Authors: Dandan Li, Feifei Shen, Sarah Chen, Peter Martin, and Keith Zhai
Posted on: Bloomberg News | March 19th, 2018
The new cabinet announced Monday by China is the culmination of months of leadership reshuffles that saw President Xi Jinping assert his dominance over policy making.
The lineup includes recently promoted Communist Party leaders, veteran ministers and a few new faces. While many investors will be focused on changes to China’s economic and financial regulators, several other key officials will also shape the country’s policies over the next five years.
Here are some notable appointments:
Han Zheng, 63, Executive Vice Premier
Han Zheng’s move into the executive vice premier’s slot comes as little surprise after his rise to the party’s supreme Politburo Standing Committee in October. While his portfolio has yet to be announced, he’ll share responsibilities with Premier Li Keqiang running the State Council and likely serve a diplomatic role, seen by his attendance at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Han previously spent more than three decades in Shanghai overseeing the former colony’s transformation into a top financial hub.
Hu Chunhua, 54, Vice Premier
Once seen as a leading presidential contender, Hu Chunhua’s political prospects dimmed after Xi declined to promote him to the Standing Committee last year. Still, Hu’s appointment as vice premier provides the former Guangdong provincial party chief with a key perch to influence policy-making for the next five years. Moreover, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported that Hu would be tasked with completing Xi’s pledge to lift more than 55 million people out of poverty by the end of the decade.
Sun Chunlan, 67, Vice Premier
Sun Chunlan replaces outgoing Vice Premier Liu Yandong as the only woman occupying a top government post in China. With a mechanics degree from Anshan Industrial Technology Academy in Liaoning, she started working at a local watch factory before taking on political jobs in the northeastern province. Sun was most recently tasked with running the United Front Work Department, an agency that oversees outreach beyond the party hierarchy.
Yang Xiaodu, 64, Anti-Graft Director
Yang Xiaodu — a leader of Xi’s signature anti-corruption campaign since 2014 — will now oversee its expansion to include millions of other public servants, from state-run company executives to hospital managers and school principals. As the first director of the new National Supervisory Commission, he’ll have wide powers to detain and investigate officials for legal and ethical violations. Yang’s stint on Shanghai’s top party committee overlapped with Xi’s tenure leading the municipality in 2007.
Wang Yi, 64, Foreign Minister
Wang Yi’s reappointment as foreign minister keeps one of China’s most visible officials on the international stage, where he’s been one of the most vocal advocates of his country’s interests. The veteran diplomat — whose resume includes experience managing often-fraught relationships with Japan and Taiwan — represents continuity at a time of rising trade tensions with the U.S. Wang’s “suspension for suspension” proposal for restoring talks helped establish the basic framework for President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Kim Jong Un.
He Lifeng, 63, Reform Commission Chairman
He Lifeng’s return as head of the National Development and Reform Commission — China’s state planning body — brings stability as Xi implements a sweeping reorganization. The agency lost some responsibilities, including environmental and agricultural policy making, to other ministries. His ties with Xi date back to the mid-1980s, when Xi was deputy mayor of the southeastern port of Xiamen and He was in charge of fiscal affairs. He was among a handful of guests invited to the low-key wedding between Xi and People’s Liberation Army singer Peng Liyuan.
Li Ganjie, 53, Environment Minister
Li Ganjie, who became environmental minister in June, will wield new powers to rein in carbon emissions and fight climate change under a government shake-up announced last week. The new Ministry of Ecology & Environment will be among the agencies spearheading Xi’s “critical battle” against polluted air, soil and water — key concerns among China’s growing middle class. Li was previously vice minister and head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration.