The focus of next month’s “20th Party Congress” will be on the leadership that leads the world’s second-largest economy, but another group that has received less attention will also rise to the next level, and the successor to General Secretary Xi Jinping of the Communist Party of China It might be in it.
They are called “the luckiest generation”: CCP cadres born in the 1970s. This group escaped the Mao era, which wreaked havoc on education and the economy, as well as the high unemployment and housing crisis facing graduates today.
At a time when China’s economy was taking off, this group of people went to college and made their mark in all walks of life, from finance to commodities. They gradually accumulated their qualifications in the brief window of internet freedom, China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and global mobility.
At present, more than 100 “post-70s” people have held key positions in various provincial ministries and commissions. They will be closer to power as Xi heads into a third term at the 20th Party Congress.
Li Cheng, a scholar at the John Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, said that among the more than 370 members of the next Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, this group will account for about 10%, and most of them will be alternate members.
If Xi Jinping, as widely expected, sets an age limit for everyone (except himself), leaders born in the 1960s will retire within the next decade, paving the way for the post-70s generation to enter the Politburo.
“This is a very important generation, and they may be more open to the world in due course,” said Victor Shih, an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego.
They are likely to take over as head of key regions and agencies in the second half of the 2020s, and the US military estimates that Xi Jinping will have the ability to attack Taiwan by then. U.S. President Joe Biden this month reiterated that the U.S. military would step in to protect Taiwan if it faced an unprecedented attack by the Communist Party, raising the stakes for Xi.
Here are five government officials to watch in Chinese officialdom:
Zhuge Yujie, 51 years old
In March, Zhuge Yujie became the youngest deputy secretary of the provincial party committee in China and the right-hand man of Shanghai party secretary Li Qiang, a confidant of Xi Jinping. Shanghai has always been a springboard to the top, and Xi Jinping also served as secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee. Zhuge Yujie worked in a state-owned enterprise before entering politics, which is a common career path for the “post-70s”.
Liu Hongjian, 49 years old
Liu Hongjian was promoted to Secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Political and Legal Committee in 2021, becoming the youngest member of the Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee in China. Previously, he worked in Fujian for nearly 20 years, overlapping with Xi Jinping, who served in Fujian from 1985 to 2002. Several of the officials who were promoted during Xi Jinping’s tenure had crossed paths with Xi Jinping in the past.
Liu Qiang, 51 years old
Before becoming the Vice Governor of Shandong Province, Liu Qiang worked in the financial industry for 25 years, serving as President of Agricultural Bank of China Shanghai Branch and Vice President of Bank of China. In March of this year, he became secretary of the Jinan Municipal Party Committee.
Shi Hui, 52 years old
Shi Hui has worked in Shanghai for about 30 years, first at a state-owned steel company and later as vice mayor. In April this year, he was promoted to deputy secretary of the Guizhou provincial party committee, becoming the second “post-70s” leader to serve as deputy secretary of the provincial party committee after Zhuge Yujie.
Guo Ningning, 52 years old
Guo Ningning is one of the few “post-70s” female leaders. Before stepping into politics, she served as President of Bank of China Hong Kong Branch, President of Bank of China Singapore Branch, and Vice President of Agricultural Bank of China. She is now the vice governor of Fujian Province and knows the media well. In the promotion of local seafood in 2020, Guo Ningning brought goods live and ate eel, attracting millions of onlookers on Taobao.
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