China's new leaders

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang lead seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the team that that effectively rules China. Members of the PSC were announced in November 2012 and formally took office in March. They’re set to govern for the next 10 years.

Xi Jinping

Born 1953
Princeling: Yes
Mentors: Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong

The son of revolutionary hero Xi Zhongxun, Xi Jinping spent his early life growing up as a privileged “princeling” within the walls of the Zhongnanhai in Beijing. However, when his father was purged during the Cultural Revolution, Xi became one of some 30 million “sent-down” youth who were dispatched to the countryside.

Xi spent six years at an agricultural commune in Yanchuan County, Shaanxi before being accepted into the prestigious Tsinghua University in 1975. There, Xi studied chemical engineering and went on to serve as a personal secretary to the then-Minister of Defense Geng Biao.

Xi's early political career took him from his native province to Hebei and later Fujian, where he served as vice governor in 1999, before being promoted to governor a year later.

In 2002, Xi took up senior government and Party positions in Zhejiang, a province on the country's southeast coast. He entered the Standing Committee of the Politburo in 2007 and in 2008 became the country's vice president.

In 2010, he was also promoted to vice chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission and China's Central Military Commission. He's also president of the Central Party School.

In 2012, Xi succeeded Hu Jintao as General Secretary of the Communist Party and in March 2012 formally took up the post of president.

Xi is considered to be a protégé of former Chinese leaders President Jiang Zemin and Vice President Zeng Qinghong.

Personal life

Xi's father, Xi Zhongxun, was a top Communist who was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. After his release, Xi senior was elected to the Politburo and served as vice premier.

During his time in power, he supported economic liberalization and was instrumental in creating China's Special Economic Zones.

Xi is married to Peng Liyuan, a famous Chinese folk singer and his second wife. They have one daughter, Xi Mingze, who is reported to be studying at Harvard University.

Li Keqiang

Born 1955
Princeling: No
Mentor: Hu Jintao

Alongside Xi, Li Keqiang is the only member of the current PSC who served on the committee under former president Hu Jintao.

Born in Dingyuan Count in 1955, Li was in his late teens when he spent four years doing manual labor with the Dongling Production Brigade in his native Anhui Province. In 1978, he went to Peking University, where he graduated with degrees in law and economics.

In the 1980s and '90s, Li served as secretary-general of the All-China Students Federation, then held party positions in the Communist Youth League Central Committee. In 1999, he was promoted to governor of Henan Province and later became chairman of the Standing Committee of the Henan's Provincial People's Congress.

From there, he moved to Liaoning before being made a member of the Politburo Standing Committee in 2007. Li is considered a core member of President Hu Jintao's "Tuanpai faction," whose ties originate with the Communist Youth League.

Personal life

According to Brookings, he comes from a midlevel official family; his father was a county-level cadre. Li's wife, Cheng Hong, is a professor of English language and literature at Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing, according to reports, which also suggest they have one daughter who is studying in the United States.

Zhang Dejiang

Born 1946
Princeling: Yes
Mentor: Jiang Zemin

Zhang Dejiang was vice premier of China's State Council until he was suddenly diverted to replace disgraced party chief Bo Xilai as leader of Chongqing in March 2012.

Born in Tai'an, Liaoning province, 65-year-old Zhang was in his early 20s when he was sent to the countryside to work at the Luozigou Commune in Wangqing County, Jilin Province.

In the early 1970s, Zhang worked in the county propaganda department before studying Korean at Yanbian University. He served as secretary of the local Communist Youth League branch in Liaoning before crossing the border to North Korea to study economics at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang.

In the '80s, Zhang returned to Yanbian, where he held senior positions in the Communist Party before taking a role as the vice minister of civil affairs. Senior party positions followed in Jilin until Zhang moved south to Zhejiang to become secretary of the CPC's Provincial Committee.

In 2002, he entered the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee and become secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee. Zhang's political record is alleged to have been blemished by incidents while in Guangdong, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which claimed he was implicated in efforts to conceal the SARS epidemic. Railways were also under his portfolio during the public outrage that followed the collision of two high-speed trains in July 2011.

Personal life

Zhang is the son of Zhang Zhiyi, a former PLA major general who is reported to have served as deputy commander of the Artillery Force in the Guangzhou Military Region. Zhang's wife, Xin Shusen, has a long history of holding senior positions at the China Construction Bank and is also said to be a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, according to the Brookings Institution. Zhang is considered a protégé of former leader Jiang Zemin.

Yu Zhengsheng

Born 1945
Princeling: Yes
Mentor: Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin

Yu Zhengsheng has a remarkable family background that includes a connection to the former wife of Mao Zedong and a brother who dramatically defected to the United States in the mid-'80s.

