Xi Jinping
New seven-member leadership committee in China
07:43 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Steven Jiang is CNN’s Beijing senior producer. He has reported from China since 2001.

Story highlights

Xi installed old-guard leaders in his leadership reshuffle

No potential successor was anointed, analysts say

Beijing CNN  — 

President Xi Jinping has unveiled a new lineup for China’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC), the ruling Communists’ top decision-making body in a one-party political system.

Xi’s announcement came Wednesday, a day after the close of the Communist Party National Congress, held twice a decade with a leadership reshuffle at the top of its agenda.

With the five new members of the PBSC aged 60 or above, no heir apparent to Xi was anointed, breaking with recent custom and prompting speculation that Xi would seek to stay in power beyond 2022 when his second five-year term is due to end.

Here are the seven men (in order of their party seniority) who will rule 1.4 billion people for the next five years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose real power is rooted in his position as the head of the nearly 90-million strong Communist Party and the party-controlled military, is here to stay.

Since he took over the party at its 18th National Congress in 2012, Xi, 64, has increasingly tightened his grip over the vast country, chairing numerous super-commissions that he created to take charge of both domestic and foreign policies.

Although the Chinese constitution limits the president to two five-year terms, no comparable restriction exists for the party chief.

Already hailed as the most powerful – and hardline – Chinese leader in decades, Xi’s re-election as the party’s head, coupled with the fact that no apparent successors were named in the new PBSC, point to the growing possibility of him staying on beyond 2022.

With Xi emerging stronger than ever out of the party congress, he would likely find the timing opportune to greet visiting US President Donald Trump in November.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has seen his political fortune fall – and then rebound under Xi.

China’s No. 2 leader, who runs the day-to-day operations of the government, is technically in charge of the world’s second-largest economy but has long been overshadowed by his dominant and omnipresent boss.

A trained economist, Li, 62, is often considered a reformer and belonging to the so-called Communist Youth League faction under the patronage of Xi’s predecessor, former President Hu Jintao.

Once rumored to be on his way out, Li seems to have proven his loyalty to Xi and regained his visibility in state media in recent months – a fact underscored by his stay in the PBSC and the all-but-certain retention of his premiership.

Xi’s right-hand man Li Zhanshu has occupied a position that’s often compared to the White House chief of staff. His new-gained No. 3 spot in the party hierarchy makes him the likely next chairman of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, according to political tradition.