Rising stars to watch inside the secretive world of the Communist Party's standing committee


High-profile candidates to sit at the top table of power in China.


Wang Yang, Communist Party chief in the rich southern province of Guangdong. Seen as a liberal influence within the elite, h is ascent could be a positive signal for reform.

Although a protege of outgoing President Hu Jintao, Yang is no Mikhail Gorbachev. But the 57-year-old is an economic reformer whose Guangdong Model of growth is focused on encouraging more private enterprise and attacking “entrenched interests”, all within the context of the Communist Party.


Zhang Dejiang, party chief in Chongqing. Succeeded the disgraced Bo Xilai after he was purged. Dejiang studied economics in North Korea at Kim Il-sung University and was previously vice premier of the State Council.

The 65-year-old Zhang was implicated during his time in Guangdong province in efforts to conceal the Sars epidemic, and rail was also part of his brief at a time of public anger of the high-speed rail project after two high-speed trains crashed in July 2011.

He is said to be a protege of former president Jiang Zemin, a sign of how the ex-leaders’s influence remains potent.


Lu Yuanchao is yet another princeling and is the son of the former deputy mayor of Shanghai, Li Gancheng.

The 61-year-old has studied in the US and as head of the organisation department of the Communist Party, oversees the appointment of senior party, government, military and state-owned enterprise officials as head of the party’s powerful organisation department.

Should he be appointed as vice-president, it would be seen as a fillip for the reform wing of the party. He is also young enough to make the standing committee in five years’ time if he doesn’t make the cut this week.


Liu Yandong is the only female member of the Politburo, and she has a slim outside chance of being named on the standing committee, a first in China should she make it.

Born in 1945, she too is a princeling, the daughter of a vice-minister of agriculture, and she is seen as being backed by Jiang Zemin, but others say she is also close to the Hu Jintao camp.

She is a chemical engineer, and also holds a master’s in sociology and a law doctorate.