China’s new line-up of top government leaders

China's new line-up of top government leaders

BEIJING: China’s parliament on Sunday (Mar 12) approved the cabinet line-up nominated by Premier Li Qiang, who took office on Saturday in a once-in-five years reshuffle.

Also during the National People’s Congress (NPC), Xi Jinping was confirmed for a third five-year term as president.

Here are other key personnel moves made during the NPC, which closes on Monday.


Ding Xuexiang, 60, is the first-ranked vice premier who also sits in the ruling Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top echelon of power. He is a trusted acolyte of Xi, and was Xi’s chief of staff first in 2006 in Shanghai and for the past 10 years in Beijing.

He Lifeng, 68, replaces Liu He as the next economic tsar. He is a long-time ally of Xi and was formerly in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the powerful state planning agency.

Zhang Guoqing, 58, has a PhD in economics and spent 20 years working in defence corporations before turning to politics and holding top positions in the provincial-level cities of Chongqing and Tianjin, as well as in Liaoning province.

Liu Guozhong, 60, was formerly Communist Party chief of Shaanxi province, where Xi has ancestral roots.


These rank below the vice premiers but above cabinet ministers.

Li Shangfu, 65, also becomes the defence minister. He had worked in China’s satellite programme and is under US sanctions over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia‘s main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

Wang Xiaohong, 65, also holds the post of public security minister, or police chief. He is considered a close ally of Xi, having worked as a police chief in the city of Fuzhou when Xi was party chief there in the early 1990s.

Wu Zhenglong, 58, is secretary-general of the state council and was formerly party chief of Jiangsu province.

Shen Yiqin, 63, becomes the highest-ranking woman in China. Observers were surprised when the Communist Party broke with tradition and did not appoint any woman to its 24-member Politburo in October.

For the first time in decades there were no female vice premiers as well. Shen, the former party chief of Guizhou province, is the only female state councillor.

Qin Gang, 57, is also the foreign minister. The former ambassador to the United States had worked closely with Xi when he was chief protocol officer between 2014 and 2018.