I have had a really hard time writing today’s issue because I think this Party Congress is even harder to figure out than previous ones on the Xi Era.
The new Politburo Standing Committee is Xi Jinping 习近平, Li Qiang 李强, Zhao Leji 赵乐际, Wang Huning 王沪宁, Cai Qi 蔡奇, Ding Xuexiang 丁薛祥 and Li Xi 李希. “Running the table” does not do enough to describe how Xi outmaneuvered other senior leaders to dominate the creation of this new leadership team.
We do not yet know their specific roles but the assumptions are Li Qiang will become Premier; Zhao Leji will head the NPC; Wang Huning will head the CPPCC; Cai Qi will run the Central Secretariat and Ding Xuexiang will be Executive Vice Premier. Li Xi we already know is charge of the CCDI.
Yes they may all be “yes men” and so the risk of policy errors increases, but they also may be able to push policy changes faster and more effectively, for good or bad, and the new Politburo has several experienced engineering and technology managers who may be a pe…