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China's Communist Party Chooses New Leaders

By Daniel Schearf
22 October 2007

China's Communist Party rulers have chosen the country's leaders for the next five years. The party selected nine members for the powerful political bureau standing committee after a weeklong Party Congress approved President Hu Jintao's development agenda. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

President Hu Jintao announced the new leaders of the party's standing committee in a live television broadcast Monday.

Mr. Hu, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and three other members were chosen for a second term to the nine-member committee. Four newcomers were selected, including two men thought to be potential successors to Mr. Hu and Mr. Wen: Shanghai Party Secretary Xi Jinping and Liaoning province head Li Keqiang.

The committee is the most powerful body for the ruling Communist Party.

Mr. Hu said the party leaders would work toward a more open government and push ahead with party reforms and a peaceful foreign policy.

He says the leaders are keenly aware of their difficult tasks and grave responsibilities. They will rely on all other party members and people to accomplish the tasks set at the 17th Congress. And he promises they will do their best to be worthy of the great trust placed in them.

The two other newcomers are Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang and head of party personnel He Guoqiang.

Aside from Mr. Hu and Mr. Wen, other re-selected leaders are the party's second-highest ranking member, Wu Bangguo, propaganda department boss Li Changchun, and the head of the parliament's advisory body Jia Qinglin.

Several of those men are linked to former President Jiang Zemin, who left office five years ago, but continues to influence events.

David Zweig is a China expert at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He says the new leadership shows Mr. Hu was not able to fully seize control and may have trouble pushing through his policies.

"Clearly he has strengthened himself through this Party Congress but I do not think he can dominate Chinese politics the way that Mao was able to or Deng Xiaoping was able to or maybe even Jiang Zemin was able to," said Zweig.

The selections wrap up the work of the 17th Party Congress, which formally ended Sunday.

During the weeklong session, delegates amended the party constitution to enshrine Mr. Hu's "scientific outlook on development" program, along with the political catchphrases of other former leaders.

Mr. Hu says he wants to create sustainable development by directing investment to the impoverished countryside and to keep rapid economic growth from further damaging China's environment.

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