The leader of China is elected every ten years by senior party members
The announcement will be made at the end of a week-long party conference in Beijing
It is all but confirmed that it will be current Vice President Xi Jinping
By Peter Simpson
China’s Communists leaders will gather amid tight security in Beijing tomorrow to begin a week-long, tightly choreographed display of power and unity – at the end of which they will unveil the mysterious men tasked to lead the world’s second largest economy for the next ten years.
In stark contrast to the nail-biting US election, just who will govern the world’s most populous country has been decided in advance and behind closed doors by the authoritarian regime.
It is almost certain that vice-president Xi Jinping, 59, one of the select group of ‘princelings’ descended from former party grandees, will be appointed Party Secretary and replace current president Hu Jintao.
The other members chosen to serve on the all powerful Politburo Standing Committee remain unknown, though it has been indicated that no women will be among them.
They grip the reins of power facing a slew of challenges – including a slowing economy, rampant corruption, environmental degradation, growing public dissent and the ever restive Tibet and Muslim-populated Xinjiang.
Many observers believe sweeping political reform is vital to keep China stable and prevent an economic meltdown sending the world economy into another tailspin.
‘What they do economically is of vital significance to the world,’ said Jonathan Fenby, the head of China analyst firm Trusted Resources and the author of several books on China.
‘China’s rise has made it the global game changer with the second biggest economy, foreign reserves of more than £2.5 trillion and investments ranging from Thames Water and Heathrow airport to huge holdings in raw materials producers around the planet,’ he added.
But fears are growing the murky power play and jockeying among two cliques has seen hard-lined conservatives smack down liberal reformers.
The toxic run in to the once-in-a-decade power transition has been played out against China’s worst political scandals since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy massacre.
Disgraced senior party member Bo Xilai, whose wife Gu Kailai was convicted of murdering of British businessman Neil Heywood, has been expelled from the party and awaits trial on a raft of charges, including covering up the murder of the Briton.
Earlier this week it was claimed the Chinese government believed Heywood – who had close links with the Bos– was an MI6 informant.