He also occupies one of the top jobs in Chinese politics and is considered a strong contender for the Politburo Standing Committee.

Born in 1945, Yu majored in ballistic missile automatic control at the Harbin Military Engineering Institute before working as technician in radio factories in Hebei Province. In the late 1970s, Yu started working his way up the promotion scale in the Fourth Ministry of Machine-Building Industry and later joined the Ministry of Electronics Industry.

He spent some time working as the president, vice chairman and member of the Leading Party Members' Group of the China Welfare Fund for the Handicapped before taking a political position in Shandong Province.

Yu rose to become mayor of Qingdao, a major city in eastern Shandong, before being appointed minister of construction in 1997. As the current CPC party chief in Shanghai, a position he took in 2007, Yu presides over China's largest city for finance and business.

Personal life

Yu’s father, Huang Jing (Yu Qiwei), a former mayor of Tianjin, was the first husband of Jiang Qing, a famous actress who later married Mao Zedong and was vilified for her role in the Cultural Revolution. Sensationally, Yu's brother -- Yu Qiangsheng -- was a top Chinese intelligence officer who caused a diplomatic storm when he defected to the United States in 1985.

Former leader Deng Xioping's son, Deng Pufang, ran the China Welfare Fund for the handicapped where Yu worked in the '80s. Yu also worked under Jiang Zemin, who was once head of the Ministry of Electronics Industry. Yu is married to Zhang Zhikai, the daughter of Zhang Zhenhuan, a former major general with the PLA.

Liu Yunshan

Born 1947
Princeling: No
Mentor: Hu Jintao

Born in 1947 in Xinzhou, Shanxi Province, Liu Yunshan worked as a teacher in Inner Mongolia, before being sent to do manual labor in a rural commune in Sobugai People's Commune during the Cultural Revolution.

After leaving the commune, Liu spent a number of years in Inner Mongolia, working as a journalist and in public relations before taking a party position with the Communist Youth League Committee in the autonomous region.

In the early '90s, Liu moved to Beijing to become deputy director of the CCP Propaganda Department, where he was later promoted to director.

Personal life

Liu formed close ties with Hu Jintao when both of them worked at the CYL, according to research by the Brookings Institution. Liu's son, Liu Lefei, heads CITIC Private Equity Funds Management and was last year named by Fortune Magazine as one of the 25 most powerful business people in Asia. The young Liu is married to Jia Liqing, the daughter of Jia Chunwang, the former chief of state security, according to research from the Brookings Institution.

Wang Qishan

Born 1948
Princeling: Yes
Mentor: Jiang Zemin

Described by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as "decisive and inquisitive" and possessing a "wicked sense of humor," Wang Qishan served as the vice premier in charge of economic, energy and financial affairs under departing Premier Wen Jiabao.

Born in 1948 in Tianjin, Wang was sent to work at the Fengzhuang People's Commune in Yan'an County, Shaanxi Province, before taking a job at the Shaanxi Provincial Museum.

After graduating from Northwest University with a degree in history, Wang returned to the museum before embarking on his ascent of China's political ladder. He held top positions at the Rural Development Research Center under the State Council in the '80s before joining the China Rural Trust and Investment Corporation.

Wang later joined the People's Bank of China and China Construction Bank before filling senior party roles in Guangdong and then Hainan. In 2004, he became mayor of Beijing, and as executive chairman for the Beijing Organizing Committee, played a key role in pulling together the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

"His widely known nickname in China is 'the chief of the fire brigade.' The Chinese public regard Wang as a leader who is capable and trustworthy during times of emergency or crisis," said Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution.

Personal life

Wang is married to Yao Mingshan, whom he met in Yan'an in 1969 when both were sent to work in the countryside, according to the Brookings Institution. Yao's father is Yao Yilin, a former Politburo Standing Committee member and vice premier. Wang is thought to have strong ties to former President Jiang Zemin who counted Yao Yilin among his supporters in the Politburo Standing Committee.

Zhang Gaoli

Born 1946
Princeling: No
Mentor: Jiang Zemin

Born in 1946, in Jinjiang City, Fujian province, Zhang Gaoli is currently party secretary of Tianjin, a bustling city of around 13 million people and one of China's four municipalities.

Zhang started his career in the oil industry, at the Guangdong Maoming Petroleum Company, after studying planning and statistics at Xiamen University.

He spent around 12 years working his way up the political ladder in Guangdong Province, including a stint as party secretary in the special economic zone of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.

In 2001, Zhang became governor and later party secretary of Shandong Province before moving to Tianjin in 2007.

Personal life

Zhang is thought to have received support in his latter career from former Vice President Zeng Qinghong. According to the Brookings Institution, Zhang married a former university classmate with whom he has one daughter who is married to a wealthy Hong Kong businessman.