No women named to China's powerful Politburo for first time in 25 years
The Chinese Communist Party's powerful Politburo will include no women for the first time since 1997, and instead be made up of 24 men with a top echelon packed with President Xi Jinping's loyalists.
Why it matters: Female representation among Party leadership has always been limited, but Sunday's announcement marks the first time in 25 years that a woman was not named to the Party's decision-making body.
- Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, 72, was the only woman in the last Politburo, but she is set to retire.
- No woman has ever been named to the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, on which China's top leaders serve.
State of play: The new Standing Committee is mostly made of Xi's loyalists, including Shanghai party chief Li Qiang, who is expected to become the next premier after presiding over the city's controversial COVID-19 lockdowns.
- Many other members also have close ties with Xi, including Beijing party chief Cai Qi, who worked with Xi in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces for decades; Ding Xuexiang, who worked under Xi in Shanghai in 2007; and Li Xi, who worked under a close ally of President Xi's father.
What they're saying: "The leadership reshuffle was an overwhelming victory for Xi," said Neil Thomas, a senior China analyst at Eurasia Group. "No Politburo Standing Committee has been so dominated by direct allies of the top leader since Mao [Zedong] died."
- “Xi’s new leadership team is full of loyalists with subpar experience who are more likely to push forward his agenda of political control, economic statism, and assertive diplomacy, despite its rising costs and risks,” he said.
The big picture: Having secured a third term, Xi has established himself as the most powerful leader since Mao. A friendly Politburo Standing Committee will help push through Xi's top priorities for the next five years.
- "Domestically, I think it almost certainly means efforts at further centralization and efforts at further establishing the supremacy of the administrative apparatus over the market," Kenneth Pomeranz, professor of modern Chinese history at the University of Chicago, told Axios.
- "The trends certainly all seem to be directed at Xi consolidating his regime, easing out some people who are less loyal to him, and bringing in people who are more loyal to him ideologically or more dependent on him."