The top leadership line-up of the Communist Party of China (CPC) made a group debut Monday morning upon their election at the first plenum of the 17th CPC Central Committee, with Hu Jintao reelected as the Party chief for a second term.
New faces in the pinnacle Political Bureau Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee are Xi Jinping, Li Keqing, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang. They joined the nine-member echelon with the previous standing committee members, namely Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin and Li Changchun.
Other new comers in the Political Bureau are Wang Gang, Wang Qishan, Liu Yandong, Li Yuanchao, Wang Yang, Zhang Gaoli, Xu Caihou, Bo Xilai, Ling Jihua and Wang Huning.
Six of the newly-elected political bureau members and the CPC Central Committee Secretariat were born in the 1950s. They spent their formative years in a peaceful but transformative China.
They outlived the severest natural disasters in modern China that lasted from 1959 to 1961, witnessed in their childhood the frenetic development drive of Great Leap Forward (1958-19561), and grew up in the Cultural Revolution which threw China into a decade- long turmoil ending 1976.
With bachelor's degrees or even doctorates, they rose from the grass-roots, acquainted themselves with the lives of the people and stood out with expertise in economy, business management and social sciences.
"With these people joining in, the central collective leadership of the Party has gained more vigor and vitality," said professor Liu Chun, deputy dean of the Graduate Institute of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
New blood in Politburo Standing Committee
Xi Jinping, 54, was trained as a chemical engineer at the prestigious Tsinghua University and much later got doctorate in law.
Earlier this year, Xi was appointed Party chief of China's commercial and financial hub Shanghai and has brought many new looks on the eastern municipality after a corruption scandal felled his predecessor Chen Liangyu, who is now under criminal investigation for alleged illegal use of 3.2 billion-yuan (US$427 million) social security funds.
A native of north China's Shaanxi Province, Xi said he had spent "his most memorable time", about 17 years, in Fujian, a southeastern economic powerhouse that is just opposite to Taiwan.
While steering the Fujian provincial government, Xi encouraged better public services for increasing trade between Fujian and Taiwan. "Ma-Shang-Jiu-Ban", the Chinese for "Go and handle it", is his trademark tag for efficiency.
After being promoted in November 2002 to the post of Party secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, Xi mapped out a package of measures ranging from ecology to culture to foster harmonious development in the province.
Li Keqiang, 52, the youngest among the newly-elected, mounted the political ladder from the very bottom as Party secretary of a "sheng chan dui", a village-level production unit in the era of communes.
From the first-secretary of the Chinese Communist Youth League to the chiefs of China's major granary provinces Henan and Liaoning, the doctorate with the Economic Institute of Beijing University co-authored a treatise titled "On the Tri-Structure of China's Economy" and won over the country's top economic award-- Sun Yefang Economic Prize.
Sources close to Li said that he cared about the sufferings of the public and was good at integrating the Marxism and western economic theories with China's economic reforms.
He Guoqiang, 63, an engineer-turned Party cadre, has established his name for playing tough against corruption since taking over the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee in 2002.
He opened the hot-line 12380 to encourage people to muckrake corrupted officials and vowed to crack down on the pernicious practice of landing promotions by greasing the palms of higher-ups or even purchasing official ranks.
The native to central China's Hunan Province commanded the country's largest-ever drive in the Party's history on Marxism education to secure the vanguard role of CPC members.
He also served as the governor of east China's Fujian Province and Party secretary of Chongqing Municipality.
Zhou Yongkang, 64, the minister of Public Security and the first commissar of the Armed Police Force, was recognized by his bold and resolute reforms to rectify the work style of the police and eliminate corruption.
"Be clean, exercise self-discipline and abide by law. Neither abuse power for personal gains nor take bribes and bend the law. Do not provide protective shield to offenders," he taught the police.
A native to Jiangsu Province, eastern China, Zhou once served as general manager of the China National Petroleum Corporation, Minister of Land and Resources and the Party Secretary of Sichuan Province.
In the words of Li Lianyu, a delegate to the 17th CPC National Congress which closed on Sunday, the injection of new blood to the central leadership is very crucial for the country to materialize the goals put forth by the Party.
"We count on the new central collective leadership to steer the country into prosperity and harmony at a new starting point," he said.
Meeting with the press upon election on Monday, Hu Jintao said on behalf of the new leadership that the Politburo Standing Committee is fully aware of its heavy duties and would mobilize the Party and the people to advance the national drive and live up to the trust and expectations of the people.
Other new comers
Wang Gang, 64, former director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee. A graduate from the Philosophy Department of Jilin University, Wang has abundant experiences of government work at both central and grassroots levels.
Wang Qishan, Beijing Mayor. He stood out with a substantial credential on economy. The 58-year-old, a certified senior economist, is a part-time professor with the Qinghua University School of Economics and Management. He once headed the China Construction Bank, the former economic restructuring office of the State Council and acted as Party chief of Hainan Province.
Liu Yandong, 61, the only woman in the Political Bureau, is deputy chairwoman of the National Committee of the Chinese People 's Political Consultative Conference and a doctorate on political science.
Li Yuanchao, 56, a doctorate on Laws, was recognized for narrowing the urban-rural gap during his tenure as Party secretary of Nanjing City and Jiangsu Province. He once served as deputy Minister of Culture and vice director of the Information Office of the State Council.
Wang Yang, 52, a master of management science, is Party secretary of Chongqing Municipality and has gone all out to tackle the thorny task of resettling millions of people in the Three Gorges area for the world's largest hydropower project.
Zhang Gaoli, 60, an economic major in college, once served as Party secretary in Shenzhen, China's pioneer of economic reform. He was reshuffled from Shandong Province to Tianjin this year to steer the northern coastal municipality through an ambitious financial reform in the city's Binhai New Area.
Xu Caihou, 64, vice chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, graduated from the electronic engineering department of the Harbin Institute of Military Engineering.
Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, 57, graduated from Beijing University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His political star rose when he was mayor of Dalian, northeastern Liaoning Province. He also served as the province's Party chief.
Ling Jihua, 50 and Wang Huning, 51, are two new members of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee. They both hold master's degrees.
(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2007)