Xi Jinping, who was once again elected as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for the third five-year term, will not have any woman member in his top team, according to the new Politburo roster released on Sunday. This is for the first time in 25 years that no woman member has been inducted into the top team, highlighting the stark lack of female representation in the Communist Party’s leadership.
Sun Chunlan, who was the only woman in the previous Politburo, has retired. The last time there was no woman leader in the top team was in 1997, at the 15th Party Congress. At that time, there was just one female alternate member, who could attend the meetings but didn’t have the power to vote.
Unveiling his top leadership team on Sunday, Xi, 69, announced the names of his six loyalists — Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi, as the A-team of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top decision-making body.
For years, there have been several rungs in the Communist Party leadership. The 205-member Central Committee is the main leadership body. This committee appoints the Politburo, which generally has five to nine leaders within that group making up the smaller Standing Committee.
Xi has also named a new military commander with experience in Taiwan affairs as one of his two deputies.
As per China’s state media, the party’s elite Central Committee appointed two vice chairmen to the Central Military Commission, which is considered a powerful institution under Xi since he came to power. One of the new appointees is General He Weidong, the former commander of the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command, which oversees forces closest to Taiwan. The party has retained Gen. Zhang Youxia, 72, the son of a former general who is termed a close ally of Xi.
Xi talks about open China
During his reappointment speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday, XI said an open China was willing to collaborate with the world. “China cannot develop in isolation from the world, and the world also needs China for its development,” Xi said. “We will stay committed to comprehensively deepening reform and opening up, promoting high-quality development, and creating more opportunities for the world through our own development.” He added that China had rapidly developed its economy and achieved “social stability” due to decades of efforts in “reform and opening up.”
(With agency inputs)
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