The six dark-suited Communist Party officials joining President Xi Jinping on China’s highest decision-making body are all men in their 60s, suggesting he has no plans to groom a successor any time soon.
There is no obvious challenger to Xi in the group appointed Wednesday to the Politburo Standing Committee, which includes two known allies and an ideologist.
When the next party congress comes round in 2022, they will all be too old to serve the customary two five-year terms as party general secretary — given a retirement age informally set at 68.
Here are the seven men in the order they were presented to the public in the Great Hall of the People:
Xi, 64, tightened his already formidable grip on power at the congress, securing a second five-year term as general secretary after his name and political theory were enshrined in the party’s constitution — raising the prospect he could stay in power beyond 2022.
During the congress Xi announced that China had entered a “new era” that would transform it into a global superpower with a world-class military by mid-century.
In his first term he oversaw a sweeping crackdown on dissent, targeting activists and human rights lawyers.
Li, 62, runs day-to-day affairs as the premier. When Xi took office five years ago, Li was seen as the man in charge of shepherding the economy.
He promised “fair treatment” to foreign firms, a larger role for the market and structural reforms in favour of the private sector.
But analysts say the premier has been sidelined as Xi has further centralised power around himself.
Li, 67, is director of the party’s General Office and is seen as a close confidant and friend of Xi’s.
Perhaps more importantly to Xi, he has no strong ties to ex-presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. In Chinese politics, former presidents tend to wield considerable influence.
Li previously served as party secretary of the southern province of Guizhou and as governor of Heilongjiang province.
Wang, 62, serves as one of four vice premiers.
He previously managed the affluent southern province of Guangdong as party boss from 2007-2012 as well as the mega-city of Chongqing from 2005-2007.
He is considered one of the party’s most socially and economically liberal leaders, having advocated the role of the free market and political reform — something which may put him at odds with Xi.
Wang, 62, is a leading Communist Party theorist, credited with assisting Jiang with the “Three Represents” philosophy and former president Hu Jintao with his “Scientific Outlook on Development” theory.
Analysts say Wang’s promotion reflects Xi’s desire to make an impact with his own political philosophy, “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, which entered the party constitution this week.
In addition to joining the committee, Zhao, 60, was named the new head of the powerful anti-corruption agency, which has brought down 1.5 million corrupt officials since 2012 — including some seen as possible Xi rivals.
He is closely linked to Xi as part of the so-called Shaanxi clique of leaders from the northern province.
Zhao was party boss of Shaanxi from 2007-2012 and of the far-western province of Qinghai from 2003-2007.
Han, 63, is the party secretary of Shanghai and has been linked to the so-called “Shanghai clique” influenced by Jiang.
Whoever leads the financial hub has traditionally always been a member of the Standing Committee, with the exception of former Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu, who was jailed in 2008 for bribery and abuse of power.