Who are China's potential new leaders?
China's once-a-decade power transition in November may promote these five party members.
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Wang Qishan: 'media friendly'Skip to next paragraph
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Currently a deputy premier in charge of finance and trade, Wang Qishan comes from a banking background. He made friends with former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who called him "decisive and inquisitive" with "a wicked sense of humor."
Mr. Wang earned his reputation as a coolheaded can-do leader as mayor of Beijing in 2003 after a botched government coverup of the SARS outbreak. His frankness impressed both ordinary Beijingers and foreign officials. He enhanced his image of competence when he successfully managed the biggest debt restructuring in China's history.
As mayor of Beijing, Wang was in charge of overall preparations in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games, which were seen as China's "coming out party" for the world and widely praised as an enormous success.
Wang is among the most media-friendly of China's leaders. He seemed at ease during a long interview with PBS's Charlie Rose last year, an appearance few of his peers would have dared to make.
Wang Yang: 'the rarity'
Wang Yang never finished high school and went to work in a factory at age 17 to help his widowed mother. But he won praise for his low-key efficiency as he moved up the Communist Party ladder in a series of local, provincial, and then national posts.
Mr. Wang is party chief in Guangdong, the "workshop of the world" province that has led China's economic boom over the past three decades, one of the top regional leadership posts.
There, he sought to replace sweatshops with high-end, value-added industries; advocated "thought emancipation"; ordered the provincial capital to make its budget public; and generally acted as an open-minded economic and political reformer.
While the man once seen as his main rival, Bo Xilai, has suddenly fallen from political grace, Wang passed his most recent test with flying colors in December 2011. After 13 days of a tense standoff between the authorities and the villagers of Wukan, in Guangdong Province, who had thrown their corrupt party officials out of the village, Wang refrained from using force to end the crisis and instead defused it by acknowledging that the villagers might have a case.
Liu Yandong: 'the dark horse'
If the Communist Party decides to make history, and to soften the leadership's image, it could pick Liu Yandong as the first woman member of the Standing Committee.
She is a long shot, an outside contender, but one whose strength lies in her ties to all the different party factions that have a say in shaping the final leadership lineup.
Ms. Liu is currently the only woman on the 25-member Politburo; she is responsible for health, education, culture, and sports. She's the daughter of a former vice minister of Agriculture, making her a princeling, like Xi Jinping. She also served in the Communist Youth League, President Hu Jintao's power base.
She has never been a provincial governor, a key steppingstone for most rising politicians, and her age – 66 – might also count against her.
Still, a skirt suit and pearls, Liu's typical outfit, would make a change from the dark suits and dull ties that have hitherto been the uniform of the Standing Committee.