saw rapid economic growth and hosted the Shanghai Expo. Han holds a master’s degree from East China Normal University, earning him the title of “senior economist.” As the seventh-ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Han is expected to become executive vice premier of the State Council, with oversight of China’s economy.