Mr. Xi is 59 and his No. 2, Li Keqiang, who is expected to take control of the bureaucratic apparatus of government as prime minister next spring, is 57. But the other five members are all in their mid-60s. Under the party’s internal rules, that means they are all likely to retire at the next party congress in five years. Given the intensely consuming task of negotiating top leadership slots among competing factions, finding suitable replacements for these five could take up much of Mr. Xi’s time and political capital.
The other members of the Standing Committee are Zhang Dejiang, 65; Liu Yunshan, 65; Wang Qishan, 64; Yu Zhengsheng, 67; and Zhang Gaoli, 65.
Another problem is that the leadership reflects the strong hand of Mr. Hu’s predecessor, Jiang Zemin. Although Mr. Jiang, 86, retired a decade ago, he has close ties with at least four of the seven members. That means he was able to override Mr. Hu and place his people in top slots even though he has no formal position in the party.
Reform Now a Slim Chance in China: Analysts | NTDTV.org
New Leaders, Old Policies | Radio Free Asia
“People with real leadership quality are unlikely to have got this far in the past two decades [of China’s history],” he said. “They would have been weeded out.”
“Those with some talent, like Wang Yang and Li Yuanchao, the earliest kind [of reformers] are all gone now.”