China Names Top Leaders, With One Notable Absence

China's Xi Joins Mao as Credited in Constitution

The name of China’s powerful anti-graft chief was absent from the Communist Party’s new central committee, according to a list published by the official Xinhua News Agency, suggesting that President Xi Jinping is adhering to an informal retirement rule in place since 2002.

Wang Qishan, who had been No. 6 in the party during Xi’s first term, was due to retire from the Politburo Standing Committee under an unwritten rule requiring that anyone 68 or older step down. Analysts were watching to see whether Xi would keep the 69-year-old on China’s most powerful body, a move that would boost speculation that he may follow suit in five years.

Even so, it remains unclear if Wang -- one of China’s best known economic reformers and a known Xi confidante -- will move into a different role that allows him to retain influence. Wang heads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which punished more than 1.5 million officials in the past five years as Xi has cracked down on corruption.

China’s announcement of a new Central Committee -- a body of roughly 200 people -- comes a day before the party unveils its top leaders on the Politburo and its supreme Standing Committee. The composition of the new leadership at China’s twice-a-decade transition of power may determine the pace of Xi’s reform plans, from deleveraging to modernizing the military.

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