The CCP’s current election is a special one. Under the ceaseless power struggle, who will go up and down the Seventh Standing Committee of the Politburo?
A recent analysis article in VOA said that a critical item on the agenda revolves around answering a question posed to members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), the most important policy-making group in China: How old are you?
Often referred to as qishang baxia or “seven up, eight down.” The convention holds that retirement will occur if a PSC member is 68 years of age or older at the party congress time. If a PSC member is 67 years old or younger, he—and all male members—will retain their PSC seat to serve another 5-year term.
The current members of the Politburo Standing Committee are Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng.
As for the new candidates for the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, outside speculations are mainly concentrated on Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, 61. The current Politburo members, Li Qiang, 63, secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, and Li Xi, 65, secretary of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, are all Xi Jinping’s close associates.
The implication is that Xi Jinping, the 69-year-old general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and president of China, does not need to answer.
But for other members of PSC, age is more than just a number. Sixty-eight is the accepted retirement age for committee members who are on both sides of that milestone.
According to this rule, current members: Li Zhanshu, 72, and Han Zheng, 68, should step down at the 20th Party Congress.
A name that has been promoted to the top by many Chinese followers is Hu Chunhua. Hu could be the choice for the prime minister to replace Li Keqiang. Hu is considered by many to be an effective leader.
Hu came from the opposing faction, often referred to as the “allied faction,” because many of its members began their political careers in the Communist Youth League (CYL).
Within the CCP, the CYL acts as an organization that has allowed non-elite aspirants to rise in the party’s ranks. Since the Deng era, the party’s top leadership has seen a power-sharing agreement between the “populist coalition” and the “elitist coalition.” As a result, many of the “populist coalition” advanced through the CYL system and were from non-elite or non-princeling backgrounds. The CYL origin leaders within the politburo are referred to as tuanpai or the league faction.
President Xi belongs to the “elitist coalition,” and Premier Li Keqiang represents the “populist coalition.” Before Xi, Hu Jintao sat at the top of the CYL and promoted young leaders to enter elite politics.
Influential “league faction” members include Hu Jintao, Li Keqiang, Hu Chunhua, Hu Yaobang, Li Yuanchao, Wang Yang, Liu Yandong, and Zhou Qiang.
If Hu succeeds in taking over as prime minister from Li Keqiang, a power negotiation, which has maintained the balance of power at the top of the party, is still going on. And, if another candidate close to Xi becomes prime minister, it would indicate that Xi has broken that consensus and further consolidated control of power by appointing whom he prefers.
In the past, Xi has targeted the Communist Youth League to reduce its influence over China’s political elite.
According to The Print, Hu’s ascent will impact India. Hu worked in Tibet for most of his life.
After that, Hu gradually rose within the ranks of the party in Tibet. Between 2003 and 2005, Hu served as Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Hu has been closely associated with the Communist Youth League throughout his career and served as First Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Youth League between 2006-2008. Hu’s prominent role in CYL contrasts him with the personality type and friends Xi has promoted under him.
On July 27, Hu Chunhua wrote an article with the title “General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instructions on the important presentation of the “three countryside” work, trying to create a new situation to comprehensively promote rural revitalization,” in which he mentioned Xi’s name more than 50 times.
Hu Chunhua has played an important role in bilateral relations with India. In 2016, President Pranab Mukherjee met Hu Chunhua, then Secretary of the Guangdong Municipal Party Committee.
On Aug. 19 this year, Hu Chunhua participated in another meeting to promote employment. However, employment is the work of Vice Premier Han Zheng and State Councilor Xiao Jie, not Hu Chunhua’s field.
Wang Duran, the chief commentator of Apollo.com, said that the CCP’s vice premiers are ranked, and the current first deputy prime minister of the CCP is Han Zheng. After the Beidaihe meeting, Hu Chunhua crossed the border to intervene in the fields of economy, foreign trade, and employment, probably because he was preparing for his promotion to the first deputy prime minister.