Here Are the Men Leading China for the Next Five Years

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, was confirmed to a norm-breaking third term as state president on Friday, further formalizing his position as China’s most dominant leader in decades.

The announcement was no surprise: Mr. Xi oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2018, and in October he secured a third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party, the position from which his real authority derives. Now, as the annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp legislature concludes in the coming days, many of his loyalists are being elevated to the rest of the country’s leadership.

They will be tasked with reviving the economy, which is languishing after three years of Covid restrictions, bolstering security and seeking self-sufficiency in strategic technologies to counter what Mr. Xi has described as a campaign of “all-around containment, encirclement and suppression” by the United States.

The picks for many of those positions are clear, though some uncertainty remains around others. Here’s a look at the lineup:

Premier is the second-most powerful position in China, and it is set to go to Li Qiang, who last fall was elevated to be the No. 2 official in the Chinese Communist Party. As premier, Mr. Li will be China’s top bureaucrat, leading the country’s cabinet and wielding broad authority over economic policy.

The position has weakened under Mr. Xi, who was widely seen to have sidelined the outgoing premier, Li Keqiang. But some analysts say that Li Qiang may play a larger — though not necessarily more influential — role than his predecessor. The former Communist Party secretary of Shanghai, Li Qiang is a longtime ally of Mr. Xi, and his elevation is likely a product of his perceived loyalty to the top leader. Last spring, for example, he oversaw the bruising two-month coronavirus lockdown of Shanghai, executed in the name of Mr. Xi’s “zero Covid” policy.

Mr. Li’s experience leading economically important regions — in addition to Shanghai, he also held top posts in affluent Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces — has fueled some hopes that he will promote business-friendly policies. But he lacks experience in Beijing, which could make him more reliant on Mr. Xi’s continued support, and less likely to raise policies at odds with the top leader’s wishes.

Mr. Li’s new position is set to be confirmed on Saturday, and at the end of the congress, he will make his public debut as premier at a news conference with vetted questions.

The executive vice premier is the highest-ranked of China’s vice premiers, the officials directly under Mr. Xi and the new premier. This post is expected to go to Ding Xuexiang, who for the past few years has served as a secretary and chief of staff to Mr. Xi.

In this role, Mr. Ding is also likely to be responsible for day-to-day economic policy. The outgoing executive vice premier, Han Zheng, was a former Communist Party secretary of Shanghai credited with guiding that city’s transformation into a cosmopolitan financial capital. Mr. Ding, by contrast, has never led a province, working largely as a behind-the-scenes technocrat.

But like others slated for promotion, Mr. Ding has longstanding ties with Mr. Xi. He is widely believed to be the office director for China’s National Security Commission, a secretive body that has grown more influential as Mr. Xi has emphasized the need for vigilance against foreign and domestic threats. He has also frequently traveled with Mr. Xi, both domestically and overseas.

Mr. Han, the current executive vice premier, was named China’s vice president, a largely ceremonial role.

Zhao Leji, named No. 3 in the party hierarchy last fall, was approved as the head of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature.

The legislature nominally has the power to make laws and amend the Constitution, though decisions are in reality made by top party officials. Mr. Zhao has kept a relatively low profile, but his responsibilities in recent years have been weighty: He has led the party’s discipline inspection commission, in charge of implementing Mr. Xi’s campaign against official corruption and disloyalty.

That campaign has been key to Mr. Xi’s consolidation of power and purging of rivals. Before taking on the disciplinary role in 2017, Mr. Zhao was a top official in charge of party personnel issues, giving him deep experience in the party’s internal affairs.

At the same time as the annual legislative meeting, another group, which acts as a political advisory group to the government, also meets in Beijing. This group, called the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, is likely to be led by Wang Huning, the No. 4 Communist Party official.

In this role, Mr. Wang will oversee about 2,000 representatives who ostensibly offer political and social policy suggestions; in reality, the conference works more as a soft power force for the party, mobilizing resources and nonparty members across Chinese society to back the party’s agenda.

Mr. Wang is known as the party’s chief ideologist: He has served three consecutive top leaders in creating propaganda and writing speeches and policies. He helped shape Mr. Xi’s motto of the “Chinese Dream” — a vision of national rejuvenation, shepherded by Mr. Xi — and his political rise signals the continuation of the party’s hard-line, anti-Western policies.

Working closely with Mr. Li on reviving China’s economy will be He Lifeng, another trusted former aide to Mr. Xi.

Mr. He, who is expected to become a vice premier overseeing economic and industrial policy, is the current head of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s economic policy planning committee. In that role, he has overseen the drafting of China’s five-year plans and large investment projects both at home and overseas.

Compared with the outgoing economic czar, Liu He — a Harvard-educated economist who also led trade negotiations with Washington — Mr. He has little overseas exposure. He worked for 25 years in southeastern China’s Fujian Province, including on and off with Mr. Xi when he was rising through the ranks there, and then became deputy Communist Party secretary in the megacity of Tianjin.

His close ties to Mr. Xi suggest that he will be key to carrying out the leader’s vision of a security-oriented, state-led society, where economic growth comes second to ideology.

Chris Buckley, Keith Bradsher, Claire Fu, Joy Dong and Chang Che contributed reporting.

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