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The Chinese Communists' New Politburo Standing Committee

Crowned for a second term as Communist Party general secretary, and with his "Thought" and signature policies enshrined in the party constitution, Xi Jinping on October 25 introduced the other six members of the Politburo Standing Committee, who, with Xi, will lead China over the next five years. The new Standing Committee looks more like Xi's claque than a collective leadership. It includes longtime Xi loyalists, placeholders, and a mysterious guardian of party orthodoxy. Not one among the six could be seen as a rival or a potential successor, thus raising the odds that Xi plans to reign for a long time to come. Moreover, with "Xi Jinping Thought" now an article of party faith, Xi's authority is so great that this Standing Committee has less importance than any in decades. The new party leaders will be assigned government roles at the March 2018 National People's Congress, and numerous other senior government positions will change hands between now and then. Who the new Standing Committee members are and whether Xi's "new era" style of one-man rule can serve China in the 21st century will be addressed in this commentary.